Why You Need Sunscreen
It isn’t glamorous, but it sure is a necessity. And it not only helps with anti-aging and keeping your skin tone even, but it also benefits your health by lessening your chances of developing skin cancer. You probably guessed it by now, but what I am talking here about is sunscreen! And no, I don’t mean applying oily, stinky Banana Boat to your face and body every day, but I am talking about wearing a high-quality, medical grade face and body sunscreen.
To be honest, I think a lot of people have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to wearing sunscreen on their face. And I don’t blame them. I tried a million and one sunscreens, and they all left me looking greasy, smelling like a beach, and unimpressed. And I didn’t even know where to start when it came to picking out a good sunscreen that not only worked well, but was top quality. It all seemed so confusing to me?
In hindsight, it makes sense to look to reputable skincare lines when it comes to sunscreen, because, just like a serum or cleanser, a sunscreen that you put on your face needs to be formulated properly. So as the owner of AN Skin & Beauty and as a medical grade esthetician that understands skincare like it’s her job (oh wait, it is!), let’s dive in more about sunscreen and what to look for when you are choosing a facial sunscreen!
Understand WHY SPF is so important for you
Sunscreen protects the skin from UV damage. UVA and UVB rays can lead to skin cancer and damage to the skin, like causing premature aging, wrinkles and sun spots. 1 in 5 Americans develop skin cancer in their lifetime, so wearing sunscreen is crucial to incorporate into your daily routine.
Sun exposure is also the fastest way to break down collagen within the skin, which can then lead to saggy skin and wrinkles. So if you are serious about keeping your collagen levels high and focusing on anti-aging, you better start lathering on the SPF! Be sure to reapply sunscreen every 90 minutes when in the sun, and also seek shade when possible. Sunscreen alone won’t fully protect you from UVA and UVB rays when outside for long periods of time.
Pay attention to the key ingredients
When deciding on sunscreen, you want to absolutely look at the ACTIVE ingredients in the product (this will most likely be on the back label). Look for sunscreens that have these active ingredients: titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, as the combo of these two ingredients deflect the damaging rays off the skin and protect the skin the best. They create a physical barrier, like a wall, to block incoming ultraviolet rays. They also block the FULL spectrum of rays, not just some of them.
Other active ingredients, such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate are chemical sunscreen ingredients, and are what you want to AVOID. They are unsafe for the environment/reefs, and are also unsafe for the skin.
Reason one that they are unsafe for the skin is that chemical sunscreen ingredients absorb heat into the skin. This is not ideal for skin health or for anyone struggling with sun damage, melasma, or pigment issues (heating the skin can make them worse!). Reason two is that these ingredients can be absorbed into the bloodstream and remain there for long periods of time. These chemicals can disrupt hormones, and also cause skin irritation.
Look for an SPF between 30 and 50
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and you want to look for sunscreen with an SPF between 30 to 50. The reasoning for this is that SPF 30 blocks nearly 97% of rays, and 50 blocks about 98%, which is great! There are no studies that prove that anything over an SPF of 50 protects the skin any better. Plus, products that claim to have an SPF of higher than 50 come at a cost. The sunscreen must contain chemical sunscreen ingredients in order to be considered above an SPF of 50, and chemical sunscreens should be avoided.
Chemical sunscreens are not safe for the environment, and are less effective for the skin. Instead of deflecting rays, chemical sunscreen absorbs heat into the skin and warms up the skin’s surface. Sunscreen over an SPF of 50 is also extremely misleading and can give people a false sense of protection, leading them to being in the sun longer and getting burned. In reality, SPF above 50 is not protecting you really any more than SPF 30-50 does.
Consider your skin type
- People with dry skin should consider a sunscreen that also has ingredients such as glycerin, lanolin, oils, and silicones (dimethicone) and aloe, and avoid sunscreen sprays or gels with alcohol.
- For oily skin, lightweight sunscreen with ingredients that won’t clog pores is best.
- For sensitive skin, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free are good places to start, and choosing a mineral sunscreen is a must.
Mineral Face & Body Sunscreen contains glycerin and dimethicone to boost hydration and keep skin from drying, is lightweight, acne-safe, and is fragrance and alcohol free. Because of this, it is safe for all skin types, even sensitive.
Know how to build sunscreen into your makeup routine
The best way to stick to a healthy sunscreen habit is to build it into your daily routine. There are tons of foundations out there with SPF, but just using foundation as your makeup is a huge mistake! And won’t give you the proper coverage from damaging rays. You need to apply sunscreen under your makeup as well, and you can do this right after you moisturize, or mix it with your moisturizer every single morning. Make it a part of your routine and eventually it’ll be second nature to you. Yay for daily sun protection and healthy skin!
Pick an SPF you actually like to wear
Sounds silly… but this will increase the chances of you actually using facial sunscreen every day! Make sure you pick a sunscreen that checks all the boxes but also isn’t unpleasant to wear. If you aren’t happy with your sunscreen, I can almost bet you won’t keep using it. I can assure you that there are great sunscreens out there that are enjoyable to wear.
Sunscreen isn’t a guarantee to avoiding sun damage and skin cancer, but it is an incredible way to set yourself up for having the best skin of your life. Check out our Mineral Face & Body Sunscreen with an SPF of 47 by clicking the photo below.