- Paola Payne, Medical Aesthetician
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SUNSCREENS #latherup
Sunscreen is consistently named by skin experts as the most important precaution you can take for skin health. While it helps protect and prevent skin cancer, it is also a way to protect the skin from aging forms of UV radiation. As much as you *think* you might want that GLOW, remember that even a tan is technically a burn. So, while National Sunscreen Day may be May 27, for skin experts, every day is National Sunscreen Day, even on cloudy and overcast days.
It is important to wear sunscreen every day and it should also be reapplied every two hours and after swimming or sweating. I am passionate about protecting skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, including skin cancer, but also cosmetic concerns like premature aging and hyperpigmentation, I also recommend bringing protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses for UPF.
Mineral vs. Chemical SPF
The two main types of sunblock are mineral (AKA physical) and chemical formulas, while hybrid formulations include both types. The bottom line is that most dermatologists prioritize finding a sunscreen you will wear consistently. That being said, there are some important distinctions between the two types.
First, mineral blockers (i.e. zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) work immediately—meaning that you can apply them and head straight outside—whereas chemical blockers (i.e. homosalate, avobenzone, octocrylene, etc.) require a 15-minute window to take effect. Mineral formulas are also praised for being photostable, which means that they remain effective when exposed to sunlight. The main concerns with mineral sunscreens comes down to their texture and cast. Some formulas leave behind an ashy sheen, which is especially noticeable on deeper skin tones, with a thicker consistency to the product. Chemical and hybrid formulas, on the other hand, absorb more like your typical moisturizer.
“I recommend physical sunscreens (i.e. zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) because they block a wide range of UV wavelengths “There are also fewer concerns about their potential adverse effects both to the body and the environment.
APPLYING YOUR SUNSCREEN
Here are three top tips for applying sunscreen.
First, get your sun care advice from reputable skin experts rather than, say, TikTokers or influencers.
Second, certain supplements could help with sun protection, citing research on vitamin B3.
Lastly, when applying your chosen SPF, focus on the commonly forgotten areas where skin cancer can strike: the scalp, ears, lips, and face.
Another word of warning from the experts is that trendy powder formulas are best for touching up your protection throughout the day, but not for use as your first line of defense.