We’ve heard it all before – “Wear sunscreen every day!”, “Make sure to put on your sunblock!”, “Daily SPF is a must!” Realistically, however, unless we’re at the beach or on a tropical island getaway we don’t really need to slather on a broad spectrum 30 as a part of our morning routine, right? Wrong! Sunscreen is the single most important step in any skincare regimen. “But I work from home!”, “I’m inside all day!” Read on to learn exactly why your skin’s best friend is the indispensable, misunderstood and often misused sunscreen.
There is an old aesthetician’s joke; “ Q :How do you know that you are being exposed to damaging rays? A: The moon is not out.” Basically, we are all absorbing passive sun unless we are asleep in our beds at night. From sunlight streaming through our living room windows to driving to the grocery store we are constantly bombarded by UVA and UVB rays. Inside all day? Spending time on a computer, tablet, phone or any “screen time” at all exposes us to HEV radiation, or “blue light”. While HEV radiation does not give us a tan, it does reach deeper than both UVA and UVB rays, causing; cell death, inflammation, dryness, hyperpigmentation and premature wrinkles, all while damaging our skins collagen and elastin. The scary part is that HEV damage does not take long to accumulate – sixty minutes is all it takes to impair barrier function and cause noticeable damage.
The bright side ( pardon the pun ) is that a physical block is your skin’s best friend. In the race between chemical vs physical sunscreen, a physical mineral block is our clear winner. Chemical sunscreens work like a sponge, essentially absorbing UV radiation before it can permeate your skin’s barrier and then converts that UVA/UVB light into heat and then releases them from the body. A physical block is a literal shield that reflects not only UVA/UVB light but also HEV radiation, causing it to ‘bounce” off, or reflect off of your skin. A physical shield also helps keep your skin cool and minimizes skin inflammation and sensitivity, ideal for skin that is prone to redness, hyperpigmentation, acne or rosacea.
It stands to reason that the higher the SPF the better protection, however a physical spf 30 blocks out 97% of the UVA/UVB/HEV radiation and spf 50 only 1% more, topping out at 98%. Any spf higher than that is minimally more effective and can be considered a marketing ploy. Think of SPF as the umbrella shielding you throughout your day and apply as the very last step of your skincare routine and before makeup.
Stay tuned for more SPF facts, myths, tips and “who would have thought!’s” during our SPF July!
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