As the days continue to warm and we find ourselves spending more time outdoors enjoying the sun, it’s important that we make sure we are applying high-quality sunscreen in a manner that offers all-day protection from harmful UV radiation. In this blog we will discuss a few tips for ensuring that your sunscreen is working properly.
Is Your Sunscreen High-Quality?
When evaluating your current sunscreen of choiceor choosing a new one that suits your specific skin’s needs, the first step is to ask yourself if your sunscreen is high-quality.
When most people think of high-quality sunscreen, they immediately think of the SPF rating. While this is an important factor for the effectiveness of sunscreens, there are a few other things we can look out for that will help us choose the best and most protective option for our skin.
As a general rule, it is recommended that sunscreens should have an SPF rating of 30 or higher. Many over-the-counter sunscreens will boast SPF ratings of 50, 75, or even 100 to catch the attention of potential purchasers. However, choosing a sunscreen based purely on its SPF rating can lead you away from your ultimate sun-safety goals.
In addition to SPF, we need to make sure our sunscreen follows a few simple criteria to be truly effective. The first is to find sunscreens that are listed as “broad-spectrum.” This term means that the sunscreen protects users against not only UVB radiation—which is responsible for causing sunburns—but UVA as well. UVA rays penetrate much deeper into the skin and are largely responsible for causing skin cancer and contributing to signs of aging.
It’s also important for users to consider water-resistant sunscreens if they expect to go swimming or engage in activities that cause sweating. For this, it’s highly recommended to choose mineral-based sunscreens such as EltaMD’s UV Elements or clara’s UV Luxe because they tend to be more water-resistant than chemical sunscreens and have the added benefit of being reef-safe.
Are You Using Physical Sunscreen?
Aesthetics Manager at clara, Lisa Boness, shares her thoughts on physical sunscreens:
“When it comes to physical sunscreens there are many options available. The three key ingredients that make a sunscreen a physical barrier against UV and blue light are zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron oxides. I always recommend a sunscreen with at least zinc oxide (which includes all sixteen formulas we offer at shopclara.com).
From there you can narrow your choices of physical sunscreens even further. For example, some sunscreens are water-resistant for an active lifestyle, such as EltaMD UV Sport SPF 50, VanguardMD Pure Tinted SPF 44, and EltaMD UV Elements SPF 44.
Some physical sunscreens may have skincare features such as hyaluronic acid for added hydration (which include EltaMD UV Elements SPF 44and clara’s UV Luxe+ SPF 40). There are also physical sunscreens such as EltaMD UV AOX Mist SPF 40 that contain antioxidants. Iron oxides add more stability in protecting the skin over the 90 minutes prior to reapplication. They also protect skin from blue light.
The best way to select a sunscreen you like to wear is to try them! With the physical sunscreen choices available, you can find a sunscreen wardrobe that works for your skin and your sun protection needs.”
Are You Applying Your Sunscreen Correctly?
After choosing the right sunscreen, it is essential to know the best way to apply it. No matter what sunscreen option you choose, it’s important to apply prior to going outside and to reapply throughout the day. As a rule, we recommend reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours as sunscreen ingredients will either rub or wash off the skin or be absorbed into the skin and lose their efficacy.
It’s also important to make sure you are applying enough sunscreen. For facial applications, it is recommended to use a nickel-sized amount for full coverage. Make sure not to forget areas of the body that are often overlooked either, such as the eyelids and ears.
Does Your Sunscreen Compliment Your Complexion?
A big reason why many people forgo sunscreen application is because they don’t like the way it makes their skin look. It’s true that some sunscreens will leave either a greasy or oily residue (typical of inexpensive chemical-based sunscreens) or a heavy, white, opaque appearance (typical of physical sunscreens with high concentrations of titanium or zinc). However, there are plenty of sunscreens that have been specifically formulated to compliment their users’ complexions. With this in mind, consider a tinted sunscreen option such as clara’s UV Luxe+ for light to medium skin tones. Additionally, clara offers a sunscreen designed to blend with darker skin tones. Both of these sunscreens contain iron oxides to provide a mattifying finish that compliments the natural look of the user’s complexion.
Is Your Sunscreen Expired?
Lastly, make sure your sunscreen isn’t expired. It’s not uncommon for many of us to have an old bottle of sunscreen lying around in one of our cupboards. However, sunscreen ingredients do have a shelflife and begin to lose their effectiveness over time. When in doubt, take the time to purchase a new sunscreen to make sure your skin is protected from harmful UV radiation.
See How Your Sunscreen is Performing with a Visia Skincare Consultation
A Visia® Skincare Consultation employs the use of state-of-the-art technology to create a detailed visual analysis of a patient’s complexion to identify conditions such as wrinkles, texture, UV spots, brown spots, red areas, and bacterial excretions that can build up in pores. This thorough assessment is captured in a series of images that show colorized maps to help skincare professionals develop customized treatments for their patients to target trouble areas.
To schedule your first Visia® Skincare Consultation, contact Vanguard Aesthetics today at (719) 579-5555. These consultations are available at our Vanguard Skin Specialists office located at 9348 Grand Cordera Pkwy, Ste 120, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80924.
Discuss Sunscreen with a Vanguard Dermatologist
If it has been a year or longer since your last skin cancer screening, or if you have any new or changing lesions or moles that concern you, contact Vanguard Skin Specialists today at (719)355-1585 or by filling out our online appointment request form. Your dermatologist will be happy to talk about your sunscreen use and which sunscreen is right for you during your visit.