One of the most important products for you to add to your skincare routine is sunscreen, even if you are following a minimal skincare routine.
Since September is National Skincare Awareness Month, today I’m going to answer all your questions about sunscreen.
What Is Sunscreen And Why Do We Need It?
Sunscreen is a product that protects your skin from the rays of the sun.
On its own, our skin can’t protect itself. The thinner your skin is and the lighter the pigmentation or color will put you at even greater risk for damage from the sun.
Our skin is not made to be 100% all day in the sun so we need to help protect it by applying a product like a sunscreen.
How Do The Sun’s Rays Affect Your Skin?
The UVA rays from the sun age the skin and give you sun damage while the sun’s UVB rays burn and cause skin cancer.
In their article, Breaking Down Broad-Spectrum Protection: Why Your Sunscreen Needs To Have It, the Skin Cancer Foundation cites a study where researchers “realized that many people don’t know what broad-spectrum protection is, so they don’t recognize how important a factor it should be in their purchasing decisions.”
I’m here to tell you, when you’re looking at sunscreens it is imperative that you find one that says it is broad-spectrum. This means you’ll be protecting your skin from both types of rays.
What Is Photoaging And Who Is Most At Risk?
Since sun damage takes so long to work its way through the layers of the skin to show up on the surface, we don’t associate sun exposure with sun damage.
Long-term consequences prematurely age the skin and can lead to skin cancer.
According to Yale Medicine, “the aesthetic concerns you may have if your skin is showing signs of photoaging. These signs can include brown spots, wrinkles, broken capillaries, and uneven skin texture.”
If you have skin, you are susceptible to photoaging. The amount of photodamage you sustain “depends on how much unprotected sun exposure you’ve had over time [as well as] your skin type and geographical factors. …In general, lighter skin is more susceptible to photoaging and skin cancer. Darker skin can also be photodamaged and develop skin cancer, but the more likely outcome is that the skin will develop uneven dark patches” which is also known as melasma.
Are There Different Types Of Sunscreen?
Yes. There are two different types of sunscreen – physical and chemical.
This type of sunscreen uses UV filters to block the sun’s rays.
Because the primary UV filter used is zinc, it can leave a white veil on your skin. This may or not be noticeable depending on the size of the molecule of zinc used in the product you are applying.
These sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays and transform them into heat so your body is able to release them.
The biggest advantage of this type of sunscreen is that they are more versatile. This means they can be combined with other products such as moisturizers for fewer steps in your skincare routine.
Looking for a more detailed explanation of the different types of UV filters? Our Ready To Update Your Summer Skincare Routine article covers it all.
What Type Of Sunscreen Should You Choose?
When you are purchasing sunscreen, consider what type of skin you have.
Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City explains, “if you have dry skin, choose a face sunscreen with hydrating ingredients… like hyaluronic acid or ceramides.
If you have oily skin, look for sunscreens that have a matte finish. Lighter gel formulations will also feel less heavy if you tend to get shiny throughout the day.”
You’ll also want to consider your skin tone. If you have a medium-to-dark complexion, chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin and are more clear. Physical or mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin and reflect UV rays and often leave some white cast. (source)
Frequently Asked Sunscreen Questions
My clients ask a lot of questions about sunscreen and which is best for them. Here are my rapid-fire answers.
What Is The Best Sunscreen For Faces?
Whichever brand you choose, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using a broad-spectrum formula with at least 30 SPF.
Which Sunscreen Is The Most Effective?
The one you will actually wear.
Dermatologists recommend using at least 30 SPF with broad-spectrum protection for the fullest coverage available on the market today.
Remember to reapply every 2 hours when you are exposed to the sun.
Which Sunscreen Is Best For Oily Skin?
If you have oily skin, look for a sunscreen that lists zinc in the ingredients. Usually, this provides a mattifying property that will help with oil control.
Does My Sunscreen Expire?
Yes. Most sunscreens expire after a year because the UV filters stop being effective. Look at your bottle and toss it if it’s from last summer.
When Should I Start Using Sunscreen?
Sun Damage can take years to show up on your skin. Dermatologists have found sun damage in children as young as two years old.
It’s never too early to start applying sunscreen especially if you are going to be exposed to the sun for long periods of time.
What Is The Best Homemade Sunscreen?
There isn’t one.
It’s probably not the answer you may want to hear but please hear me out!
Chemists work really hard to create formulas that are effective. The UV filters need to be small enough to fully disperse and provide you with a consistent spreadable lotion. Most kitchens are simply not equipped with what you need for a stable effective product.
This is one I would leave for the professionals.
According to Healthline, “Without a chemistry degree or pharmaceutical background, it’s difficult for anyone to calculate how much zinc oxide or titanium dioxide a sunscreen recipe needs to have for adequate sun protection.
It takes entire teams of chemists years or even decades to tweak and perfect sunscreen products that the FDA finds safe and acceptable. The chances of you perfecting a safe and effective sunscreen to compare with the products on the market are slim.”
Ready to start protecting your skin every day?
But you need it not to pill under makeup or leave a white cast right?
It would be nice if it helped brighten your skin and even skin tone.
You want it to moisturize too, Right ?!?
The Flora Skinlab’s Brightening Moisturizer Day Protection with SPF 50 will give you the minimum protection you need to wear every day for all skin types.
It’s a broad spectrum, chemical sunscreen that is an all-in-one moisturizer, sunscreen, and brightener making it perfect for a minimal skincare routine.
Most importantly, it doesn’t leave a white cast nor will your makeup pill. It’s truly a great everyday solution for protecting your skin.