You’ve heard it before and we’re here to tell you again. Sunscreen is a very important part of your skincare routine. Let’s discuss everything you need to know about sunscreen.
Breaking Down Sunscreen
There are two types of sunscreens, broadly speaking. The first category is chemical sunscreen and these are sunscreens that contain avobenzone or other benzones as active ingredients. These sunscreens work like a sponge, absorbing the sun’s rays. The second category of sunscreen is physical sunscreen which act like a shield and block the sun’s rays. These sunscreens contain titanium or zinc oxide and they work by creating a physical barrier between your skin and the rays of the sun. Since these work by creating a physical barrier, they create a barrier on the skin and leave a white cast. Generally, for those who find themselves sensitive to sunscreen, physical sunscreens are a good option since they are considerably less irritating than their chemical counterparts.
Why You Need Sunscreen
Now let’s talk about the importance of sunscreen. Sunscreen prevents skin cancer. If there is a single reason that you should be wearing sunscreen every day it’s because the protection that sunscreen affords you is indispensable.
However, that’s not to say it doesn’t have peripheral benefits. For one, most dark spots, wrinkles, and fine lines are usually attributed to years of sun damage attained through daily sun exposure.
Next, sunscreen helps you avoid getting sunburned. This happens on an unnoticeable level regularly and leads to ruddiness of complexion, dryness, and peeling. Over the years, repeat sunburns can lead the skin to taking on a ruddy quality that is not gorgeous.
How to Wear Sunscreen
Now that you know you need sunscreen, let’s talk about how to know if you’re wearing enough of it. The amount of protection sunscreen affords you is calculated by a marker called sun protection factor (SPF). Dermatologists recommend using a minimum of SPF 30 that protects against UVA and UVB and is water-resistant. Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes before going outside. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. The higher SPF does not protect you for a longer interval. SPF 30, applied properly blocks about 97% of the sun’s UV rays.
The easiest way to make this decision is to always make sure that you’re using at least an SPF 30 sunscreen. After that, you can pick sunscreen based on whatever it is that suits your budget and needs. If you spend most of your day indoors, then it’s good to wear and reapply your SPF 30 sunscreen periodically.
These days, many cosmetic items contain sunscreen. From BB creams to day creams and foundations, you will find that cosmetics boast higher and higher levels of sun protection. However, these products do not replace a standalone sunscreen.
Use your sunscreen along with any found in cosmetics, and also be aware that you still need to reapply sunscreen even if you are wearing a cosmetic item with sunscreen in it. SPF does not multiply, and having more layers of sun protection will not necessarily protect you for longer.
Using Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, you may find that your skin does not react well to chemical sunscreens. In that case, try a physical sunscreen or a formulation meant for babies. If you absolutely cannot find a formulation that works for you, make sure to wear a hat and sunglasses while you are in the sun.
If you are using a retinoid such as retinol, Retin-A (tretinoin), or accutane (isotretinoin), then you need to wear sunscreen because using these products causes your skin to be more photosensitive. That means, you will find that it is easier to burn your skin and it may take less time for your skin to react to the sun. The antibiotic Doxycycline can also cause sun sensitivity.
Aside from prescription medications, over-the-counter products containing Alpha Hydroxy Acid or Beta Hydroxy Acid can also cause sun sensitivity. Be careful with all chemical exfoliators.
Commit to a Sunscreen Routine
To make sure that your sunscreen is effective, you need to be consistent. To make sure that you’re never without sun protection, keep a bottle of sunscreen in your bag and make sure to reapply if you find yourself outside for long periods of time.