At some point or another, pretty much all of us have been guilty of not wearing sunscreen, whether it’s because of forgetfulness, the season, or wanting to achieve a more intense tan faster (definitely not a safe method of doing so). However, applying sunscreen on a daily basis is a crucial step to not only shielding our skin from possible burning, but also for protecting and maintaining the health of our skin in general.
Should you wear sunscreen every day?
Absolutely! Although wearing sunscreen may be at the forefront of our minds during the peak months of the summertime, we oftentimes neglect using it in the months that follow the hot season. Likewise, if we’re not setting foot outside, many of us wouldn’t even think to put on sunscreen, because what would be the point?
There is an important point though. It doesn’t matter if it’s winter or if you plan on sitting indoors all day, harmful UV rays can still reach your skin on a cold day or easily pass through a window, causing damage.
Why wear it every day?
- It helps lower the chance of getting skin cancer. By routinely using at least a SPF 15 sunscreen, you can reduce your chances of developing melanoma and other skin-related cancers by up to 50%.
- It reduces the risk of hyperpigmentation. It’s not uncommon to develop some sort of hyperpigmentation in the form of discoloration or dark spots from sun damage. Wearing sunscreen can help prevent these things as well as help you maintain an even skin tone.
- It prevents premature skin aging. Sun damage is a key factor in premature skin aging causing a breakdown of existing collagen, which eventually can lead to wrinkles and sagging.
- It shields against sun sensitivity. As a general rule of thumb, lighter skin tends to be more susceptible to sun sensitivity. Photosensitivity can also come as a result of conditions such as rosacea or auto-immune diseases like lupus.
- It prevents skin inflammation. Skin inflammation such as redness and flushing can be directly caused by UV rays. This can be avoided through a simple application of sunscreen.
What type of sunscreen should I use?
Buying the right type of sunscreen is essential. You should always opt for a sunscreen that shields against damaging UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays produce a tan but also lead to wrinkles and aging of the skin. UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburn and can contribute to developing skin cancer. In order to get the most out of your sun protection cream, most dermatologists recommend choosing a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen. This is sure to protect against both UV rays.
Another important thing to look for when shopping for sunscreen is taking the SPF number into account. The SPF, or the sun protection factor, will specify how well the sunscreen is able to protect your skin. The higher the SPF number, the more protection you’ll receive against sunburn. Apart from just choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen, experts recommend selecting one with a minimum SPF of 30—for sensitive areas like the face, you can step it up a notch and go for something like an SPF 50 face cream.
How do I correctly use sunscreen?
Regardless of if you choose to go with a higher SPF or stick with the baseline of 30, keep in mind that sunscreens with very high SPFs (think SPF 100) can actually be misleading and should still be reapplied consistently.
Applying sunscreen is just a matter of thoroughly rubbing it into your skin. As a guideline, it is generally recommended to use about two tablespoons of sunscreen (half an hour prior to sun exposure as well as reapplying it every two hours) Although some sunscreens are categorized as water-resistant, it’s still beneficial to remember to reapply them between getting in the water or after sweating.