It’s no secret that the sun can be harmful to your skin.
You do what you can to combat UV rays by staying hydrated and finding shady spots when you’re outdoors. You may even go the extra mile by purchasing makeup and body lotion that has SPF in it.
So, should you wear sunscreen everyday, even if your lotion has SPF?
The short answer? YES. Even if you’re not going to be outside for very long.
Why Should You Wear Sunscreen Everyday?
Sunscreen is one of the best tools we have for protecting our skin. The ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause a range of issues, such as skin cancer and premature aging, and sunscreen can help to protect us from those harmful rays.
In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40 percent, and lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent”.
In addition to keeping our skin safe from sunburns, skin cancers, and skin precancers, using sunscreen everyday is also proven to help prevent premature skin aging caused by the sun, including wrinkles and age spots.
Forget your sunscreen today and need help treating a sunburn? Check out our article on First Aid for a Sunburn.
How to Choose the Right Sunscreen for You
While every sunscreen is designed to protect all skin from UV rays, not all sunscreens are the best choice for YOUR unique skin type.
In fact, using a sunscreen that isn’t compatible with your skin can increase dryness, cause acne to flare, or even trigger an allergic reaction.
When choosing a sunscreen, be sure to look at the ingredients. Look for a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are both effective in blocking UV radiation. The sunscreen should also be water-resistant, so it will stay on your skin even if you’re sweating or swimming.
In addition, there are certain ingredients that should be avoided for certain skin types:
Zinc oxide is a fantastic ingredient for sun protection, but it is notorious for drying out the skin, meaning it’s not an ideal option for individuals with dry skin.
Those with dry skin should look for hydrating ingredients in their sunscreens like glycerin, oils, and aloe.
Fragrences & Oils
While zinc can actually help remedy acne, those with acne-prone or sensitive skin should opt for chemical, fragrance, and oil-free formulas.
Spray sunscreens usually contain alcohol, which are extremely drying to the skin. Sprays also typically do not suffice for young or mature skin, as they do not provide uniform distribution.
Broad spectrum lotions should be the preferred choice for young and mature skin, as they are much more effective against the sun’s UV rays.
Another detail to consider when choosing a sunscreen is the SPF. SPF, or sun protection factor, is a measure of how well the sunscreen will protect your skin from UV rays. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will block 97% (1/30) of UV rays, while an SPF of 50 will block 98% (1/50) of UV rays.
It’s important to note that choosing the right SPF depends on skin tone.
For example, take someone who is very fair-skinned (never tans, always burns). Based on SPF calculations, this individual should be able to stay outdoors safely for 1 hour using SPF 30, and 5 hours using SPF 50-100.
Now, let’s compare that person to someone who is dark-skinned (never burns). This individual should be able to stay outdoors safely for 1 hour using SPF 8-14, and 5 hours using SPF 30.
How to Apply Sunscreen
Once you’ve chosen the right sunscreen, you’ll need to know how to apply it correctly.
Given that you should wear sunscreen everyday, it is important to make it a part of your daily routine. The Canadian Dermatology Association recommends applying it in the morning before you leave the house. Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, including the face, neck, ears, and scalp – even your hands! Make sure to rub it in well so that there is no visible residue on your skin. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or more often if you’re sweating or swimming.
When applying sunscreen, it’s important to use enough to cover all exposed skin. Most people don’t use enough sunscreen, so make sure to apply it generously. A good rule of thumb is to use one ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) of sunscreen for your entire body.
Planning a tropical getaway or a beach day? Before spending the day out in the hot sun, be sure to read our blog First Aid for Heat Stroke!
Getting into the habit of applying sunscreen every day is crucial, as research shows that having just 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma. Carry a bottle with you in your purse or backpack so you are able to reapply no matter where you are!