I’m jumping right to it. The MVP of skin care is SPF, which stands for Sun Protection Factor if you didn’t know!
To avoid aging our skin, creating fine lines, age spots and blotches we need to protect it from the sun. No matter where you live or how little you think you go outside SPF is a 365 days a year product. I’ve heard all the excuses, “but it makes my skin greasy”, “it doesn’t sit well with makeup”, “I don’t like the way it feels”. Trust me, I know. But are you prepared to spend tons of money trying to reserve and repair the damage? Or worse, deal with skin cancer?
UVA is present 365 days a year and it is the UVA rays that give us the predominant symptoms of what’s called photo damage which causes aging of the skin. In skin care we remember the difference between UVA and UVB by assigning the A to the word aging and the B to the word burning. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and UVB rays are responsible for sunburn.
If you have dull, lacklustre skin with irregular pigmentation, melasma, brown spots (lentigines), broken capillaries, red cheeks with bumps, wrinkles and loss of elasticity, it's likely you've had more than a reasonable amount of unprotected sun exposure.
So now that you know the harmful effects you know why I wonder, “Why is it that we wait to take care of our skin when we see the damage?!”, “Why is it so easy to apply a product to stop a pimple from surfacing but so difficult to apply SPF that will prevent everything?”
SPF is the holy grail people! Let me give you more of a breakdown for how to find an SPF that works for you and how to fit it into your skincare routine.
How and When to Apply SPF
How many times do you want us to reapply? Do we have to reapply?
For a normal, in-the-office workday morning application is enough.
If you’re transition from work in a long car ride with the sun shining I’d re-apply, and if you’re hitting up happy hour on a patio with the girls definitely re-apply.
But how do you reapply SPF when you have makeup on?
Well here are a two options:
Purchase a powder SPF.
Purchase a spray such as Kate Somerville. I like to spray it into the palm of my hands and pat it over my face and neck.
Look for an SPF that is a serum texture so it spreads easily over your previously applied skincare and makeup.
Powders and sprays aren’t as effective because generally we don’t apply enough to get the benefits. So make sure you are applying generously!
If you are spending entire days outside then the every-two-hour rule is important, particularly if you're going to be in direct sun for long stretches of time.
Last but not least, check the expiration date!
I have oily skin and I hate applying SPF, what do I do?!
My advice to those with oily skin types is to try an SPF that has only zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide listed as the active SPF ingredients—those are minerals that are referred to as physical blocks. They provide broad spectrum protection by deflecting and scattering rays, which keeps the skin a bit cooler, this is also helpful for acne and sensitive skin. Physical protection works immediately bouncing UVA and UVB off the skin. When you look up a product it will often separate active ingredients from the ingredient list so that’s how you can find that!
Physical Blocks vs. Chemical Blocks
So while Zinc/Titanum oxide are physical blocks there is also chemical block. Chemical block (man made) ingredients include; oxybenzone (not a good ingredient for the ocean), octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone, which create a chemical reaction and work by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat from the skin. Most of us tend to purchase chemical SPF’s because physical SPF is the gross thick white cream we don’t appreciate. However, chemical sunscreens tend to be more irritating to the skin so it’s a love hate relationship. Keep in mind that it takes 20 minutes for chemical blocks to be effective.
Application Tips for SPF
CC/BB/tinted moisturizers can provide enough sun protection IF you put on enough. But normally we don’t. With makeup SPFs we tend to apply less than we are required to because it can feel like we are overdoing it with the coverage. However, the general rule is that 1/2 teaspoon is necessary to get the right amount of protective ingredients to cover your face and neck. If you measure out ½ a tsp you'll probably be surprised to see you aren't using enough!
I would apply one thin layer first and then pump out more and apply a second layer.
Non SPF Sun Protection
Other things you can do, especially during the summer months is to wear a large brimmed hat and mega large eyeglasses so it covers your eye area. So ya, pretty much I’m telling you, hide your face. I’m kidding, I like to enjoy the sun as much as the next girl and there are times where I forget to apply my SPF consistently.
But the more I learn and the more damage I see the more I know how important SPF is even during the winter months. The sun has not left space even though it is freezing down here.
I leave you with a fabulous ending to this blog post…