With summer in full effect, it is important to be cautious when it comes to sun exposure. Prolonged sun exposure can lead to sunburn, premature aging, and a higher risk for skin cancer. Living in Southern California, I have had to remain vigilant about incorporating sunscreen into my daily skincare regimen. I would like to share with you some sunscreen information and tips that I hope you will find useful.
First, the basics. The most common cause of premature aging is Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. There are two kinds: UVA (aging) rays and UVB (burning) rays. UVA rays are associated with causing the skin to lose its elasticity and support; therefore, causing fine lines and wrinkles. UVB rays are responsible for sunburns. When shopping for sunscreens, you may have noticed the label 'SPF.' This stands for 'Sun Protection Factor' and rates the level of protection from UVB rays. Additionally, the label 'PA' rates the level of protection from UVA rays. The highest standard of sun protection rating is the three star PA rating. For example, if you see the label PA +++, it translates to "triple grade protection" which is the highest level of protection for UVA rays. If you see the label PA ++, it translates to moderate protection. Pay attention to these labels. Always select sunscreens that offer "Broad Spectrum" protection which indicates the skin is protected from both UVA and UVB rays.
Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreens
All sunscreens are classified into two categories: Physical and Chemical. Physical sunscreens contain minerals that reflect or scatter the sun's UVA and UVB rays. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the active ingredients found in this type of sunscreen. Because physical sunscreens reflect UV rays from the skin, there is no waiting time needed after application before heading outside. In contrast, chemical sunscreens contain synthetic chemicals that absorb UV rays. They should be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure to allow them to absorb into the skin.
Sunscreen Application and Tips
I typically use one tablespoon of sunscreen to apply to my face, neck and décolletage. If I am going to to be active outdoors, I typically use one ounce for my body. I recently purchased the Shiseido Wetforce Power Sun Set (pictured above) to take with me recently on vacation. It offers broad spectrum protection and can be used for both the face and body. I have found that it goes on easily, absorbs quickly and doesn't feel greasy. It wore well throughout the day and I did not suffer from any sunburns or major tan lines after being in the sun nearly all afternoon. Another product that I brought with me was Josie Maran's Argan Daily Moisturizer with SPF 40. This chemical free sunscreen is very lightweight, fast absorbing and can be worn smoothly underneath my makeup. It is my current go-to at the moment. This was included in Sephora's Sun Safety kit that I purchased a few months ago. It contains an assortment of deluxe size samples of Sephora's best selling sun protection products. (Pictured above) It is great for travel and a portion of the proceeds go towards the Skin Cancer foundation which is wonderful! I purchase a couple of these kits every year. On days that I am pressed for time, I typically substitute my sunscreen for a BB cream or primer that is SPF infused. The Hourglass Mineral Veil primer works very well for me as well as Murad's Invisiblur Perfecting Shield. Additionally, I always try to avoid being in the scorching sun between 10 am-2pm, when the sun's rays are the strongest. Furthermore, I always apply a liberal amount of sunscreen before heading out for an extended period of time.
I hope you found this useful. If you have any questions, comments or recommendations, please comment below.