How many times have you heard about the dangers of not applying sun protection when you go outside? Well, even though repeatedly hearing the same advice might be annoying, not following it might actually be more dangerous than you think.
Sunscreen has many different benefits to it, and one of those benefits is that it keeps your skin young and firm. Everyone wants their skin to be healthy and youthful, yet so many people forget to use sun protection on a regular basis. Hopefully, this article will motivate you not to be one of them. Continue reading for the ultimate sunscreen guide for anti-aging.
Choosing a sunscreen can seem easy, but it’s actually a very daunting task for some people. Why is this so? Well, for starters, there are so many different brands, all of which seem to offer different benefits. But don’t let it fool you, because sunscreen has one basic function – to protect you from UVA and UVB rays. The rest is just down to preference. Before we go into all the ways you will benefit from using sunscreen regularly, let’s see all the different types of sun protection available on the market and how they differ from each other.
You might think that the words “sunscreen” and “sunblock” are synonyms, but that’s actually not true. Why, you might wonder? There are two types of sun protection – chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s ultraviolet rays which are very dangerous for our skin, and physical sunscreens (sunblock) reflect those rays. They act as a shield for the skin, helping it keep off the rays and all the side-effects that come from the sun. Physical sunscreen sits on top of your skin and reflects both UVA and UVB rays, while chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin and then absorbs UV rays. Another difference is their ingredients. The formula of physical and chemical sunscreens isn’t the same and both kinds require different ingredients.
Don’t like choosing between the two? Don’t worry! The good news is that broad-spectrum sunscreens are also an option. They contain both physical and chemical ingredients and can be purchased in many different drugstores and pharmacies.
When it comes to different types of application, there are several sunscreen options to choose from. The one you choose will depend largely on your particular needs and what is convenient for you.
Creams – creams, just like moisturizers, are most suitable for people who suffer from dry skin. These are often aimed for facial application and thus have better ingredients inside so that they don’t irritate the skin.
Spray – this type of sunscreen is popular for application on small children. They are often impatient and fidgety when it comes to sunscreen application, so having a spray formula which is easy to blend can be a true blessing for parents. It’s important to note that not all spray sunscreens are suitable for the face area, so make sure you read the instructions carefully before you spray it on your or your child’s face. It’s very easy for spray sunscreens to be inhaled, and, needless to say, that’s not healthy for us, so pay attention to the direction which you’re spraying in.
Lotions – lotions are probably the most commonly found sunscreen type. Because these are convenient for application, they can be applied all over the body. Lotions tend to dry up pretty quickly and have a thinner formula than the other types, so they won’t look or feel greasy on the body.
Gel – gel sunscreens are also an option. If you have thick hair, these will work amazingly well for the scalp area. This area is very often neglected and tends to burn quite intensely, so pick up a gel sunscreen in order to avoid this inconvenience.
Stick – this innovative application type works well on the face area, especially under the eyes.
These are not the only differences when it comes to sunscreens. this is where it gets confusing since most people don’t have a clue as to which one they should pick. Without the help of a dermatologist or a professional, it’s easy to get trapped in the chaos that is skincare products. So what is this difference? Sunscreens have varied types of SPF, as you might have noticed if you’re using them on a regular basis. SPF is the protection factor and it ranges from as low as 8 until 60. The SPF measures of the amount of UVB protection that particular sunscreen is able to provide. It’s important to note that UVA protection doesn’t have a rating system. Continue reading for your ultimate guide on how to pick the correct SPF for your particular needs.
You’ve probably already come across sunscreens with both SPF 30 and SPF 50, and you might be wondering what the difference between the two is, or if there is any difference, to begin with. For starters, let’s see what they do. SPF 30 is the most common type of sunscreen, and it’s suitable for most skin types. SPF 30 blocks 97% of harmful UVB rays, while SPF 15 blocks only 93%. Between the two, there is a slight difference in terms of sun protection. On the other hand, SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays, so it doesn’t make a huge difference percentage-wise.
So, is this little bit of extra protection worth it? The answer is – it depends on what your skin type is and how long you’re planning on spending in front of the sun. if you have pale, sensitive skin or suffer from a sun allergy, then it’s a safer bet to go with SPF 50. If you’re planning on spending a lot of time on the sun, or have a long holiday coming up, then it’s also wise to invest in an SPF 50. No matter the number, you won’t experience many benefits unless you’re reapplying it often, so don’t forget to be consistent with your sunscreen application.
Wearing sunscreen every day comes with many benefits. People have seen incredible results from wearing sunscreen every day, ranging from improvement in terms of signs of aging to avoiding sunburns even in the hottest days. Not to mention, there are subtle changes in the skin which can’t be detected on a day-to-day basis, and regular sunscreen application can prevent any negative changes over time.
Before we get into why it’s so beneficial to apply sunscreen on a daily basis if you want to preserve your youthful skin and delay any premature signs of aging, let’s delve into the other kinds of benefits which you can get from regular sun protection.
