By now, most of us know that sunscreen is as necessary as shampoo, toothpaste, and an iPhone. Unfortunately, I have met a few people who still aren’t convinced. One day, a young lady in the gym locker room complimented me on my skin. She was, of course, my new best friend. She then proceeded to ask me what was the most important thing she could do to prevent signs of aging. Without hesitation, I replied sunscreen. After the awkward moment of silence, she said, “On your face?” So, I dedicate this blog post to her!
It is absolutely correct that sunscreen is the best way to prevent the skin from showing signs of age. However, it’s not as simple as making sure that your foundation or moisturizer contains a modest amount of sun protection. Here is my sunscreen guide and the five things you should know.
Apply Sunscreen Frequently
It is true that the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) indicates how long one can be in the sun before burning begins occurs. For example, an SPF of 20 will allow you to be in the sun 20 times longer without becoming sunburned. However, when you factor in swimming pools, oceans, and perspiration, all bets are off. Even highly water resistant products should be reapplied every 2 hours during a “fun in the sun” day.
Back in the olden days, we mistakenly thought that because SPF prevented sunburn, it also protected us from signs of aging. Remember what they say about the word “assume”? It turns out that SPF only applies to UVB rays which are those responsible sunburned skin. UVA rays are responsible for causing the skin to age. So which is more important? Neither…you need protection from both. When selecting your sun protection products, look for the words “broad spectrum” to ensure full protection.
The Amount of Sunscreen Matters
How do you know how much SPF is enough? Back in the day, experts advised applying about a shot glass worth of sunscreen to the body. Today, thanks to a series of miracles, most of us have access to sprayable sunscreen. Now, SPF’s easy application has significantly increased people’s desire and interest in wearing it. I still have nightmares about my twin toddlers burning at the beach because I missed a spot. Not only does spray on SPF allow for more even coverage, it also caters to a fidgety child. So how much is enough? Apply enough sunscreen on your body to evenly coat your skin… you’ll know.
That sunscreen you’ve been saving and using periodically for the last three years? It probably won’t work anymore. Toss it out and start over. Did you know that sunscreen has an expiration date and it assumes that your product has been sealed and kept at room temperature? Make a clean sweep through your junk drawers, beach bags, and cars. Then, get rid of any sunscreen from last summer. Get a fresh start during your next jaunt to Walgreens and reload in time for Memorial Day.
Math has changed a great deal since my last day in the classroom, but one thing hasn’t changed. You can’t add percentages. What does math have to do with sunscreen? If you use an SPF 15 moisturizer and then apply an SPF 15 foundation, you do not have an SPF of 30. What you MIGHT have is more even coverage, but you most certainly do not have an SPF higher than 15. Your best bet with coverage of your face is to select an SPF 20, or higher, sunscreen and apply thoroughly. I am very selective when it comes to the face sunscreen because I have a tendency to break out easily. I also prefer a product with Vitamin C, because they have been shown to provide a bit of additional protection. It may also improve the texture of the skin. Although it may not be the most economical choice, I feel that Jan Marini’s Antioxidant SPF is worth the $55 price tag. If I didn’t battle acne and aging, I might opt for a less expensive broad spectrum product. Because the amount does matter, I try to cover my face area with about 1/2 teaspoon every morning. Rain or shine. The same rules of frequency still apply. If I’m enjoying a fun day in the sun, I reapply my face and body SPF every two hours…and wear a big floppy hat. Now if you are interested in fighting frizzy summer hair, I would suggest you consider a keratin treatment from one of our Houston hair salon locations. Did you enjoy my sunscreen guide? Sign up for our emailing list to receive beauty news in your inbox.