In the time it takes to apply, your daily SPF gives you long-term protection and real-time radiance. No wonder we’re obsessed.
So many of the most common complaints people have about their skin, especially as they experience skin aging, can be traced back to chronic, unprotected sun exposure — fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots and uneven skin texture can all result from sun damage.
Applying sunscreen before you go out for the day can protect you in both the short and long term. Here’s why that’s so crucial — and four other benefits of sunscreen for your skin.
How do you choose a good sunscreen?
There are so many sunscreens making plenty of different claims — how are you supposed to choose the right one?
It helps to focus on three specific factors — its sun protection factor (SPF), the type of UV radiation it protects against, and how well it holds up when it comes into contact with water. Dermatologists recommend that you look for a sunscreen with an SPF 30 (or more), “broad-spectrum” protection against both UVA and UVB rays and water resistance.
Once you’ve chosen a sunscreen, it should only take about half a teaspoon to cover your face and neck (yes, you need to include your neck in your skin care routine). More sunscreen doesn’t mean more protection, so not using too much helps you make the most of your money.
What are the benefits of sunscreen?
When you’re armed with a quality sunscreen, you’re not just protecting yourself from an uncomfortable, unsightly sunburn; you’re also getting other benefits with far more longevity. Here are four of the biggest benefits of sunscreen and why you should absolutely make applying it a part of your daily routine (even if you don’t go outside that day).
1. Sunscreen may help prevent dark spots
When the UV rays from the sun contact the top layer of your skin, they can cause the skin to darken. For a lot of people, the sun’s ability to tan the skin is a huge plus. However, that skin darkening is actually the result of the way the sun impacts the natural pigment (melanin), and the effects continue long after you come back inside.
Wearing the right sunscreen, like Sheer Defense SPF or Clear Defense SPF, can help support your skin against the damage those rays can do to the skin’s pigment. When you commit to wearing it regularly, you’re working to minimize dark spots (also known as sun spots) — areas of concentrated sun-triggered melanin that get darker and darker as we age.
2. Sunscreen keeps your skin looking youthful
Another trick the sun can play on your skin is to cause many of the signs of premature aging. While being a little sun-kissed can be a great look when you’re younger, the sun’s impact can damage your collagen and cause fine lines and wrinkles, a loss of elasticity and uneven skin tone. Many of these concerns are related to a process known as oxidative stress, the damage done to the body by dangerous free radicals (molecules that are missing an electron).
Wearing even a basic mineral sunscreen like Beach Body SPF can keep your skin looking youthful for as long as possible, especially when combined with a quality moisturizer (which comes in a close second in the race for the most essential part of your skin care routine).
3. Sunscreen can support you against sun damage
While your appearance is important, sunscreen performs an even more important job — reducing your risk of developing skin damage in the future.
The same ability that ultraviolet radiation has to impact the skin’s pigmentation and firmness makes it effective at damaging skin cells, changing them in a way that makes them more likely to become detrimental to your health later down the line. No sunscreen can stop 100% of UV radiation, but wearing sunscreen every day significantly reduces the sun’s ability to make dangerous changes to your skin at a cellular level.
4. Sunscreen can help your skin look more even and radiant
The benefits of sunscreen don’t have to all be future promises; the right sunscreen can also help your skin look more even and radiant on a day-to-day basis.
Certain sunscreens, like 100% Mineral Tinted SPF, provide all the crucial benefits of sunscreens while also containing a tint that helps your skin look its best (even without foundation — although you can certainly wear it with makeup if you choose to). If you love how your skin looks without makeup, tinted sunscreen can help give you the appearance of radiant, healthy skin while keeping you safe and protected.
What are some tips to make the most of your sunscreen?
Using sunscreen isn’t complicated, especially if you’ve chosen a good one. However, there are ways that you can make the most out of your daily sunscreen use to keep you as safe as possible.
Wear protective clothing
In addition to applying sunscreen, it’s a good idea to wear clothing that keeps the sun from directly contacting your skin as much as possible. Wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UV light protection are great ways to keep the sun’s rays off your face, helping you to look your best.
Unfortunately, you can’t just put sunscreen on once and call it a day. We recommend reapplying your sunscreen at least every two hours and more often if you’re swimming or sweating. This helps make sure your skin stays protected during the day and accounts for any loss of product during your daily activities.
Choose the right ingredients
There are a lot of ingredients out there, and many of them have long, complicated names that you may not recognize right away on the label of your favorite skin care products. Sunscreen ingredients fall into two categories — “physical” sunscreens that sit on the skin’s surface and deflect harmful UV rays and “chemical” sunscreens that absorb them like a sponge.
Look for ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide if you prefer a physical sunscreen (or if you have sensitive skin). Choose ingredients like octinoxate or avobenzone if you’d rather use chemical sunscreen products.
Wear sunscreen even on cloudy days
Even if you can’t see the sun, its rays can still impact your skin. Make sunscreen a part of your skin care routine, even on cloudy days, because it’s that day-to-day exposure that creates issues later in life. The sun can even reach you through the windows if you’re sitting inside, so it’s always crucial even if you don’t leave the house that day.
When you wear sunscreen, you’re doing way more than just avoiding a sunburn. The impact of sun damage on the skin, especially over a lifetime, can lead to many of the most common complaints people have about their skin as they age.
The benefits of sunscreen are long-term and far-reaching, so make sure you finish your morning routine with a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. For more ways to keep your skin looking, feeling and performing its best, stick with Skin Pharm.