Why is daily SPF so important?
Have you ever wondered what happens to your skin if it's exposed to sun for 100 years? Probably not, but we're going to show you anyway:
In this clip, you see a 103 year old patient whose neck was exposed to the sun for most of her life, but her chest was protected thanks to her clothing.
Sun protection is something you always need in your skincare routine. It's estimated that 90% of skin aging comes from sun exposure. That's why wearing a daily sunscreen is crucial to prevent premature aging and UV damage. There is actually a new sunscreen study that found using daily sunscreen (wearing it 365 days/year regardless if you’re in the sun or not) can even reverse common signs of photo-aging (i.e. wrinkles and hyperpigmentation). Talk about an easy, simple step with LOTS of benefits!
Commit to wearing SPF daily before investing in any other skincare products; otherwise, it's not worth it! The earlier you start, the better your skin will age and the less you will have to spend on skincare + treatments in the future.
Sun protection is the single best thing you can do for your skin, and preventing sun damage is always better than treating it.
What exactly is SPF?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, which measures a sunscreen's ability to protect the skin from UV rays. Sunscreen works by blocking and absorbing UV rays through a combination of physical and chemical particles. Physical particles, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are able to reflect some UV radiation from the skin.
Five Things to Know About Sun Protection
1. A little does NOT go a long way.
When applying sunscreen, you should be using two finger lengths of product for your face for optimal protection. It might seem like a lot, but most people actually don't apply enough. SPF should be reapplied every two hours when out in the sun, and applied more frequently if you are exercising or swimming.
2. There are two types of harmful rays.
UVA rays are also known as "aging rays" because they are strongly associated with skin aging (think wrinkles + dark spots). These rays penetrate into the dermis (deep into the skin) and produce free radicals that damage DNA and break down collagen and elastin.
UVB rays are burning rays–they cause skin inflammation and are responsible for sunburns. These rays penetrate into the epidermis and directly damage DNA. UVB rays are strongly associated with skin cancer.
When you're choosing a sunscreen, you want to make sure it's broad-spectrum–meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Also, sunscreen should be worn daily, no matter the weather conditions, as both types of rays are able to pass through clouds. UVA rays also can penetrate glass–something to keep in mind for your next road trip!
3. There is no "best" sunscreen for all skin types.
4. Always pick an SPF 50 over an SPF 30.
Why? Because SPF 50 is almost twice as protective as SPF 30.
5. Sun protection is not just sunscreen. It's also lifestyle.
Sun protection also includes clothing, hats, shoes, sunglasses...shields–and seeking shade when you can. Clothing choices are what protected this 103 year old woman's chest from sun exposure. That's why we love wearing hats so much! #NoSunClub™ anyone??
Sun protection for kids
If they’re spending more than 15 minutes outside a day (which, we hope they are!) then you should consider a daily SPF for them too. But, putting sunscreen on kids can feel like you’re trying to lather a greased up pig so here are a few tips:
- Choose a mineral-based sunscreen that doesn’t irritate their skin. This may take some trial and error, but when you find one, stick with it!
- Let them apply it themselves! I-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t do you know what that means?! Let them go to town with their hands or you can dab dots on their face and let them use a makeup brush to rub it in. Make it fun!
- SPF 50 > SPF 30.
- Reapply every 2 hours when outside, especially when playing/sweating/swimming.
What should I do if I get sunburnt?
Most people associate sunburn with those beautiful, full-sun summer days we all dream about from time to time. However, it can also occur on cloudy days.
So what is a sunburn exactly?
A sunburn occurs when the outermost layer of our skin is over exposed to UV light. Why is this problematic? It exacerbates our skin's aging process and can lead to a variety of dangerous skin cancers—regardless of sunburn, we encourage annual skin-checks.
Sunscreen is the first line of defense and should always be utilized when exposing your skin to UV light, but we all occasionally forget to reapply sunscreen. On those days, we have an SOS routine for you–read our post on sunburn care here!
Tools to repair a sun damaged skin barrierThe skin’s moisture barrier is the wall that keeps our skin in tact and healthy. Sun exposure affects the skin by breaking down the cells, allowing the good stuff, like moisture, to get out, and the not-so-good things, like free radicals and allergens, to get in. A damaged skin barrier can present as itchy, red, dry, and sensitive. Here’s a look at our favorite products/ingredients for preventing and healing a damaged barrier:
- Hydrating Lotion — contains humectants and ceramides soothe and nourish
- Sheer and Tinted SPF — both have lactic acid to help hydrate and rebuild the barrier
- Liquid Gold and Overachiever — antioxidant powerhouses that correct existing damage and prevent future damage