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Everything You Need To Know About Sunscreen

Last Updated on November 30, 2021
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written by nail expert Jess Rowley

Everything you need to know about sunscreen

When it comes to applying sunscreen, there is a lot of gray area.

Do you need to wear sunscreen indoors? Can I wear sunscreen in the water? Can my baby wear sunscreen? How often do you need to apply sunscreen?

Luckily for you, I have compiled over 5 hours of research, gathering the most accurate information to answer all your questions about sunscreen.

You’re going to want to check this out.

From picking out your next sunscreen to choosing the right SPF rating and ingredients, you’ll be in the know when it comes to protecting your skin.

I’ll take you through the best application techniques and the little tips and tricks that can make your life easier when it comes to applying sunscreen, you’ll never leave the house without sunscreen again!

Word of advice- If you have a darker skin tone and don’t want a white cast, go for a tinted sunscreen to neutralize the color. It will keep you protected and looking like a natural beauty!

Why wear Sunscreen

Everyone knows you should wear sunscreen and how it protects you from the sun. But what does it do really? Here are some benefits to applying this wonderful product:

Protect against sunburn-Harmful UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburn. When you burn even just once, your skin absorbs ultraviolet light and this significantly increases your risk of skin cancer, by damaging the genetic material in skin cells. Not only painful but potentially life-threatening.

Prevent wrinkles and premature aging- The other types of rays, UVA rays, are responsible for fine lines and wrinkles, even before your time. This is because it kills off the collagen and reduces skin elasticity. Prevention is key to youthful skin that ages gracefully.

Avoid redness and inflammation- Spending too much time in the sun can make your body react by sending blood to the exposed area to try to repair damage caused by the sun. If you have sensitive skin, this is definitely not good. Sunburn, inflammation and red skin, not a good look.

Reduce your risk of Skin Cancer- Even everyday sun exposure can cause skin pre cancer and skin cancer. Wearing sunscreen is a protection, as well as wearing dark clothing and staying in the shade when you can.

Less blotchy skin and hyperpigmentation-Those dark spots and acne scarring? It’s hyperpigmentation. The sun’s rays especially uva rays and sun exposure can make it more likely for freckles, dark spots, age spots, and blotchy, uneven skin tone to appear. The secret to clear skin? Wear your a high spf sunscreen daily.

Prevent DNA damage- You might not see this, but sun exposure can cause deeper damage to your cells such as DNA damage, carcinogensis, and photoaging. These can trigger a plethora of skin issues, from premature aging to tumors. Don’t skip out on your sunscreen!


How to choose a sunscreen

With so many products on the market, which ones offer the best protection? Here are some key things to look out for when it comes to buying a sunscreen.

Broad Spectrum Protection- Since there are two types of harmful sun rays, UVA and UVB, you want a sunscreen that protects from both. Broad spectrum sunscreen means it will cover you from both the sun’s uvb rays spf and uva rays for maximum protection.

SPF ratings- Although you can find a variety of sun protection factor (SPF) ranging from as little as 5 to over 50, the amount recommended by board certified dermatologists is having a minimum of spf 15 or spf 30 for adequate protection against uv raditation. Any sunscreens under that simply is not going to offer the necessary protection against uv radiation. Go for a high sun protection factor such as spf 50 for the best protection against uva rays and uv rays.

Mineral sunscreen or chemical sunscreen– The ingredients in sunscreen differ. Many people prefer mineral based as they contain active ingredients and protect the skin naturally using titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They are not harmful for the skin, but will leave a white cast due to being a physical sunscreen that has active ingredients in. If you have sensitive skin, using a zinc oxide based sunscreen ingredients with titanium dioxide will be less irritating.

Chemical sunscreens are also effective but may use harmful ingredients such as oxybenzone avobenzone and silicones to shield form UV rays. These can also lead to skin damage but will protect against sun damage and uv radiation.

How to apply sunscreen

There is a few things you need to keep in mind to make sure you are making the most out of your spf sunscreen.

Apply a pea sized amount

Once you’ve cleansed and dried your face, take a pea sized amount of moisturizer sun lotion onto your hands. When it comes to applying, more is more. If you know you are going to be out all day, be generous. In general, its best that sunscreen be the last steo in your skin care, on top of moisturizers but before makeup. Some people compare the amount to a shot glass, so you can include your neck and chest too.

