Sunscreen 101: Everything You Need To Know To Be Sun Safe This Season
We know that you know that using sunscreen is important, but did you know that you need to use it daily (even if you’re not in the sun) from head to toe. Not only does sunscreen help prevent skin aging, but research also shows that regular daily use can reduce the risk of squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, which are two types of skin cancer. While there are some controversial topics about sunscreen- that it’s not healthy for you- concerning skin’s health and anti-aging. There are still healthy habits to develop, some myths that need to be busted and surprising places where you can (and should) apply your SPF daily to help prevent some of those nasty skincare concerns in the future.
SPF Moisturizer or Facial Sunscreen?
If you choose a SPF moisturizer, make sure it has sunscreen ingredients. There are many different formulations out there to suit almost everyone’s skin type and preferences. If you’re prone to acne, choose an oil-free product. Looking for a little bit of color then try a tinted moisturizer. No matter what, if you’re relying on moisturizer for sun protection, it should have an SPF of 15 or higher and be labeled: broad spectrum, which means it protects against UVA & UVB rays.
If you don’t use a SPF moisturizer then look for a sunscreen that’s formulated specifically for the face. These tend to be more lightweight than traditional sunscreens and are often made to go underneath cosmetics or everyday wear. After cleansing your face in the morning, apply your moisturizer or facial sunscreen.
There are a few other interesting places that you probably wouldn’t think of adding SPF, but these are just as important and crucial as the face:
- Put Sunscreen on Your Lips: Lips are especially prone to UV damage, and since they go uncovered nearly all the time it’s important to keep them protected. Look for an SPF lip balm and pay special attention to your bottom lip—it gets the most sun exposure and is 12 times more likely to develop skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
- Don’t forget your hands: Since your hands are one of the first areas to show signs of premature aging, they definitely shouldn’t go without sunscreen. After you apply the rest of your sunscreen and wash your hands, put a bit of sunscreen on the back of one hand and rub the backs of your hands together for full protection minus the slippery grip.
- SPF your feet: You need to apply sunscreen to the tops of your feet if you want to avoid flip-flop tan lines (not to mention a painful burn) when you’re out and about in the sunny warm weather- not just at the pool or beach.
Should You Choose a Sunscreen Solely on SPF?
Instead of focusing solely on the SPF, keep an eye out for broad-spectrum sunscreens. A broad-spectrum sunscreen will ensure your skin is protected against UVA and UVB rays alike to prevent both premature aging and sunburns. Sunscreens that offer additional benefits are becoming very popular. While SPF plays a role in sun protection, it shouldn’t be the decider when determining an effective sunscreen. Selecting a sun care product isn’t as simple as picking the one with the highest SPF. SPF 30 or greater is usually sufficient, as it shields against 97% of harmful UVB rays. SPF 50 is another popular choice, but this only increases the number of rays avoided by one percent. Broad-spectrum sun protection with 22.5% zinc oxide and 22.5% titanium dioxide. It also protects against infrared radiation as well as blue light and pollution with potent antioxidants.
Are You Using Expired Sunscreen?
All sunscreen should have an expiration date. It’s usually found on the bottom of your bottle or by the barcode. But what if your product doesn’t have an expiration date on its container? First, don’t panic. This isn’t a sign your sunscreen is any less legit. The FDA requires all sunscreens to include expiration dates, unless it’s proven to last over three years. If you bought sunscreen without an expiration date, then we recommend writing the date you purchased it and open it on the container… This will provide you with a better idea of how long your sunscreen remains effective.
When you use an expired sunscreen, you’re always shortchanging your skin. In addition to being less effective, expired sunscreens may actually make your complexion more sensitive to the sun, increasing the chances of premature aging, burns and even skin cancer. Expired chemical ingredients, like octinoxate and oxybenzone, tend to oxidize while physical ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, separate or take on a gritty texture. Sunscreens are also recommended to be used within a year of opening to prevent possible exposure to bacteria. If a sunscreen starts to smell off, it’s best to discard it to avoid breakouts or other future concerns. However, if you’re practicing proper sun care habits, your sunscreen should run out long before it reaches its expiration date.
Remember, sunscreen shouldn’t be limited to when you’re in the sun, pool or beachside. Sunscreen should be worn every single day- rain or shine, men and women alike. You may not notice all the benefits now, but the advantage of using sunscreen is felt (and seen) in the long run. There is no specific time to start using sunscreen. It is always better to be late than never. Enjoy the sun 365 days with a liberal dab of sunscreen and Reveal Your Belleza