Sunscreen is arguably one of the most important steps in your skincare routine. One of the first and last pieces of advice every dermatologist will tell you is to apply SPF. Morning, night, rain or shine – SPF is the key ingredient to protect your skin from skin cancer, premature ageing and several other harmful factors.
How Much SPF Should We Be Applying?
It is important to know no sunscreen is 100 percent effective, but most dermatologists recommend a minimum of SPF 30 and up for maximum protection, of course the higher the better. To put this into perspective, an SPF 30 prevents 97 percent of UV radiation, whereas SPF 50 protects 98 percent. A broad spectrum sunscreen should be what you’re looking for. This encompasses protection from both UVA (causes damage beneath the surface of your skin) and UVB rays (responsible for sunburn).
Physical vs Chemical Sunscreen
Mineral/Physical sunscreens are composed of two main ingredients: zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Physical sunscreens protect the skin by forming a physical barrier or a layer over the skin to block the UV rays. Chemical sunscreens use chemical ingredients such as octocrylene or avobenzone, to protect the skin from UV rays by absorbing them and converting them into heat. “Chemical sunscreens typically have a thinner consistency and tend to blend in more easily than their mineral counterparts. However, these ingredients can cause irritation for many people with sensitive skin” (Allure). On the other hand, physical sunscreens are less likely to cause irritation, but tend to be thicker and are often known to leave a white cast. Over the years, technological advancements and research have improved mineral formulations, allowing for a more seamless formulation.
Sunscreen By Skin Type
Knowing your skin type is very important when it comes to choosing a sunscreen.
Oily/ Acne-prone: Opt for an oil-free, non-comedogenic sunscreen to avoid shine, or a “tacky” feeling on the skin, this will also be less likely to clog your pores.
Dry: Dry skin types should look for a hydrating formula to add another dose of moisture to the skin.
Normal: If you’re blessed with stable, normal skin you should look for a sunscreen you feel most comfortable with, whether you have to test out a few to get there, the trial and error is worth it to find that perfect formula!
Combination: Combination skin can be tricky, it is best to opt for a lightweight product that won’t weigh down the oily parts of your skin.
Sensitive: When it comes to sensitive skin, consumers should look for gentle products, without the presence of any harsh ingredients. It is best to avoid fragrances, parabens and phthalates.
Words Of Advice
If you’re wondering whether to just wear sunscreen on a sunny day at the beach, you’re wrong. SPF should be applied all day every day, whether you’re indoors or outdoors! When applying sunscreen, don’t forget to cover your neck, ears and the back of your hands, these are all equally important! According to research there are conflicting responses as to how much sunscreen should be applied, but the general consensus is between the length of two to three fingers, for the entire face, neck and ears. Trust us, sunscreen is one step you should never skip – you’ll thank us later!