Which sunscreen should I buy?

Skin protection

Posted on 02/06/21

I’ve said this before but sunscreen label complexity must be one of the biggest crimes in the cosmetics industry.

Different numbers, icons and symbols create confusion and apathy. And simply put, confusion and apathy is not a great place to be when it comes to products that protect you and which could, ultimately, help prevent you getting skin cancer.

Humans and choice

In the words of one of my favourite writers, Seth Godin:

People are good at “a, b or c?”. Not as good at “pick a card, any card.” And terrible at, “think of a number between one and a trillion.”

It’s often much easier just to be told what to do. I know that’s true for me. But not always. Sometimes I enjoy the chase and like to work things out for myself.

But when it comes to sunscreen, I recognise it’s probably a complete waste of your time and headspace to spend more than three seconds choosing what to use or buy.

And so, through our product range, we’ve tried to take this pain away. Rather than ‘pick a card, any card’, we decided to offer A or B.

If you’ll trust us, this is our philosophy

As we created the LifeJacket brand and products, simplicity has been at the heart of what we believe in. This includes the language we use on packaging, the way we present the information to you and above all, the simplified range we decided to develop.

But this journal post isn’t meant to be about us. It’s about saving you time and making life easier when it comes to protecting your skin. So, here’s our advice based on our philosophy.

Option A

When you know you will be outside for a sustained period of time and UV levels are above 6* where you are, we suggest you use VERY HIGH protection sunscreen (this terminology is taken from EU regulations).

That means an SPF rating of 50+.

For what it’s worth, our SPF 50+ Sun Gel offers maximum UVA protection (5*) with all the added benefits you have come to expect from LifeJacket products: high performance, no greasy after-feel, easy to rub in, doesn’t get trapped in hair and a fresh fragrance.

Option B

In all other instances, you should use HIGH protection sunscreen. For us, that means an SPF rating of at least 30.

When I say “all other scenarios”, I should clarify that this really does mean at ALL other times.

The sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays touch your skin every single day, even in winter. Over 90% of UV rays pass through clouds. You might not think it but even in winter, these rays can penetrate the outer layers of your skin and cause DNA damage. This damage may cause skin cancer.

And that’s precisely why we encourage guys to wear skin protection all year round. A good little trick is to use a daily moisturiser with SPF every morning. Then you don’t even need to think about it – two birds one stone, and all that. Needless to say, we have one at the very heart of our range.

No more decision fatigue

So, it really is that easy: A or B.

SPF 50+ when you know you’ll be outside for a while or when the UV level is high.

SPF 30 for everything else.

But make sure you do use SPF protection all year round, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

The reason we started LifeJacket is because men aren’t often as good as women at protecting their skin every day. And that’s why men are almost twice as likely as women to die of skin cancer across much of the world.

Start now.

* You can find out the UV index where you are on the Apple Weather app or simply by doing a Google search.