If there’s one consistent belief that everyone shares in the skincare world, it’s that sunscreen is the MOST important part of any skincare routine. Any product you use on your face won’t help your skin if you’re not protecting it from the sun and further damage. And yet, there are many out there who still aren’t using sunscreen, or don’t know enough about it to truly believe in its benefits. Read on for 16 of the most important facts about sunscreen, and if you’re still not convinced, check out our blog on the Best Sunscreens for Each Skin Type.
Look for a sunscreen with at least SPF 30, which blocks 97% of the sun’s rays.
Of course, you can always use a higher SPF (and you should, especially on your face!), but SPF 30 should be the minimum amount in your daily sunscreen.
Your sunscreen can expire- be sure to always check the date!
The FDA requires that sunscreen keep its original strength for at least 3 years. There should be a printed date on your sunscreen container, but if you notice a strange color or smell in your sunscreen, it may be time to toss it, as it may not be effective anymore.
Sunscreen can be chemical or physical.
What you decide to use is entirely up to you and your skin type or concerns, but generally, mineral sunscreen is better tolerated by sensitive or acne-prone skin. The biggest difference between mineral (physical) sunscreen and chemical sunscreen is how it protects against the sun. Mineral sunscreen sits on top of the skin, physically blocking UVA and UVB rays, while chemical sunscreen absorbs the UV rays and transforms them into heat, which dissipates from the skin. Mineral sunscreens tend to look more white on the skin, while chemical sunscreens typically rub in more easily.
You need to reapply multiple times throughout the day.
Your initial application after your skincare routine doesn’t cut it- especially if you’re spending a good amount of your day outside or in direct sunlight. As a general rule, it’s best to re-apply every two hours, or more frequently if you’ve been in the water. Yes, this also applies even if you’re wearing makeup- check out this blog on how to re-apply sunscreen while wearing makeup for all of our best tips and tricks for re-applying sunscreen even with a full face on.
Your scalp needs sunscreen too!
If you’ve ever spent a day in the sun and woke up with a red, itchy scalp the next day, you’ll agree that you need to be putting sunscreen on your scalp. Especially if you have a distinct hair part or if you’re bald, you need to be applying sunscreen to the area. The skin on your scalp is just as susceptible to burns and damage as the rest of your skin, and it’s no fun when your head starts to peel after a burn! If you don’t want to get a liquid SPF in your hair, one of our favorite tricks is using a powder SPF on the area, like the Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50.
Your scars need extra sunscreen.
If you have a scar on a visible part of your body, it’s important to make sure you’re protecting it with plenty of sunscreen. You may even want to add a little more than the rest of your body. You definitely don’t want the area getting darker or more prominent, and a sunburn won’t help the healing process!
Sunscreen not only projects against skin cancer, but also aging.
The most important reason to slather on your skincare everyday is to protect your skin from serious damage. Most notably, it can protect your skin from skin cancer. However, continuous exposure and damage from the sun manifests itself as signs of aging in your skin as well. In fact, 90% of skin aging comes from the sun. Those sun spots, fine lines, and wrinkles? Wrinkles and fine lines are caused by the sun’s ability to break down elastin in the skin. Dark spots, or sun spots, are caused by the sun’s ability to speed up the production of melanin. Using sunscreen is not only beneficial for your health, but for your youthful appearance as well.
Infants under 6 months of age shouldn’t be using sunscreen yet.
Infant’s skin is significantly more delicate than ours, and the sun can do some serious damage on their skin. This doesn’t mean they’re safe from the sun. Your infant should have limited time in direct sunlight. When they are in the sun, they should be covered by plenty of clothing and/or hats for their face.
1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
This is why it’s important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every single day. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays.Both of these rays from the sun are damaging, and it’s super important that your SPF offers protection for both. It will be labeled “broad spectrum” if it effectively protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
You need to use sunscreen even when it’s cloudy.
Even if the sun isn’t beating down on you during a cloudy day, it can still cause damage to your skin. You should be applying sunscreen every single day, no matter the weather or time of year. Even if you’re just driving or sitting on the porch, the sun can cause damage to your skin. Besides- once you find your all-time favorite sunscreen, you won’t want to spend a day without it!
Many people apply only 20–50% of the amount of sunscreen needed to achieve the amount of SPF promised on the label.
This is why you should use the “shot glass” method for applying sunscreen. A shot glass is (usually) one ounce. This is the perfect amount of sunscreen you should be using to cover all exposed areas of your body. For your face, using the teaspoon method (one teaspoon of sunscreen to cover your entire face) is typically sufficient.
Close to 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Although it’s possible to develop skin cancer in different ways, the most common way is through UV radiation from the sun. It’s also the most preventable way, since a good SPF protects you from these rays. If you haven’t fully grasped how important sunscreen is yet, this should be the kicker for you.
Sunscreen doesn’t cause Vitamin D deficiencies!
If your excuse to avoid sunscreen is fear of a Vitamin D deficiency, don’t worry! Even with regular SPF use, your body will soak up all the Vitamin D it needs. So there’s no excuse to skip out on your daily sunscreen! If you’re really worried, talk to your doctor about a Vitamin D supplement!
Everyone needs sunscreen- this includes all skin tones!
According to Cancer.gov, close to 30 percent of women and less than 15 percent of men regularly use sunscreen on their face and body. If you have a darker skin tone, you may think you’re in the clear from sun damage. This isn’t true. While it may be true that lighter skin tones may burn easier, damage can still be done without causing a red, blistering sunburn. Again, there’s no excuse- apply sunscreen regardless of how dark or light your skin tone is!
Sunscreen isn’t 100% waterproof.
Yes, your bottle may say that your sunscreen is “waterproof” or “water-resistant.” However, no sunscreen can claim to be 100% waterproof. It’s in your best interest to re-apply your sunscreen after spending time in the water or sweating a lot.
Sunscreen isn’t enough- be sure to cover up and balance your time in the sun!
You can apply sunscreen all day long, but it’s still important to give your body some time to rest in the shade. Wear protective clothing when you can, including hats and visors, and give your skin a break from the sun.
If you weren’t convinced before, you should be now- sunscreen is SO important! Spend some time picking the best sunscreen for your skin type, and reach out to one of our skin specialists if you need help or recommendations!
Here’s a handy list of some of our SPF faves:
- Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
- Elta MD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50
- Revision Skincare Intellishade Original SPF 45
- Obagi Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50
- MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème SPF 50
- La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk
- Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Glow
- COOLA Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF 50