Sunscreen—The Secret to Healthier Skin
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
There is so much stigma about sunscreen. So many questions. To such an extent, if I were to try and give you all the information at once, you’d feel completely overwhelmed. It would be sort of like reading an old-school newspaper—you know, like the ones that stain your fingers with ink—but instead of different articles, all the information is about the same thing. That’s a lot of words on one topic, and who is trying to do academic research, okay?! Let’s keep it simple.
Here are the five most-asked questions about this treasure we call sunscreen:
Why do I need to use sunscreen every day?
Have you ever heard this quote?
“Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence.”
It’s often used to talk about persistence. When there is a drop of water persistently dripping on the same spot of a rock for a long period of time, it will eventually do damage, eroding away the stone. Well, the sun works on our skin in the same way.
You can never fully escape the sun, at least not 100%. UV rays will eventually create sun damage, aging lines, and cause skin pigmentation. No, this doesn’t happen all at once (though bad sunburns can hyper-escalate pigmentation), but it does happen over time. Slowly. Inevitably. Not to mention the potential for getting skin cancer, the ever-scary worst-case scenario.
When applied properly, sunscreen is a preventative measure you can take to ensure you and your skin stay healthier longer. Using sunscreen every day should be a must for everyone.
Why should I use a different sunscreen on our face than on my body?
Great question, actually! The first, and most common, element is the texture of sunscreen, especially if you apply it before you apply your make up. A spray or body cream sunblock leaves residue that would make the application of make up more difficult. The second reason is the skin on the face is more delicate than that on the body. Sunscreens made to be used on the face are mostly oil-free, making them gentler and help prevent clogging and breakouts later on. Thank you, technology!
Should I wear sunscreen even if I’m not outdoors?
Yes, yes, and yes! Sunscreen protects you from electronic UV-ray exposure, I KNOW! Computers and phones do that to us! Also, if you get in a car or work close to a window (especially in Texas), you will be indirectly exposed to the sun. It’s always safer to wear sunscreen daily.
Which sunscreen and SPF should I be using?
Chemical sunscreens containing ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate cause a reaction that converts UV light to heat, dispelling it from the skin. However, in 2019, some of these were found to be absorbed into the bloodstream at levels above which the FDA deems safe without further study. These products must now come with additional information on the packaging.
Mineral sunscreens containing titanium dioxide or zinc, whose particles sit on top of the skin, create a barrier that prevents UV light from penetrating. Therefore, mineral sunscreens are the best choice, and they can be applied both before and after skin-care products and make up.
How do I know when to reapply, and does SPF affect it?
The general rule is that sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, because sun protection factor (SPF) is only fully effective for that long (I’m more of a one-hour person). The SPF indicated on the bottle tells you how much protection you’re getting during the two-hour time frame. You know your skin, so if you need to reapply more frequently than every two hours, do it. Better safe than burned and sorry!
For the record, you can still get a tan while wearing sunscreen. While sunscreens are great at blocking the more extreme UV rays that can cause burning, they aren’t designed to filter out the milder rays. These penetrate into the skin. Be mindful of this, because while mild, it is still skin damage. Sadly, there is no such thing as a healthy sun tan.
Do you believe us now?
Ideally, anything you use for your body on a regular basis should be designed specifically for you, taking into consideration all your needs, your specific health considerations, and your goals. Sunscreen works in the same way—one size does not fit all. The beauty industry has known for a very long time that sunscreen is a necessity, and they have designed a variety of options for any type of skin: sensitive, oily, dry.… You name it, there is an option for you.
That brings me to this brilliant little secret I want to share with you! EltaMD is on my absolute must have list and is my by-far favorite brand of daily sunscreen. Ranging from SPF 46 to 50+, EltaMD Sunscreen protects from UV rays and is designed to feel weightless, blending easily into your skin. All of their sunscreens are formulated with zinc oxide, are noncomedogenic, and free of fragrances, parabens and sensitivities.
You know what else? Elite Medical and Skin Laser Center has you covered. Pun intended. 😉 During your next appointment, ask your provider to design your daily routine, including your sunscreen needs. You won’t regret it!
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