We all know that the sun can do some serious damage to our skin. Despite our daily regimens packed with moisturizers, scrubs and masks, it can all be reversed by unprotected sun exposure, regardless of the season or the weather forecast. So, while you may be thinking that Labor Day ends the need for sunblocks and floppy hats, we have some news for you.
Sun protection is an essential step in your daily skin care routine all year round! Not only does it help protect the skin from free radical damage and older looking skin, it also significantly reduces the risk of skin cancer.
But, there’s more to sunscreen than meets the eye! In this post, we’ll talk about the meaning of SPF, mineral vs. chemical sunscreen, ingredients to watch out for, and application tips to make sure your sunscreen is doing the job!
For most of us, sunscreen is a trusty companion that we can rely on for sunburn free summers and ski days without goggle tans. Yet despite our familiarity with the product, we still may not know how in the world it works. One word… (or acronym): SPF.
SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor,” which is the measure of sunscreen’s ability to protect your skin from UVB rays. Most people assume that the higher the SPF, the better. While higher SPF does ensure longer sun exposure without damage, it doesn’t mean that you’re invincible or completely protected.
In fact, SPF only protects against UVB rays; the ones that cause reddening from sunburns, but not UVA rays which cause long-term damage and wrinkles. All in all, an SPF of 30+ is going to be your best bet. But, it’s most important to re-apply and stay covered!
Our resident dermatologist Dr. Nava Greenfield tells us, “Sunscreens are not meant to be effective all day long. They need to be reapplied every two hours and after sweating, swimming or contact with water, which can wash them off.”
Mineral vs. Chemical Sunscreen
There are two main categories of sunscreen that are FDA approved in the US: chemical and mineral.
While you may not understand the ingredient list on either bottle, mineral-based sunscreens:
- Are best for your skin
- Have natural ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide
- Act as blockers from the sun
- Are less irritating, safe for sensitive skin and just as effective!
Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand:
- Contain main ingredients like octinoxate and avobenzone
- Get absorbed into your skin and absorb the UV rays from the sun.
- Scatter the rays, which prevents absorption into your skin.
- Cause irritation and allergic reactions to the skin
Chemical sunscreens can harm the environment around us by washing into our lakes, ponds and oceans and affecting the natural environments there. That’s why it’s important to choose a sunscreen like our eco-friendly Gentle Mineral Sunscreen, which Refinery29 has rated one of the most coral reef-safe sunscreens on the market.
Regardless of the weather or even your activities, make sure you apply sunscreen daily! Dr. Nava Greenfield suggests finding a sunscreen that feels good on your skin and that you enjoy putting on.
She recommends our Gentle Mineral Sunscreen, saying, “it’s as nourishing as it is light and gentle on skin. It helps soothe and protect skin with ingredients like zinc oxide, organic aloe, shea butter and cocoa butter, plus extracts of strawberry, kiwi and apple. Keep it in your bathroom next to your morning skin care products so that you don’t forget to apply it daily. Make it a habit so that you never apply makeup without first protecting your face from the sun.”
As we say goodbye to summer and transition into the chillier seasons, it’s easy to let our sunscreen game slip. But just like cleansers, moisturizers, and special serums, sunscreen is an essential part of a skincare routine. So this year, make sure to wear your sunscreen daily, reapply every few hours, and choose mineral formulas.