I have a slight addiction to protecting my skin from sun damage. And by slight…I mean crazy. I avoid tanning beds at all costs, don’t usually use sun tan oil, and obsessively re-apply my sunscreen.
Vainly, I’m avid about sun protection mostly because I want to avoid wrinkles for as long as possible (although I guess not getting skin cancer is also pretty chill). Factors like genetics and age play a role in wrinkle development, so sun damage is pretty much the only aging factor you can help prevent.
When you think about it. The sun is literally a hot lava ball just chillin’ in the sky blasting beams of radiation that we need to survive, but also are damaging to us (????). Even if you have beautiful skin, there’s a good chance you still have unseeable damage. <- Really cool video you should watch.
Now, because I know most people are conscious of sunscreen use at the beach or by the pool, I want to talk more about the everyday aspects of sun protection. While you’re out on a jog through town, shopping at your favorite strip mall, or drinking on a rooftop bar with your friends, THE SUN IS LITERALLY ATTACKING YOU. So, please read some of my insightful tips (some of which are actually news to me as I conducted research for this post) and stay pretty this summer 🙂
Do not buy any sunscreen or makeup with an SPF lower than 30
While at Sephora the other day, I asked an associate to help me find a moisturizer with SPF in it. The first two options she gave me only had an SPF of 15, which I thought was disappointing. SPF 15 isn’t terrible, but you can do much better. A product with an SPF of 15 is only blocking 93% of UVB rays. While that sounds nice, the number jumps up to 97% at SPF 30. After SPF 30, the number can only go up by about a percentage or two.
That being said, there is also nothing wrong with buying SPF greater than 30, BUT don’t let brands fool you into spending more for a higher SPF because it’s not usually worth the extra cash.
*In case you are curious about the rest of my Sephora encounter, I was eventually lead to Origins A Perfect World SPF 40 moisturizer because it was the only one with an SPF 30 or higher. I have fallen in love with because it smells nice and doesn’t leave my skin looking oily.
You need only one source of SPF in your makeup routine
You do not need to layer up on moisturizer, foundation, and powder with a sun protection factor (SPF). According to Mona Gohara, a professor of dermatology at Yale who gave an interview with Allure, “SPF isn’t an equation. You can’t use an SPF 15 primer and an SPF 20 foundation and get SPF 30. Your sun protection is only as strong as your highest SPF.”
Broad Spectrum ONLY
There are two types of sun radiation, UVB, and UVA. UVA rays are longer and can reach deeper into the skin, while UVB rays stop at the outer layer. It is important to protect yourself from both because both can cause long-term damage! Double check to ensure your product says broad spectrum or UVB/UVA protection. I just recently bought this broad spectrum sunscreen by Alba because I am a loyal fan of their products. This product smells great and is biodegradable.
Don’t use last summer’s stuff
If sunscreen expires, that means the SPF is no longer active and you can say hello to a lobster-red complexion later. Most sunscreens do have an expiration date or a logo printed like the one pictured below. The “M” stands for months after opening. So if you have had a product for two years and the logo says “12 M”, chuck it.
Don’t see a date on your product? Head on over to the Cosmetic Calculator for more information on where to find a special code that will allow them to calculate the expiration date for you!
Re-apply even if you are wearing makeup
I get it – slathering on sunscreen in the middle of a bar with a full face of makeup on doesn’t sound appealing. However, you need to be re-applying because makeup itself won’t protect your skin and the protection from an SPF product you used that morning will wear off. Luckily, there are makeup powders with SPF that are perfect for touching up AND sun protection. This is new information to me so I haven’t had a chance to try any powders yet, but I’m thinking about getting this one by Colorscience or this one by Mineral Fusion.
Don’t forget your lips and scalp!
These areas a susceptible to burning and should be treated with the same care as your skin. The powder mentioned above could be great for your exposed scalp if you don’t want to wear a hat. There are many lip balms with SPF protection and most of them work great. I am currently using this one by Sun Bum because it smells like Bananas.
Please keep these tips in mind as you enjoy the beautiful weather! Also, let me know what some of your favorite products are in the comments.