Apply to the high points

The areas the sun will hit the most is your forehead, nose and cheeks. Concentrate the majority of your suncream on there to make sure there is a thick layer of protection.

Work it into the face

Next you want to contribute to spread the sun lotion to the rest of your face. Add more form the bottle if necessary, and massage it in. The areas some people forget are the ears, lips and hands or feet. Apply it onto your neck and chest too.

Make sure you reapply

Reapply every two hours, you will need to reapply some as it can get absorbed or wiped off by sweat. If Put on sunscreen every time you have been swimming or sweating, as soon as you get out even if you have a water resistant sunscreen. A shot glass amount or one ounce is enough to keep you covered every day.

Why do you need to reapply sunscreen? Sunscreens aren’t really waterproof so don’t be fooled by the label. Whether chemical or physical, you need to protect using an spf moisturizer every two hours, bring multiple sunscreens in case you forget. If you are wearing makeup, invest in a UV filtered spf 30 loose powder than so you can touch up easily. Remember to use protective clothing as an extra help.

Do you need to wash off sunscreen?

Yes, you do. At the end of the day remove it with a cleanser and thoroughly wash and rinse. This is to prevent it form clogging your pores and even causing you to breakout.


When to apply sunscreen

Believe it or not, the sun’s uv rays can cause damage to your skin every single day, regardless if its sunny outside or not. To avoid all risk, incorporate a broad spectrum sunscreen spf 30 into your daily moisturizer and put it on every day for sun protection. Its a good idea to have an extra one in your bag so you can reapply later.

Here are some situations when you still need to apply sunscreen:

Do you need to wear sunscreen indoors?

The suns harmful uva and uvb rays can go through windows, so when you are sitting at home near a window, or driving to work, the sun is doing some damage. Thats why its best to apply sunscreen even if you may not be leaving your house, as this has you covered in any situation.

Do you need sunscreen in the winter?

The ozone layer apart from being damaged, also thins out in the winter months. Since this is the part that absorbs radiation from the sun, you will need to provide extra protection than usual. Of course, you may be wearing thick clothing, but your face will still need to be protected.

Do you need sunscreen on cloudy days?

Even on a cloudy day, most of the suns radiation still reaches earth, you just cant see it. That means- you guessed it, wear your sunscreen spf 30 anyway.

Do you need to wear sunscreen under clothes?

This is a tricky one. The general rule is, the lighter the fabric, the more chance it has of allowing sunlight through to the skin. For better protection choose synthetic fabrics like polyester, and dark, dense fabrics such as wool or denim that are tightly woven can be better too. Anything linen or cotton may need a layer of sun protection under your clothes.

Wear physical protective clothing and a wide brimmed hat whenever you can and use sunscreen spf 30 or higher for stronger protection. For my face, I like to use spf 50 to make sure there is no sun damage from uvb and uva rays..

Do you need to wear sunscreen at night?

If you’re asking me do you need to wear sunscreen after 4pm or do you need to wear sunscreen after 5pm, then that’s not night. The answer to that is yes you will still need to wear sunscreen for as long as the sun is up. At nightime, you don’t need sunscreen, but remember to take it off before going to bed so it doesn’t clog your pores.

At high altitudes you are closer to the sun and more at risk of the suns rays being stronger, so be extra careful and apply a higher protection than you normally would. Also, when it snows, the suns rays can reflect back at you and also be very strong, so double uop on the sunscreen then too. When goiung swimming, wear a water resistant broad spectrum spf 30 or a broad spectrum sunscreen spf 50 if you can


Final thoughts

Applying sunscreen everyday may seem like a chore, especially if you don’t notice any immediate difference aside from the sticky white cast. Even if you are not likely to burn in the sun, it can be doing so much damage beneath the skin’s surface.

In a few years time, your skin will be glowing and youthful.

Sure, sunscreen isn’t the only thing that protects you from the sun. Wearing dark, dense clothing and staying out of the peak times from 10am to 4pm can help you a lot. Even when its a dull day, wearing broad spectrum spf 50 on your face and protective clothing can save you so much damage.

Invest in a quality chemical or physical sunscreen moisturizer to use daily. Now that you know about sunscreen, you have everything you need to know to be able to protect your skin.

I won’t leave my house without it, will you?

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