SUSAN BARBAGLIA, owner of Skin Deep Salon and Spa in New Providence, offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a leader in the beauty industry. With over thirty years experience in skin care, Susan can answer your most challenging beauty questions. Email your questions to




Dear Susan, 

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What should I look for in a sunscreen? How long can I stay out in the sun with sunscreen on? 

Sunscreen is a barrier that protects the skin from ultraviolet rays and helps prevent skin cancer and premature aging of the skin.  Up to 80% of the sun’s harmful rays can penetrate your skin, even on cloudy days, which is why SPF should be applied year-round. 

There are so many brands of sunscreen to choose from, so which one is right for you? At Skin Deep Salon & Spa, Coola is our pick for all sunscreen needs. Their organic formulation is paraben-free, non-greasy, light, and holds up through sweat, swimming, and sports. 

Applying SPF to acne-prone skin can be a scary idea. Specific ingredients to avoid in this case are: benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates, octocrylene, certain preservatives like quaternium 15, and the fragrance Balsam of Peru. These ingredients absorb into the skin to prevent the UV light from causing your skin to burn, which are in the common sunscreens. The other type of sunscreen contains minerals zinc oxide or titanium dioxide which reflects UV rays instead of penetrating the skin, but although they won’t necessarily cause a break out, they are thicker and difficult to apply.

The order of product application is the secret to maximum protection from the sun, while simultaneously providing the best skincare. Skin Deep recommends the following order of application for your face products: Babor fluids, eye cream, moisturizer, Coola sunscreen, and foundation—a lot of foundations offer SPF coverage, too! For the rest of your body, apply your everyday moisturizer first, and then sunscreen. Layering products will ensure that your skin is receiving the most protection. One ounce of sunscreen is recommended when in a swimsuit or minimally dressed, but most people only apply 25-50% of the recommended amount. Always apply more than you think you need!

So, how long can you actually stay out in the sun? 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is when the sun’s rays are the strongest. To get a safe tan, go outside before and after this time frame, but don’t forget that SPF! Take the time you would normally burn in the sun without protection, and multiply this number by the SPF of your product. For example, with an SPF 15, multiply that by 20 minutes of sun time. This means you can stay in the sun for 300 minutes (5 hours) without burning.

The chart describes what SPF to use based on your skin type and how long you plan on being in the sun: 

Keep in mind that sunscreen prevents you from burning, but does not prevent sun damage. Your skin is your body’s biggest organ and is exposed to the sun every single day. Show your skin how much you love it by purchasing Skin Deep Salon & Spa’s favorite Coola summer face and body sunscreens—they can be found in our salon now.