Selecting the best sunscreen is the most important product you can use to protect and maintain healthy, beautiful skin. Many women pay so much money for expensive skin creams to combat wrinkles and sunspots. Most of these products make such awesome promises, but how many times do they actually work? Almost never. The truth is, preventing sun damage in the first place will take you a long way.
When it comes to sunblock, you would think that buying one with a high SPF rating would coincide with the level of protection you are getting. Unfortunately, that is not enough. First off, SPF only addresses the level of UVB rays that is being blocked, not UVA rays. UVB rays are the leading source of sunburns. UVA rays, on the other hand, penetrate deeper into the skin, and cause wrinkles, age spots, or even skin cancer. Fear not. There are products on the market now that do a good job of protecting you from both UVB and UVA rays. You just have to know what to look for.
There are two types of sunscreen: physical, and chemical. A physical sunblock contains micro particles that deflect harmful rays from your skin. Chemical sunblock absorbs UV rays before they can damage your skin.
A physical sunblock will have the active ingredient titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
Brands: Blue Lizard and Ocean Potion
A chemical sunblock has avobenzone or Mexoryl.
Brands: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, Coppertone Ultra Sheer Faces, L’oreal La Roche Posay
Applying a moisturizer with an SPF 15 is suitable for everyday minimal sun exposure. I use Oil of Olay Complete All Day Moisture underneath my makeup. The active ingredients show that it screens both UVA and UVB rays. I get the one for sensitive skin.
I do not use the same sunscreen for my face as I do with for my body. The one designed for the body tends to be thicker, causing breakouts if used on the face.
If you are planning to be more active, choose a sunblock with an SPF 30. It is better to apply this often, rather than a much higher SPF lotion applied just once. Buying sunblock way above SPF 30 is not necessary, and more expensive.
Apply the best sunscreen to all areas that are exposed to the sun. People commonly miss the ears and neck. If you have a bald head, apply there, too.
If you’re adventurous and want to try a simple yet fun experiment, check out this UV protection experiment to find out just how well a range of SPF ratings protect your skin!
Additional Ways to Protect Your Skin
Even if you use the best sunscreen available, it is best to limit your exposure to direct sunlight between 11am to 3pm. That is when the sun is strongest. Make it a habit to wear a baseball cap, or a large straw hat when it is sunny. If you are going to swim, or engage in rigorous physical activity, apply sunscreen regularly because it tends to wash away and become less effective in protecting your skin. Even if you have naturally dark skin, you still need to protect yourself from the sun. It is a myth that dark skin will fully protect you from sun damage.
**As important it is to protect yourself from the sun, you still need some amount of it every day to remain healthy. The sun helps your body produce vitamin D, which helps your bones absorb calcium. Sunblock will filter the rays you need, so before applying it, you can step outside for 5-10 minutes if you have lighter skin tones. For darker skin, you may need a few more minutes. Then get out of the sun and apply the sunscreen.