We all know it. We’ve all heard it. But it can sometimes be difficult advice to follow. However, the number one most important thing you can do for your skin is to wear sunscreen every day. This seems like relatively easy advice to follow. Where things get a little more complicated is in the re-application of sunscreen and type you should use.
Reapplication: Unfortunately, sunscreen only offers protection (or lasts) for 2-3 hours. Personally, I’ve gotten into a great habit of applying sunscreen every morning, but am challenged by reapplication. Most of us don’t consider that we are actually getting damage from UV rays through windows in our office, through the car window, or walking from errand to errand. To make re-application easier, we have a few suggestions:
(1) Carry a small sunscreen in your purse. When you go for a lunch time walk, or before you get in the car for your evening commute, reapply sunscreen. If you don’t want to smear make-up (who does?!), we suggest a powdered sunscreen. We carry an excellent and affordable one from GLO that costs $40. It is an all-in-one brush with the powdered sunscreen easily applied and mess-free. It also has the added benefit of dampening shine. (Just a small note, if you keep a liquid sunscreen in your car in the heat, it will become less effective over time from the repeated heating and cooling process.)
(2) Don’t forget to put sunscreen on your hands which often receive the most sun damage, or wear a pair of light gloves when walking outside or working in the garden
(3) Keep a hat and a light scarf in your purse or car for unexpected errands or walks in the sun
(4) And, remember, you can still get sun damage on a cloudy day or through car/house/or office windows.
The Best Type of Sunscreen: To maximize a sunscreen’s effectiveness, you want a product with both a physical and a chemical block. A physical block contains zinc oxide, and actually physically deflects the sun’s rays. Often times, people don’t like the physical block because for it to be effective, it needs to have a somewhat white color to it. It may go on white, but good quality sunscreens should absorb quickly and look natural under make-up. Without the white, it isn’t working. Look for the ingredients: Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.
A chemical block converts the UV rays that do penetrate through the physical block into something less harmful. You know your sunscreen has an effective chemical block when you see ingredients like: Octylcrylene, Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, Homosalate, and Helioplex to name a few.
For a sunscreen to truly offer the best protection you need both a chemical and physical block. Additionally, while it might seem to be “even better” an SPF over 45 is essentially meaningless. You definitely want a UV above 30, but there is no evidence that an SPF 100 is more effective than an SPF 45.
Hands down, our best sunscreen is the Obagi Sunshield. It has the right ingredients, in the right combination. Ask us more on your next visit.
*Results may vary from patient to patient
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