How to Read Sunscreen Labels

To ensure the best sun protection, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting when you pick up a bottle of sunscreen. “Much of what you see on the label is marketing, which can make it difficult to decode what’s truly meaningful,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. But other terms have regulated definitions set by the Food and Drug Administration. Below, we explain what the various claims really mean.