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Why You Should Wear Sunscreen Every day

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Sunscreen needs to be worn every day 365 days a year!  Wearing sunscreen in your daily am skincare routine is imperative no matter your age or race.  Not only do sunscreens help protect you from skin cancer, they also help slow down the aging process. 
sun giving off UV rays

UV RAYS CONTRIBUTE TO AGING​

80% of premature aging is due to sun exposure.  UVA rays are known as aging rays.   They penetrate deep into the skin destroying collagen, elastin, cause photoaging, pigment dysfunction, damage to DNA, and fine lines and wrinkles.  UVB rays affect more of the top layers of skin resulting in sunburns, also contributing to skin damage.

We now know that visible light, the light we can see from the sun, can also contribute to accelerating hyperpigmentation in darker skin types.

If you’re a darker skin type dealing with a post acne spot or melasma etc. and are not properly protecting your skin from the sun, these areas will get darker rather than fading.  For people who struggle with rosacea or acne, unprotected exposure to the sun can also aggravate the problem.

UVA rays along with visible light penetrate through windows, so I would advise you use a sunscreen even when indoors.  It might sound a little strange, but over time, little by little, that exposure will contribute to aging and speed up persistent hyperpigmentation for those with darker skin.

PROPER USE OF SUNSCREEN IS KEY​

Most people do not apply sunscreen 365 days a year, and they usually don’t apply sufficient amounts.  I recommend you use a higher SPF.  30 or 50 is ideal.

Sunscreen only works as well as you apply it.  If you don’t apply enough, you aren’t getting the full SPF on the label, and you run a greater risk of missing spots.  You want to make sure you are spreading it around gently and evenly so you can reap the benefits.  Use at least a teaspoon for your face, neck, ears and chest.  Whatever areas will be exposed need to be covered. Make sure you are going under your eyes and on your lids, not forgetting your ears or neck.

It is important to re-apply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, and immediately after sweating or swimming.

In the US, SPF is measured for UVB rays and does not measure UVA rays.  So, we really don’t know exactly how much protection we are getting from UVA.  Still, most common physical and chemical filters do a good job in protecting against UVA.  European and Japanese sunscreen brands are regulated for UVA protection, giving you a greater sense of confidence.

If you are a darker skin type, finding a SPF with iron oxides in it will help combat that visible light that drives hyperpigmentation.  Iron oxides are only found in tinted SPFs.

Sunscreen will not totally protect you from the sun, so it is important you protect yourself further with sun protective clothing and large brim hats.

CHEMICAL VS. PHYSICAL SUNSCREENS​

Chemical/Organic Sunscreens​

These sunscreens use UV filters to protect from UV rays. Once applied, the sunscreen needs about 15-20 to absorb into the skin. When UV radiation hits the skin, the filters break them down and release them as heat. Physical or inorganic sunscreens, on the other hand, sit on top of the skin and reflect light. These are effective in protecting from UVA and UVB radiation. A few common chemical filters are Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octinoxate and Oxybenzone.

Physical/Mineral Sunscreens​

These sunscreens include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Both these active ingredients are physical UV blockers that sit on top of the skin and reflect light. They’re active right away. These are effective in protecting both UVA and UVB wavelengths. If you suffer from sensitive skin, dermatitis, eczema or rosacea physical sunscreens will work better for you because they won’t sting.

WHAT SUNSCREEN IS BEST FOR ME?​

The type of sunscreen you use depends on mainly on how your skin reacts, and what you like the feel of on your face/body. Another consideration is how quickly you need the protection.  Physical sunscreen work immediately, while chemical sunscreens require 20 minutes to take effect.  One potential drawback to physical sunscreen is a white cast that is less aesthetically appealing.  Some formulations, including combination physical and chemical sunscreens, have minimal white cast.

Most importantly, you want a sunscreen that says Broad Spectrum, meaning it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.  If you have eczema, rosacea, or sensitive skin, you are likely better off with a physical sunscreen.  Those chemical filters might cause burning or stinging, particularly around the eyes. Darker skin types should usually go with chemical sunscreens to avoid the risk of a white cast.

Here’s what you should definitely avoid:  tanning oils (which have no UVA protection) and anything loaded with fragrance, which may irritate when exposed to the sun.

people wearing the best sunscreen on a beach