We’ve already covered what sunscreen does – prevent the UV rays from affecting the skin. But why is it important that we do so? Well, not using sunscreen for this particular reason can come with many health risks, including skin disorders and skin cancer. Make sure you use SPF 50 for the best effect.
This benefit is a pretty obvious one, but most people don’t pay any attention to it until it’s too late. Applying sunscreen in regular intervals will ensure that your skin doesn’t experience any nasty side-effects which usually come with sunburns such as irritation, swelling, painful red patches of skin, itching, and peeling. Sunburns aren’t dangerous solely because they cause skin irritation and pain, but also because they increase the risk of skin cancer. Make sure you apply sunscreen often in order to avoid any of these.
And if that wasn’t enough motivation for you to get in the habit of applying sunscreen, here is another benefit which you too can experience. The proteins which keep our skin firm, healthy and youthful like collagen, elastin, and keratin can be preserved by regular sunscreen application. If you want healthy skin, in the long run, it’s important to keep these proteins in large amounts and protected from any harmful environmental influences. When it comes to the actual sunscreen, make sure your go-to contains the ingredient titanium oxide so that you get to experience these benefits.
Blotches and patches can be a very irritating skin condition to deal with. But don’t worry, applying sunscreen can help prevent these from appearing on your face.
It’s a well-known fact that one of the safest ways to protect your skin from the harmful sun rays is by wearing protective clothing like long sleeves, trousers, and caps. Since this isn’t a particularly productive option for the summertime (especially if you live in a hot climate), it’s wise to avoid all the hustle and stick to sunscreen. It’s much easier to apply a couple of layers of sunscreen every day than it is to wear clothing which will make you boil with heat.
Not to mention, not all clothing materials are created equally. Some materials such as cotton aren’t nearly as protective as some people may think. This means that even though you’ll be wearing a long-sleeve shirt, you won’t get any protection from harmful UV rays. Instead, opt for a spray sunscreen which will cover your entire body in a minute and flaunt your tank tops and shorts.
You might be one of those people who enjoys using many skincare products daily. Your skincare routine is always on point, you’re using the best ingredients the market has to offer and, most importantly, you’re being consistent with it. But, we have to ask ourselves: is this enough? The truth is that no matter how many products you use at home if you aren’t protecting your skin from the sun regularly, your skin won’t look as healthy as it can. Topical skincare products can only do so much, and they certainly can’t protect you from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
A question most of us have asked is whether or not sunscreen really has the ability to prevent aging. Everyone always seems to talk about how useful sunscreen is in preventing skin cancer and sunburns, but aging is rarely mentioned. Can applying sunscreen on a regular basis really delay the signs of aging? Let’s find out.
The truth is – any anti-aging skincare routine should start with sunscreen. But you don’t have to take my word for it, because there is a recent anti-aging study about sunscreen and its benefits - and the results will blow you away. According to the study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, regular sunscreen application protects people from various signs of aging such as wrinkles and spots, while keeping elastin levels intact which are crucial for healthy skin.
The study consisted of more than 900 participants who were followed for four years. Some of the participants were instructed to use sunscreen daily and in the right way, and the others weren’t given any instructions. However, they weren’t prohibited to use sunscreen, since the researchers deemed it as unethical. The results? Those who used sunscreen the right way and on a regular basis were 24% less likely to suffer from signs of aging. The researchers measured this by using skin samples before and after the four year period and measuring the amount of damage which was caused on the skin during the time.
This study is revolutionary since it’s the first one in this field. It can really inspire people to cultivate this habit daily, and hopefully prevent much larger problems than signs of aging in the long run.
Another dilemma that can come up is whether or not all sunscreen is created equal in terms of the anti-aging benefits it provides. The good news is that, as long as you’re choosing SPF 30 or above, any broad-spectrum sunscreen will ensure that you get to experience these benefits. You could also purchase a moisturizer which contains SPF inside. This might be a better option for those of you who want to avoid having a lot of steps in your skincare routine or don’t have much time to spare in the morning.
If you weren’t consistent with sunscreen before, but this article has inspired you to use it more often, you might be asking yourself whether now is too late to start. Don’t worry, it’s never too late to start. According to the study referenced above, if you start to cultivate this habit now, you might experience a reversal of existing skin damage. This is excellent news for those who haven’t been consistent with sunscreen application prior to reading this.
So, don’t waste any more time, your skin will thank you later. Start by purchasing sunscreen which is suitable for your skin type. Whether you have oily, dry or combination skin – there’s something for you out there on the market, you just have to look for it.
Now that we have (hopefully) convinced you to start using sunscreen on a regular basis, here are a few things you should consider before purchasing one in the first place. Following these guidelines can help prevent you from wasting money and using the wrong product.
Start by selecting a sunscreen which contains at least SPF 30, but feel free to go as high as 50. As we’ve mentioned before, SPF 30 protects against 97% of harmful UVB rays, so it’s more than sufficient for the average person. If you have problematic skin, pale skin tone or are more prone to getting premature signs of aging, then it’s safer to go with 50, just in case.
