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It’s summer time! Who doesn’t love this time of year? Swimming, camping, road trips, SUNSHINE? Is there a better feeling than a cool summer breeze with the warm sun shining against your skin? I think not.
However, the sun is like that one ex we all have—the one that we really love but also really hate because they pretend to be what we need, but really they’re poison. With the beautiful sun on our skin, we just wind up dying of melanoma and looking 15 years older than we actually are (Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating just a tad… but only a tad).
90% of skin aging is due to sun exposure. The fibers that keep our skin plump are broken down and our skin begins producing extra color. This causes our skin to sag, lines and wrinkles to become deeper, and discolorations known as “sunspots” to appear. Not to mention that getting just one sunburn in your life increases your risk of developing melanoma—having one sunburn (regardless of severity) every couple of years can triple your chances of developing it.
So. Let’s talk about 2 rules that will help us protect our skin a little more during these harsh summer months.
Rule Number 1: Wear sunscreen.
I know, I know. It feels greasy. It’s a hassle. It’s easy to forget to apply it. But I cannot stress enough how incredibly important it is. You don’t need to go all out and wear SPF 100. A Sun Protection Factor of 15 is great for daily use, while something a little higher (30-50) is best for prolonged exposure. For optimal results, it should be applied about 20 minutes prior to going outdoors. And, you guessed it, sunscreen needs to be reapplied. I recommend reapplying every 1.5-2 hours, depending on how quickly you normally burn (I burn really quickly, so I sometimes reapply every hour if I’m in strong, direct sunlight).
Look for a product that is Broad Spectrum, meaning it protects against both UVA (the aging rays) and UVB (the burning rays).
It's important to know that the SPF inside your foundation or BB cream is not enough. For one thing, you probably don't cover your entire neck, chest, ears, and other exposed areas with that foundation. But less commonly realized is the fact that the SPF in cosmetics doesn't offer the same amount of coverage from an actual sunscreen product. According to Dermatologist Leslie Baumann, MD, "You need seven times the normal amount of foundation and 14 times the normal amount of powder to get the sun protection factor on the label. No one does this."
Of course, it makes sense to put sunscreen on before applying foundation, but what about re-application? Who wants to put sunscreen on top of their makeup look?
One of my favorite facial sunscreen products is SunForgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush by ColoreScience. It’s a mineral powder sunscreen for face and can be applied on top of foundation. Because it is a powder, you’re not only reapplying that SPF, but you’re also touching up your makeup and absorbing oil in the T-Zone at the same time! It comes in a variety of shades and SPF 30 or 50.
Rule Number 2: Remember that sunscreen may not be enough.
Wearing sunscreen can keep your skin from burning, but that does not mean that it is completely protecting your skin from UV rays. Have you ever noticed that you can still develop a tan even when you wear sunscreen? A tan is basically your body’s way of trying to protect itself against the sun, so clearly your skin is still being affected. This is why it is important to wear hats, stay under umbrellas, and avoid prolonged exposure even if sunscreen is worn. And if you’re planning to be outside but fully clothed, remember that it is possible to burn through clothing! So put on sunscreen under your stretchy or loosely woven fabrics.
In conclusion, we all need some Vitamin D in our lives, but keep these tips in mind when you are planning your summer adventures. Throwing on a hat while boating or lounging under an umbrella after paddle boarding are small but meaningful steps you can take to protect your skin and overall health.
If you need help finding other great sunscreen or skincare products, talk to your licensed esthetician. She is there to help you find the perfect tools and resources for your individual skincare needs.