Everything You Need to Know About SPF
Finding the right sunscreen, preventing free radicals, skin damage, premature aging, and everything else under the sun (ha.. good one Zoe). These are all concerns that we have when it comes to our friendly, or not so friendly, neighbourhood dwarf star.
The sun is truly amazing, it helps plants grow, provides us with vitamin D, helps our eyes see a wide range of colours, and so much more. However, over the years, the layer of atmosphere that protects us from the harshness of the sun has degraded, leaving Earth susceptible to a number of different environmental stressors. We are exposed to UVA and UVB rays on the regular, which is no bueno for your skin. Even when you think you’re away from sunlight, like when it’s cloudy or you’re indoors, those rays are reaching your face. That is why applying sunscreen daily is super important, and has only become a top priority for me with regards to my skincare regime in recent years.
We all know how much I love preventative skincare. So, today I am sharing with you all my most important tips and tricks on protecting your skin, and finding the best sunscreens to do so!
TREAT YOUR BODY AND YOUR FACE DIFFERENTLY
Just like your face moisturizer is different than your body lotion, your body sunscreen should be different than the one you use on your face. If you’re like me, and you’re prone af to acne and over-production of oil, you’ll know that finding a sunscreen that doesn’t clog your pores is a challenge. And if you’re anything like me, your hands, arms, and legs get as dry as a desert (especially before your winter vacay). The sunscreen you use on your body should be strong, rich, and luxurious, enough to moisturize your parched skin. However, that is a texture that can typically be too heavy on your face. Reach for something that is lighter, odour free, and balancing for your face.
Tip: Check out your sunscreens other features and benefits. When shopping for SPF for the body, you want to look out for multi-tasking products like Hawaiian Tropic’s Antioxidant+ Sunscreen Lotion. It not only blocks your skin from UVAs/UVBs, it’s also made with green tea extract that is rich with antioxidants that help to fight free-radicals.
TRIAL AND ERROR
As annoying as trying out a bunch of different sunscreens may be, it is THE ONLY way you’ll find what works best for your skin, especially the skin on your face. I’ve tested out more face sunscreens than I can count, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that it takes a while before you can settle on a favourite. Don’t give up the fight after one or two mishaps! When you find something that is moisturizing, oil controlling, mattifying, or whatever you need your sunscreen to be, you won’t mind adding it into your daily skincare routine.
Tip: When looking for a sunscreen for your face, opt for a physical sunscreen. They’re known for creating a “white-cast”, but they reflect instead of absorb UV rays. I’ve been loving Dr. Oracle A-Thera Sunblock SPF 50. Been using it for about 2 weeks daily and not a break out in sight!
CHEMICAL VS. PHYSICAL SUNSCREENS
Some common misconceptions are as follows: All physical sunscreens are thick and will make me break out. All chemical sunscreens will make my skin sensitive and sore. All physical sunscreens create a “white-cast” and make me look pale in photos. All chemical sunscreens are not strong enough to prevent me from burning. As I said before, it takes a while for you to find the right SPF for your skin. Let’s break it down - physical sunscreens use minerals such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to create a reflective barrier on the surface of the skin, while chemical sunscreens use different chemical compounds to penetrate the skin’s surface and absorb UVAs/UVBs before they get the chance to reach your dermis.
Tip: Even though chemical sunscreens tend to be lighter weight than physical sunscreens, I don’t believe one is better or worse than another. Be sure to properly asses your skin’s needs when deciding which is best for you. The Daily Defense Shield SPF 30 from ELEMIS is a great base for makeup (something that doesn’t really sway me, but may be a big selling point for someone else).
UVA VS. UVB
They’re actually two different things, who knew? The suns rays can be broken down into two different categories: UVA rays are long wave ultraviolet A rays (UVA) and UVB rays are short wave ultraviolet B rays (UVB). UVAs penetrate into the deepest layer of your skin, and are the culprits of premature aging and wrinkle formation. So, when it comes to skincare, protection = prevention. However, UVBs are the real supervillains here, leaving behind superficial burns on the surface of your skin that can lead to increased risk of skin cancer. The best way to protect against both types of rays is to reach for a broad spectrum sunscreen!
Tip: Don’t be fooled, your skin can still be damaged by UVAs/UVBs even when it’s cloudy and raining, or from the comfort of your own home. As I said before, be sure to apply SPF daily to protect your skin at all times, not just on the beach!
Have you found a fave sunscreen yet, or are you still on the quest for the perfect SPF? Let me know your fave sun damage prevention products in the comments, because you can never get enough.