Why is sunscreen important?
Ultraviolet radiation (UV) radiation from the sun causes skin cancer as well as the dark spots, wrinkles and sagging that ages the skin. Just one blistering sunburn in childhood doubles one’s risk of developing the most deadly form of skin cancer: melanoma. Sun exposure can also cause flares of rosacea and acne. Make sun protection a priority to reduce skin cancer risk but also to help the skin function properly and look its absolute best.
What about tanning?
Think of a tan as our skin crying for help in an attempt to protect itself. A tan is the evidence that damage is occurring, increasing skin cancer risk and aging the skin.
Should you still use sunscreen even if you won’t be in the direct sun?
Yes! Prove this to yourself by watching the daily UV index which shows how much UV radiation is reaching the ground. The lower the number the safer it is to be outdoors. Regardless of the number, you should wear sunscreen daily but additional precautions should be taken as the index increases. At 3 or above, wear a hat and seek shade. At 5 and above, avoid being outdoors during midday hours.
Even if you do not plan to be out, make sunscreen part of your family’s morning routine so you are not caught out and unprotected.
What does SPF and Broad Spectrum mean?
Sunscreens can protect us from certain parts of the UV spectrum emitted by the sun. SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, refers to the protection offered from UVB rays. If you are wearing an SPF 30, it will take 30 times longer for you to burn than if you were not wearing it. Broad spectrum means the product protects from UVA rays.
What SPF should you use?
I recommend at least SPF 30 for daily use and SPF 50 for outdoor activities. Always use broad spectrum products and water resistant if sweating or swimming. Be generous when applying. If outdoors, reapply every two hours and after swimming. If you are wearing makeup and need to reapply, consider a powder sunscreen for reapplication. Powders are also great for scalps.
Are all sunscreens the same?
Absolutely not. Read on for some key differences but know the best sunscreen is the one you are willing to use. Try a few and find the best one for you!
Chemical vs Mineral.
Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide provide the protection in mineral sunscreens. All other sunscreen agents are chemical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens are generally more cosmetically acceptable because they rub in well while mineral ones may leave a white cast. The jury is still out on the controversy that surrounds chemical sunscreens regarding absorption into our bodies, effects on marine life, and possible hormonal effects. But we do know that UV exposure causes skin cancer, so you have to decide what you are comfortable with.
Tinted vs Untinted.
Tinted sunscreens provide even more broad spectrum coverage by protecting against visible light. I highly recommend tinted products for day to day facial use.
Applying and reapplying sunscreen is not fun. Wear a hat, sunglasses and sun protective clothing with sunscreen on areas that cannot be covered, like the face.
Dr. Jeffy’s Sunscreen Product Recommendations
- Babies and Kids: Blue Lizard Baby Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
- Swimming and Sports: Elta MD UV Sport
- Long-lasting All Day Use: LaRoche Posay Melt In Milk
- Sensitive Skin: Vanicream Sunscreen SPF 50
- Under Makeup: Zo Skin Health Sunscreen + Primer
- Tinted Facial: Revision TruPhysical Intellishade
- Sun Protective Clothing: Coolibar, Uvskinz and Lands End
Publisher’s Favorite Sunscreens:
- All Good
- Tidal Waves Organic
Tip for applying sunscreen: Get a makeup brush which makes it super easy to ‘brush’ the sunscreen on little ones and buff it into the skin. And then none on your hands!