Summer Sun Protection 101



Memorial Day has passed which means that summer is officially here! With the warmer weather comes summer vacations, lounging by the pool, and lots of outdoor activities. Which means you need all the sunscreen you can get! Picking the right sunscreen and knowing how to properly use it is important in protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. The sun emits harmful rays called ultraviolet rays ( UV rays) that can cause skin cancer, premature aging, sun spots, wrinkles, freckles, and more. No matter your age you need to find a sunscreen that has broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, is an SPF 30 or higher, and is water resistant.  

Wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Each ray does something different to the skin and not all sunscreens protect against both. UVB rays are the burning rays and are the primary cause of sunburn. In order to know how well your sunscreen will protect you from UVB rays, check to SPF rating. SPF 30 or higher is recommended by dermatologists. UVA rays are known as the aging rays. They cause premature aging, wrinkles, age spots, and they can pass through glass. There is no SPF rating to tell you how well your sunscreen will protect you from these rays. Instead check out the ingredients found in your sunscreen. You will want to get a sunscreen that has at least one these: ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide.

The type of sunscreen you choose is up to you. There are many different options that are suitable for certain areas of the body. Cream sunscreen is great for dry skin and the face, gels are perfect for hairy areas like the scalp, stick sunscreen is good for around the eyes, and sprays are easy to apply. Some cosmetics do have sunscreen in them and are super convenient, however, in order for them to be effective as sun protection they have to be applied every two hours. If you want something quick and easy to re apply on the face opt for a setting powder with an SPF or a makeup setting spray. Supergoop has a really awesome line of cosmetic sunscreen, you can find their products at Sephora.

You want to use sunscreen everyday, all year around. Even on cloudy days 80% of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the skin. Snow, Sand, and water all reflect the sun’s rays and increase the need for sunscreen . Make sure you are applying sunscreen to all exposed skin like, tops of the hands, feet, ears, and your neck. Most adults do not apply the proper amount of sunscreen to their body, 1 oz ( about a shot glass full) is the proper guideline to follow when applying sunscreen . Apply your sunscreen at least 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours. Also, don’t forget about your lips they get sun burned also. Purchase and wear a lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher.

The last thing you want to watch out for when purchasing sunscreen is if tis chemical or physical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens works as a sponge, absorbing into the skin and also absorbing the sun’s rays. This specific type of sunscreen can be very irritating for sensitive skin because of the ingredients found in them. They also can increase redness and are acne casing since the skin absorbs the sunscreen. Check oyu ingredient list in order to know if your sunscreen is chemical. Common ingredients found are: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. Physical sunscreen works as a shield, because it sits on the surface of the skin, it deflects the sun’s rays. This sunscreen is great for facial sunscreens because, they don’t clog your pores. Since they aren’t pore clogging they don’t cause acne and are great for sensitive skin. Ingredients that you want to look for are active zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

All UV radiation from the sun is harmful no matter your age, gender, or race. Make sure you are using the best sunscreen for you and your skin type. There are so many to choose from!