We all know we should be using sunscreen, but do you really know why? Coming from a girl who lives in California I’m always in the sun, especially in the summertime! Protecting your skin with sunscreen is the key to looking radiant and youthful as long as possible, even when you can’t stop your age from climbing year after year. So I’m answering all of your burning questions about sunscreen. If you need help finding the right product, I’ve got you covered in this post with everything you need to know about SPF!
Q: What is SPF?
A: Many people may not know that SPF actually stands for “sun protection factor”, which totally makes sense!
Q: What is the difference between UVA and UVB?
A: The sunlight is made of two kinds of rays, UVA and UVB. UVA rays cause premature aging, wrinkles, and can even weaken your immune system because they reach deep into your skin. UVB are the rays that cause your skin to burn in the sun, which is why it’s so important to wear sunscreen and stay protected!
Q: What’s the highest SPF that is still effective?
A: You may have heard that any SPF over 50 doesn’t really work, and that’s partially true! Yes, the higher the number on the bottle, the more it will protect your skin. According to Florida dermatologist James M. Spencer on WebMD, SPF 15 blocks around 94% of the sun’s rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 45 blocks around 98%, which is pretty high! However, any number above that doesn’t do much more. So, SPF 50 is one of the most effective numbers that has actually been proven to protect your skin.
Q: What is broad spectrum sunscreen?
A: Broad spectrum sunscreen means that it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Too much exposure to the sun’s rays can cause skin cancer, aging, wrinkles, and other health problems so having a broad spectrum sunscreen is very important!
Q: What’s the right way to apply sunscreen?
A: Most people actually aren’t using enough sunscreen. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, most adults should be applying one ounce of sunscreen and should reapply at least every two hours. Make sure to get your ears, neck, face, tops of your feet, arms, and legs. Basically any exposed skin should be protected! Also, you can’t forget your lips! They can be easily sunburned and trust me, it’s not fun. Using a lip balm such as the Nivea Sun Protection Lip Care with SPF 30 will keep your pout perfectly plump and burn-free!
Q: Why do sunscreens make your face white?
A: The infamous white cast everyone dreads that is caused by sunscreen, especially if you wear makeup, is from an ingredient called zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is actually one of the best, if not the best ingredient that’s used in sunscreen. It offers the highest level of protection and creates a shield against both UVA and UVB rays.
Q: Does the SPF in makeup or skincare provide enough protection?
A: According to Dermatologist Leslie Baumann on WebMD, SPF in makeup isn’t effective enough to be used alone. Technically, you would need 7 times more foundation and 14 times more powder to get the right amount of coverage. Talk about having a cake face…yikes!
Q: How long does SPF last?
A: SPF should be applied 30 minutes before you go out into the sun and then reapplied every two hours. You should be reapplying your sunscreen right after you swim or if you’ve been sweating because it wears off a lot faster! It’s also important to make sure you aren’t using an expired tube of sunscreen. Expired sunscreen doesn’t work as well and won’t protect your skin like it should.
Q: Can a sunscreen really be waterproof?
A: Legally, the United States FDA says that you can only claim 40 or 80 minutes of water resistance when it comes to sunscreen. But the key word is water resistant, no sunscreen is completely waterproof and should definitely be reapplied after water exposure.
Q: What should I look for when I shop for sunscreen?
A: Finding the right sunscreen is like trying to chose a movie to watch on Netflix, there’s just way too many options! When buying sunscreen, it’s always important to look for a broad spectrum product for the most protection. Almost any sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher should do the trick! Ingredients to look for that offer the highest levels of protection include oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide. So make sure to read the label before buying sunscreen. It’s important to be aware with what you’re putting onto your body!
Q: What works best, spray or cream sunscreens?
A: According to Jennifer A. Stein, the assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, all three work great if applied correctly! What it really comes down to when choosing sunscreen is personal preference, so use whatever you like best.
Q: Is there anyone who shouldn’t or can’t use sunscreen?
A: Sunscreen shouldn’t be used on babies under 6 months of age because their skin is more susceptible to experiencing the side effects of the chemicals in the product. Expecting mothers should also be careful when it comes to using sunscreen, an ingredient to avoid is oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is an ingredient that’s been linked to causing allergies, damage to cells, and even disruption of hormones during development. You should definitely avoid putting you or your baby at risk by reading the product labels before buying sunscreen.
Q: What’s the difference between chemical and physical sunscreen? Is one better than the other?
A: Chemical sunscreens cause your skin to absorb the sun’s rays and and physical sunscreens act as reflectors. Chemical sunscreens are the most common, you’re probably using one right now and don’t even know it! Physical sunscreens are generally more natural, so if you have sensitive skin you should think about making the switch! Both types of sunscreen are very protective and safe, again, it all comes down to what works best for you.
Q: What specific sunscreen would you recommend?
A: My absolute favorite is the Clarin’s Sunscreen Multi-Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen, it’s seriously the only one that doesn’t break me out! If you’re going to be out at the pool all day, going on a hike, or riding bikes along the coast this sunscreen works perfect! Another great product is the Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50 sunscreen, it’s super lightweight and is infused with vitamin E that hydrates the skin! A great drugstore alternative is the Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer. It’s gentle which is great for sensitive skin and it actually has a little bit of mica in it, which will give your skin the most gorgeous glow! Another awesome drugstore product is the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen. It’s oil free and won’t make your face greasy, which is great for using under your makeup!
What’s your go-to sunscreen?