By Layla Rawji
The short answer is yes. Using sunscreen is arguably the most important way that you can take care of your skin. One of the most common mistakes that many of us make is that we only pull out our bottles of sunscreen on a hot sunny beach day. What we don’t realize is that the damaging rays from the sun are present during the day whether the sun is visible or not. Our planet’s ozone layer protects us from some of the cancer-causing UV rays. However, the ozone layer is depleting and isn’t as thick as it once was, applying sunscreen is more important now than it ever was before!
In case preventing skin cancer is not a good enough reason for you to start wearing sunscreen, here are some more to help convince you to always apply sunscreen, especially to your face.
Gives you a protective layer against damaging UV rays. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are extremely dangerous and damaging and sunscreen can protect your skin from them! These rays come in two forms – UVA and UVB.
Keeps your skin youthful. UVA rays are associated with premature skin aging such as fine lines, wrinkles and age spots that make you look older than you actually are. You may not think that this is important now, but trust me you’ll thank yourself in 20 years. UVA rays also have the ability to penetrate through glass, which is important to keep in mind since you might be exposed to it even when you are not outside.
Helps you avoid sunburns. UVB rays cause sunburns, which are painful to say the least. Using sunscreen is an easy way to avoid them.
Keeps your skin flawless. Exposure to the sun without sunscreen on your face causes facial brown spots and discoloration. By using sunscreen you will avoid those issues in addition to reducing the appearance of facial red veins and blotchiness.
While the importance of using sunscreen is somewhat obvious, it is important that you find the best sunscreen for you. If you find a sunscreen you like, you will be more likely to use it on a daily basis which will be better for you in the long term! While you’re looking for that perfect sunscreen here are some terms to look out for:
Broad spectrum: This means that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays, both of which are damaging to our skin.
Chemical Filters: Made with synthetic ingredients that penetrate your skin to absorb and filter UV rays after they enter your skin. Chemical filters can be toxic such as oxybenzone and octinoxate and can cause hormone disruptions so beware for those ingredients.
Mineral Filters (aka sunblocks): These ingredients are made with minerals that lay on the surface of your skin and act as a protective layer, preventing UV rays from entering your skin. The most common and important ingredients to look for are zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which are considered to be safer than chemical filters.
SPF: SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, it measures a sunscreen’s effect against UV rays. A higher number means more protection for a longer period of time. SPF 30 blocks up to 96% of the sun’s rays, after that a higher SPF only increases the time that it is effective for.
Before sending you back into the scary sunny world, here are some tips on doing so safely.
Always wear sunscreen or SPF. 80% of UV rays can penetrate cloud coverage, so it is important to wear sunscreen no matter the weather outside. Snow, sand and water reflect UV rays back so it is especially important to wear sunscreen on the mountains and beach. If you don’t burn, and are guilty of having made fun of your friends for having to put on sunscreen to avoid looking like lobsters, even you should be wearing sunscreen!! UV rays don’t see skin color or type!
Apply and reapply. Apply your sunscreen 15-30 minutes before being exposed to sunlight and continue to reapply at least every 2 hours or after sweating or swimming.
Cover up. Don’t roast in the sun for too long, try covering up with some light clothing to avoid getting burnt or exposed to the rays for too long.
Sit in the shade and stay out of the sun during peak hours. Sometimes you have to be that person and avoid being in direct sunlight especially if you feel your skin burning!
Wear a hat. This is another way to protect your face from the harmful, premature aging, dark spot causing rays.
Stay updated on skin care tips that could help you save your skin! If you have a topic that you’d like to hear more about drop it in the comments or email us and stay tuned for a blog about it!