Everyone - regardless of skin tone, skin type or concern - needs sunscreen year-round to protect against sun damage and skin cancer, and to keep skin youthful-looking. Moreover, skin tends to be more sensitive to the sun's rays when using active skincare ingredients such as tretinoin, hydroquinone, and acids. In short, sunscreen will help prevent hyperpigmentation, sun damage, loss of elasticity, lines and wrinkles and is an essential component of your docent regimen.
SPF stands for “sun protection factor”, with the number of your sunscreen equating to the amount of time you can spend in the sun without burning. For example, an SPF 30 means you can stay in the sun 30 times longer without getting burned than if you didn’t wear sunscreen.
The other key characteristic is whether the sunscreen is a mineral sunscreen or a chemical sunscreen. A mineral sunscreen is one that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which reflects UVA and UVB light. Also, there is increasing evidence that visible blue light (also called HEV for high energy visible light) can damage skin; the mineral ingredient iron oxide can protect against HEV.
- Use a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30.
- Use a mineral sunscreen. That said, a chemical sunscreen is better than no sunscreen.
- Consistency is key. Rain or shine, apply sunscreen - even if it is just running to the mailbox or taking the dog out for a quick walk - your skin is vulnerable. Make using sunscreen into a daily mandatory habit, just like brushing your teeth. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours, and even more often if you perspire or go swimming.
- Avoid peak sun hours when possible. When sun exposure can’t be avoided, wear a wide-brimmed hat, UPF sun protection clothing, large sunglasses and use an umbrella to ward of UV rays.