The next thing to pay attention to is the ingredients in the sunscreen. Glancing through the ingredients is crucial so that you’re aware of what you’re putting on your face. Firstly, make sure your sunscreen is labeled as ‘broad spectrum’. If you want to use physical sunscreen, the most common ingredients you’ll come across are minerals zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. If you’re opting for chemical sunscreen, you’ll come across names such as bemotrizinol, octisalate, homosalate, biscotizole and avobenzone. On the other hand, which ingredients should you avoid? Oxybenzone probably comes at the top of the list. Why is this so? Oxybenzone penetrates the skin and has the ability to disrupt the hormonal system.
Regardless of what kind of skin you have, there is a sunscreen out there for you. If you have dry skin, you’ll need ingredients such as oils, lanolin, glycerin, and aloe Vera. Oily skin types get the best results by using ingredients such as silica or isododecane, while those who suffer from sensitive or acne-prone skin should look for labels like ‘oil-free’, ‘non-comedogenic’ and ‘fragrance-free’. In terms of ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide can do wonders for this particular skin type. Avoid ingredients like oils and alcohol, since they can cause acne and aggravate sensitive skin even more.
The next step you should remember is the optimal way to apply sunscreen which we will discuss next. It’s no use paying attention to the sunscreen type, carefully reading the ingredient list and being consistent if you’re actually applying sunscreen the wrong way. Execution is just as important as the habit itself, so let’s find out what the best way to apply sunscreen actually is.
Once you have the right sunscreen, here are the steps you should pay attention to when applying it on your face in order to get optimal results.
Before you start, check the expiration date on your product. You’d be surprised how easy it is to continue using a sunscreen which is expired. When the sunscreen expires, it loses the effectiveness, so this is a crucial step to pay attention to.
Make sure you apply the sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. If you’re an avid makeup user, apply the sunscreen before you apply the makeup and after you’ve applied your moisturizer. Or, if you want to save some time, you can also buy a moisturizer which contains SPF inside and has a double function. A lot of skincare brands have this option, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to get your hands on one. Another option you can go for is purchasing a tinted sunscreen. Just like the name suggests, these have a tint to them, so they’re perfect if you want to cover any pimples, hyperpigmentation or redness. You should reapply the sunscreen every two hours in order to get maximum protection, especially if you’re going in and out of water or are sweating a lot.
While you’re rubbing the sunscreen in, pay attention to spots which are easy to miss, like your ears for instance. Wait for it to settle in before you continue with the next step.
And the last thing to keep in mind is that sunscreen should be applied every day, no matter what season it is, what the weather is like outside - if it’s cloudy or partly sunny or raining. When the skies are grey, most of the UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds and cause damage to your skin. In order to prevent this, drop the excuses and focus on making a habit out of applying sunscreen.
Generally speaking, it’s best to apply a teaspoon on your torso, a tablespoon between both of your arms and at least a teaspoon of the product on each leg. When it comes to the face, half a teaspoon usually does the trick. Just make sure you wash your hands before touching your face in order to avoid any bacteria transfer. The general rule of applying sunscreen is – the more you apply, the better. There aren’t any side-effects from applying too much sunscreen at once, other than perhaps looking overly greasy or having a white tint to your skin, depending on the type of sunscreen you choose.
Make sure you reapply the same amount of sunscreen every two hours unless you’ve been in water or sweating, in which case it should be reapplied immediately after. Don’t’ neglect your neck, feet, palms, and back.
Yes, sunscreen expires too, just like any other skincare product. But what is the average shelf life of your typical sunscreen? Most types of sunscreen can last from 12 to 18 months with no problem. If you want to preserve it as much as possible, don’t expose the bottle to high temperatures or direct sunlight. Wearing expired sunscreen can cause irritation and adverse reactions, so make sure you pay attention to the shelf life.
Is applying sunscreen enough when you go outside? It certainly is the most important step, but there are other key elements you should pay attention to. Although some of these are minor and are often ignored, by doing so you’re also risking skin damage, so keep that in mind.
Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:
Applying sunscreen every day is not an easy task. Chances are, you already have a lot on your mind regarding skincare, and applying an additional product is the last thing you want. But it’s not an excuse for putting your skin and health at risk.
Start small, find a way to incorporate it in your daily skincare routine and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer. Sunscreen can prevent skin cancer, harmful UV rays from penetrating into the skin and redness, itchiness and irritation, and it can also prevent premature signs of aging, which is a concern for most people. According to a recent study, not only does sunscreen prevent future signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines, but it helps with existing ones, so it also has the ability to reverse them. This is outstanding news for people who haven’t cultivated the habit of regular sunscreen application just yet.
Make sure to follow your sunscreen up with other means of protecting yourself from the sun, like wearing hats and sunglasses and avoiding peak hours.
Hopefully, this article has inspired you to start using sunscreen more regularly from now on.
Hughes MCB, Williams GM, Baker P, Green AC. Sunscreen and Prevention of Skin Aging: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2013;158:781–790. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-158-11-201306040-00002