You’re spending your hard-earned money on chemical peels, facials, and high-quality face creams but are you taking care of this investment? With summer just around the corner, we feel obligated to mention the importance of sunscreen and just how critical it is. Sun protection has come a long way, and it’s no longer a greasy mess that never absorbs into your skin. I remember the days of avoiding it because I hated the feeling of sunscreen on my skin – no more. There were also so many misconceptions I had about it, and you might have some questions as well; so, let’s clear them up, along with your face!
What is Sunscreen and How Does It Work?
Firstly, SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB rays from damaging the skin. How does it work? SPF works by filtering out a high percentage of UVB rays. SPF 15 filters out approximately 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent.
What Are My Options for Sunscreens?
There are two different kinds of sunscreen: physical and chemical. The physical sunscreens use UV filters that reflect, scatter and block the sun’s rays. While a chemical sunscreen uses active ingredients that absorb UV rays preventing them from penetrating the skin. Each has its own pro/con list. To check it out, click here.
Water-resistant and waterproof sunscreens still need to be reapplied. One misconception is once a waterproof sunscreen is applied you’re good to go swimming for hours or play beach volleyball all afternoon. This is NOT true. Swimming for 30 minutes sweating excessively for 30 or more minutes, you’ll need to reapply. Sunscreen can also be wiped off with your towel, so apply frequently.
Having sensitive skin doesn’t stop you from wearing sun protection. There are many sunscreens that are developed for the most sensitive of skins, like babies and children. You just have to find a formula that works for your skin. Natural sunscreens, chemical, and physical are all options. If you have an allergic reaction, you can always seek out the advice of a dermatologist to ensure you’re using a product that’s right for your skin.
Does Everyone Need It?
You don’t need sunscreen if you have dark skin– MYTH. Some individuals believe the more melanin you have in your skin, the less sunscreen you need. This is simply not true. People with darker skin are more protected from the sun, but they should still use a full spectrum sunscreen because UVA damage is not blocked by melanin. UVA rays cause premature aging.
Darker skin tones are also not protected from skin cancer. A recent study shows individuals with darker skin tones had the lowest skin cancer survival rates. We need to make sure this myth is put to rest, to ensure safe sun practices.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the argument ‘I can’t wear sunscreen because I need to get vitamin D.’ This simply isn’t true. While your skin produces vitamin D from the sun, most people don’t wear enough sunscreen to stop that. Your skin only needs about 15 minutes to create enough vitamin D. An article quoted “You can get enough vitamin D from a mix of diet, supplements, and incidental sun exposure,” says Klein.
When to Apply?
Once you get to the beach, pick the perfect spot to lay out your towel, and then apply sunscreen. Wrong! It’s a common misconception that you should apply your sunscreen once you’re outside at and at your destination. Sunscreen takes a little time to absorb into the skin, so give it about a half an hour prior to sun exposure.
Final Thoughts on Sunscreen
Not all sunscreens are created equally. Only sunscreens labeled ‘broad spectrum’ protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays cause sunburns, while UVA causes your skin to age and is linked to skin cancer.
Make sure you are checking your sunscreens expiration dates. There are active ingredients in sunscreen, so following the expiration date is a must. You want to make sure you’re getting proper coverage and protection, so ineffective ingredients are a no go.
What If My Skin Is Already Sun Damaged?
That’s even more of a reason to apply generously. Also, take some proactive steps to help repair your skin. Remember: sunscreen will help to prevent sun damage proactively and chemical peels will assist in some retroactive ways.
Chemical Peels for Sun Damage, Really?
Chemical peels are a great option treatment for almost anyone with sun damage; they will improve the following skin conditions hyperpigmentation from sun exposure, scarring, and uneven complexion.
Hopefully, with sunny weather coming, this has cleared up some of the many myths about sunscreen. Remember to apply it frequently when out in the sun, after swimming or excessive sweating and before you leave the house. Also, remember to be proactive with a good skincare routine and regular chemical peels!
For more information on this topic, please read our related post that touches on the damaging effects of tanning.