My guide to SPF
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I have very few “rules” when it comes to makeup and skincare. Typically, I feel that if it makes you happy, go for it, and I work closely with each client to determine what exactly that means for them. The exception is sunscreen. Everyone needs to use it everyday. We know too much about skin cancer at this point to shrug off this important daily activity. Also, if you’re concerned about discoloration, fine lines, wrinkles or sagging, you’re definitely going to want to make sunscreen a daily habit. Here are a few things to know when it comes to the effects of sun damage and choosing the right sunscreen.
Note: I am not a doctor or healthcare provider. I’m compiling advice from a variety of quality sources. This interview, The Science of Sunscreen from Harvard Health Publishing, provides some great insight from an actual doctor.
Health and Safety
Unquestionably, the most important reason to apply sunscreen everyday is to protect against skin cancer. While some people are predisposed to the disease and others have fewer risk factors, no one is completely immune. That includes men, people of color or certain ethnicities and, “just one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life,” according to skincancer.org. Using sunscreen everyday should be part of a multifaceted sun protection routine that includes covering up and wearing UPF rated clothing when hanging in the sun, wearing hats and sunglasses, and seeking shade whenever possible.
Also, don’t forget, sun rays penetrate house and car windows. Borrowing a familiar trope from my theater days, if you can see the audience (or sun in this case), the audience can see you. Harmful rays are even present on cloudy days, so wearing sunscreen everyday is non negotiable.
Keeping your Glow
According to the National Institute of Health, the sun is responsible for 80% of skin aging. Overtime, your skin’s ability to produce collagen and turnover new skin cells. Sun exposure accelerates this process and can have some less than desirable consequences. Unprotected sun exposure can result in discoloration, fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. While aging is natural and inevitable, daily use of sunscreen can help you maintain healthy, youthful skin.
Need more convincing? There is also growing evidence that blue light emitted from your devices also contributes to skin aging. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, consider using a physical sunscreen to help block these rays, along with turning your monitor to night mode and decreasing the brightness.
Here’s the thing, there is no one perfect sunscreen. There are hundreds of options out there, with different textures, active ingredients, and price points. When it comes down to it, the best sunscreen is the one you will apply liberally everyday. Here are some factors to consider:
SPF rating- Look for something rated SPF 30 or higher. It is not necessary to wear an SPF 100 on a daily basis. Unless directed by a dermatologist, SPF 30-50 will provide the protection you need for day to day activities.
Physical sunscreen or chemical sunscreen? Physical sunscreens are inorganic minerals such as zinc-oxide and/or titanium dioxide. If you have particularly sensitive skin, mineral sunscreens may work better for you. However, some of these formulas can leave a white cast that can take some work to blend in. We are seeing more brands utilizing nanoparticles in their formulas, which make these mineral particles smaller and easier to blend. Prefer something clear? Stick with chemical sunscreens like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, or octinoxate.
Texture- Use the right formula for your skin type. If you’re oily, something lightweight like a gel might be preferable than a creamy lotion. If you have dry skin, find a rich moisturizer with SPF 30 or greater. Sensitive? Try a mineral based SPF with calming properties.
Price point- This is not the time to get stingy with your products application. There are wonderful formulas at all price points, so be sure to choose something that fits in your budget to be used everyday. There’s no special occasion sunscreen!
Also, it is not necessary to use a separate moisturizer and sunscreen. I generally recommend finding a moisturizer that’s right for your skin type and contains at least SPF 30. As long as SPF is that last step in your routine, and your skin feels comfortable throughout the day, you’re doing it right.
Paula’s Choice Essential Glow Moisturizer SPF 30- This is a personal favorite! This powerhouse multi-tasker hydrates, protects and gives skin a beautiful glow. This can even take the place of an illuminating primer or highlighter. ($29)
First Aid Beauty Liquid Mineral SPF 30- A great option for those who are oily or just prefer a lighter formula. This fluid formula has a water-like texture and a slight tint to counteract a white cast. ($34)
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30- This dermatologist favorite brand is an excellent choice for someone looking for a good basic moisturizer. It includes additional beneficial ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides. It is also a chemical sunscreen, so no issue with white cast. ($18.99)
Any sign of skin color change, from a light suntan to a blistering burn are indicators of some level of sun damage, so it’s time to change our mindset around a “healthy tan.” Unfortunately, there really is no such thing. The good news? There are so many products out there to give you that glow. Pairing excellent skincare (including a well formulated sunscreen), with the right cosmetics will make you look forward to slathering on that daily SPF. Looking for additional guidance in choosing the right sunscreen? Book a personal shopping appointment! I would love to help you create a beautiful and healthy skincare routine.