I’ll be the first to admit that I love summertime and the sun. I know I shouldn’t be admitting that since I’m in the cosmetic business, but I do!
I love being outside at the pool, lake, beach, or even the ballpark and love the feeling of the sun heating up my skin. But I hate the skin cancer, wrinkles, sunspots and other damage it can cause if we don’t use sun protectant. There are so many different sunscreens to choose from that it can be confusing to figure out which type is best, what SPF even means, and how often you really need to be reapplying.
Choose Broad Spectrum
The most important thing you need to consider when purchasing a sunscreen is choosing one that contains zinc oxide or titanium oxide. A sunscreen containing these ingredients provides “broad-spectrum” protection, meaning it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. All sunscreens protect against UVB rays, but not all sunscreens protect against UVA rays.
UVA rays, which account for 95 percent of our sun exposure, penetrate deeper into our skin and lead to skin cancer, wrinkling, loss of elasticity and hyperpigmentation.
UVB rays affect the outer layers of our skin, causing sunburns and tanning.
SPF – Sun Protection Factor
The SPF level is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays. I always recommend choosing an SPF of 30 or higher, which blocks 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. Higher number SPFs block slightly more of the sun’s UVB rays, but no SPF blocks 100 percent of the UVB rays.
Both high number SPFs and low-number SPFs last the same amount of time. You may be using a higher SPF, but you still need to apply it often. All sunscreens should be applied every two hours, and they should be applied more frequently if you are swimming or sweating a lot.
Not only do we need to be protecting ourselves during the summer, but it is important to protect ourselves all year long. I wish I had listened to my mom all those years when she told me to “wear my sunscreen or I would end up with wrinkles and sunspots.” Moms really are right about everything, aren’t they? Don’t make my mistake. Listen to your mom. Put on the sunscreen!