Growing up in Miami I always thought I needed to be tan all the time. If I went to the beach I made sure I laid down for 20 minutes on each side, like a chicken roasting to golden perfection.
What I didn’t realize is how much I was damaging my skin, especially because I would only apply sunscreen once and only if I was headed to the beach. Thing is, the sun doesn’t discriminate – it will burn your skin whether at the beach, in the park, inside your house, even when it’s raining! This Skincare Saturday is all about protecting you skin. As the colder months come in, the question, “Should I wear sunscreen in the winter?” won’t be a question much longer.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll find silly and/or informative videos of me applying sunscreen every.single.day. That’s because when learning about how to take care of my skin, I learned sunscreen is probably the most important in my skincare routine. I know, I know, it’s probably one of the most boring subjects in the world, but stay with me! Below are some common myths and facts, what kind of sunscreen you should use for different occasions and my favorite sunscreens for us sensitive/oily/acne-prone skin gals.
Sun Protection: Myths and Facts
- A base tan protects you – Excuse me while I give major side eye. Same goes for “A little sun is actually good for you.” It’s not. Tans are the direct results from UV damage; think of it as a battle wound with the sun. If you choose to get some sun (as I sometimes do, let’s be honest. I sometimes like to defrost by stepping outside and walking in the sun) do it knowing you are hurting your skin, not protecting it. You should apply sunscreen every morning and every couple of hours after that, especially if you’ll be outside.
- I have dark skin, I can’t get cancer – My sisters and brothers nooooo! You can absolutely get cancer and damage your skin. I will say it again: the sun does not discriminate. You may have a lower risk of getting cancer, this is true, but you are not immune. What’s worst, according to Jessica Wu, MD, Los Angeles dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at USC School of Medicine, “…skin cancer is frequently diagnosed later in people of color—perhaps because of the misconception that they are not at risk—so it’s often progressed to a later stage and is more difficult to treat,” says Wu. I mean, did you know Bob Marley died of melanoma on his toe that was misdiagnosed as a soccer injury?
- Anything above SPF 15 is a scam – Wrong, again. Because most people don’t apply enough sunscreen, you’re actually getting a lower amount of protection than you would think. According to dermatologists, SPF 30 is the best daily protection, while SPF 50 is great if you’re spending the day outdoors.
- It’s cold out, I don’t need sunscreen – Yes. You. Do. Here’s why – an article from the Huffington Post quoted Alex A. Khadavi, the founder of Advanced Skin & Hair. He said, “Reflection of radiation from snow requires aggressive sunscreen protection, maybe even more than summertime as individuals participate in snow activities like skiing and snowboarding. Almost 80 percent of UV radiation is reflected from snow while only 25 percent from sand.” 80 percent! If that isn’t enough evidence, I don’t know what is.
So what can you do to protect yourself and how can I help?
Simply put UVA is for aging and UVB is for burning. UVA rays penetrate deep into your skin attacking collagen in your dermis and can cause skin cancer. You should hate UVA rays. UVB rays penetrate the skin at a lighter level, but don’t be fooled! Aside from causing major burns (and I’ve seen boils, too) UVB rays are the main cause of skin cancer. Hate UVB rays, too. Look for sunscreens that offer “Broad Spectrum Protection” as they test for both UVA and UVB rays.
UV rays act like little laser beams penetrating your skin damaging collagen fibers (what gives your skin structure #TeamNoWrinkles) and elastin (a protein that creates spring in the tissue beneath the skin #TeamNoSaggySkin). When these things are disrupted they cause serious damage (and wrinkles)! They can also do major damage on a cellular level as UV can produce free radicals which are toxic as your ex. Unstable free radicals can cause wrinkles, sunspots and skin cancers. Antioxidants help fight free radicals (so drink Green Tea, too).
Wear sunscreen! There are two types of sunscreens: Chemical and Physical.
Chemical sunscreens are light in formulas and go on like moisturizers. There’s much controversy on chemical sunscreens; environmentalist say it can cause allergic reactions and hormone disruptions while the FDA reports no such findings from studies. Physical [mineral] sunscreens sits on the skin forming a barrier between you and the sun: think white noses on lifeguards. They’re light on the skin and new technological advances have made them lightweight, blendable and non-greasy.
Another thing is choosing the right SPF. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and it only deals with the UVB part of the ultraviolet energy coming from the sun. SPF is tested on a panel of 10-15 people (depending on the country) and it compares how much longer it takes for UVB to cause redness on the skin. So an SPF of 30 means that, if it took 10 minutes for redness to appear in unprotected skin, it’ll take around 30 times that for the same symptoms to appear on the skin if they’re wearing the SPF 30 properly. Also, don’t think combining two SPF products will make it more powerful. Your total sun protection will be equivalent to the highest SPF applied.
Simply put, sweat – you sweat in the winter (don’t lie). With all those layers sweat is going to happen and sweat is sunscreens arch nemesis. You will sweat off your morning application.
Say hello to my little friend…the cushion compact! Trust me when I say I will devote a whole post to the cushion compact, but briefly put they’re compact sunscreen that is the perfect over makeup applicator. Some cushion compacts are sunscreen only but a lot of them come in various tints which can be used as cover up. So HA!
My 3 Favorite Sunscreens:
If you stayed until the very end thank you and I commend you. I know it’s a lot, but it’s more beneficial for you than it is for me (I already use sunscreen). If you have any questions leave a comment below. If you have serious concerns, the best thing to do is consult a physician. Let me know if this helps, I’ll be doing a follow-up post on the best sunscreens for specific skin types soon. Until next time!