If you haven’t heard the importance of sunscreen use, climb out from under your rock and read this!
First, let’s look at the different types of sunscreen. There are two main methods of protection.
The first of the two is my personal favorite, inorganic or physical sunscreen. This method of sunscreen is denoted by the use of Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide. It works by forming a film over the application surface and deflecting harmful UV rays. Many mineral sunscreens fall into the category of physical sunscreen.
Organic or chemical sunscreen is the other method of sun protection. In this application, the sunscreen is allowed to absorb into the skin before sun exposure. The chemicals in the sunscreen then absorb harmful UV rays from the sun and convert them into heat, dispersing them before they are able to harm your skin. Some popular chemical sunscreen ingredients in the U.S. are Oxybenzone or Avobenzone.
I prefer a physical sunscreen like ARC Skincare’s Clinical Sun Protectant. I really like that you can feel the protection as you’re applying it. As it dries, it creates a barrier that you can really tell is working. Physical sunscreen is better for sensitive or oily skin because it doesn’t involve the product soaking into the deeper layers in order for it to work properly. Some prefer chemical methods as physical sunscreen tends to leave a bit of a white cast on the skin for darker skin tone people.
Physical and Chemical sunscreen come in many Sun Protection Factors or SPF. You can find many brands of sunscreen at Walmart or CVS with values of SPF 5 all the way to SPF 100. The way that the SPF scale works is in the ability to block out more harmful UV rays, not for a longer period of time. For example, SPF 15 blocks out about 93% of harmful UV rays, while SPF 30 will block out 95% of UV rays and so on.
Some brands have combined ideas of anti-aging and sun protection by putting vitamin A derivatives inside of their sunscreens. This is a huge no-no in the skin science world. The largest avoidance while using vitamin A is sun exposure. To put vitamin A into a product that is clearly used DURING sun exposure is ridiculous to me. With that being said, please avoid the following ingredients or key words in your sunscreen:
~ Retinyl Palmate
Seriously, keep it simple.
When applying sunscreen, it is recommended by the American Board of Dermatology to use a Zinc Oxide (Physical) SPF 30 Broad Spectrum sunscreen in the amount of 1mg/cm of skin. This adds up to be around 1/4 tsp only for the face and around a shot glass for the body of an average sized adult.
When adding a sunscreen to your daily skincare regimen, it should be your last step. Adding anything over your sunscreen will reduce it’s effectiveness (even moisturizer). If you’re applying makeup after your sunscreen, wait 5 minutes before applying foundation. If possible, use a foundation with additional SPF.
One should always reapply sunscreen every hour, if sweating or swimming. Physical sunscreen’s film can be broken or moved and this allows UV rays to get in. Chemical sunscreen molecules are only good for about hour before they start to break down and need to be replaced. If you aren’t especially sweaty and you’re sitting in the shade, you can get by with re-applying at longer intervals. Use your discretion but it’s safer to err on the side of caution. Remember, one bad sunburn will increase your skin cancer risk.
As an added benefit, blocking UV rays will prevent pre-mature cell death and preserve your youthful good looks ! Hooray for sunscreen!