Sunscreen Refresher: Best Practices
We all love the sun, and long to spend time outside on sunny days, but protecting your skin from the sun's damaging UV light, is one of the most important basics to good skincare. Everyone - no matter your skin type, age or gender - should regularly wear sunscreen. The sun is always producing some level of UV light, so wearing sunscreen in rain or shine, winter or summer is important. Sunscreen can help to protect your skin from skin cancer and premature aging (remember, skin continues to age as we go through the years, so when we say "premature" we mean anyone, at any age, that doesn't want their skin to look older).
Let's look at what we are really protecting ourselves from when we say ultraviolet or (UV) light. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are two types of UV light and both can harm your skin. UVA is long wavelength light that penetrates deep into the layers of skin, and is the type of light that can lead to aging of your skin, causing wrinkles, creases and those pesky dark spots. UVB is a shorter wavelength light that penetrates the surface of the skin and causes sunburn (which can cause skin to be dry, and flake or peel). So, you need just as much protection from both UVA and UVB light.
You should use sunscreen on all areas of your facial and body skin that is uncovered and exposed to the sun. From a beauty and aging perspective, it is important to remember your lips, décolletage and hands can age similarly to your face; and lips can also be prone to develop cancer. So don't forget these areas on a daily basis. If you are headed to the office, cosmetic skincare moisturizer with SPF can be extended to the décolletage and hands, and you can use a lip balm with SPF on your lips. Regular sunscreen for body can also be used on your hands. If you are headed for a day at the beach, or to be outside for extended periods of time, you will need to ramp-up the sunscreen on your face. Look for one that has an SPF of 30 or more, and is rated for outdoor activities, but is formulated for the face to avoid extra greasy texture or one that will leave a visible layer on the skin.
Here are some refresher guidelines for sunscreen use:
What To Look for In a Sunscreen Product:
- Broad-spectrum protection (this means it protects against UVA and UVB rays)
- Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher (this will block 97% of the sun's rays)
- Water resistance
How Much Sunscreen to Apply:
- Use enough sunscreen to generously coat all skin that will be not be covered by clothing. Most people do not apply enough.
- Follow the guideline of two tablespoons or enough to fill a shot glass, which most dermatologists consider the amount needed to cover normal exposed areas such as face, neck and back of hands. Adjust based upon the amount of skin you need to cover.
- Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes BEFORE going outdoors.
- Reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours, or after swimming or sweating, according to the directions on the product.
For more information on sunscreen best practices, visit: