“If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be IT.” –Mary Schmich
It has been over ten years since Baz Luhrmann put Mary Schmich’s Chicago Tribune article to music in 1999. Appropriately titled, “Wear Sunscreen”, the hit record dispensed numerous life lessons over a nearly eight minute track. However, it emphasized that this particular tip was the only one to be scientifically proven as beneficial.
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Today, the importance of sunscreen is common knowledge. The endless benefits to sun protection have been proven time and again by countless studies and continued research since the implementation of the SPF system 35 years ago. We are not only aware of the immediate skin burning effects caused by UVB rays, but are also privy to the long term effects of UVA rays – which breakdown collagen and contribute to skin’s aging.
While the wealth of information available regarding sun damage is no doubt helpful, the multitude of products on the market today claiming to combat, repair and prevent such damage is rather daunting. How do you know which product is right for you?
When choosing a sunscreen, the first thing you should look for is a label that reads “broad spectrum”. Thanks to new rules adapted by the FDA just this year, any sunscreen including this description MUST protect equally against UVA and UVB rays.
Next, make note of the SPF. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends daily use of SPF 30 (SPF 50 is recommended to those who spend a majority of their day outdoors). Try Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch in SPF 70 for the best all around protection or Hampton Sun Continuous Mist Spray in SPF 35 for easy application.
Finally, think carefully about the specific needs of your skin. If you do not use the same lotion on your face as you do your body, it is likely that you will not want to use the same sunscreen on both areas as well. When selecting a sunscreen for the face, look for a product that can provide dual care.
If your skin is oily or prone to breakouts, avoid labels that include pore-clogging elements such as mineral oil, paraffin and petroleum – opting instead for ones that read “non-comedogenic” and “oil-free” such as Peter Thomas Roth Uber Dry Sunscreen in SPF 30.
Those with dry or sensitive skin should consider hydrating ingredients such as oat protein, sodium hyaluronate, and omega 3’s, as well as products containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide (which reflect rays rather than absorbing them) like that of La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid in SPF 50.
Lastly, if your main concern is aging skin (lines, wrinkles, etc.), make antioxidants your new best friend! Formulas containing vitamin E, vitamin C, caffeine and niacin will be your best bet. Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Sunscreen in SPF 70 is a great option.
Whichever product you choose, remember that in order to provide adequate protection, it must be applied generously and then reapplied throughout the course of the day -especially if you are sweating, swimming or simply spending more time in the sun than usual.*
*This article was featured in the June 2013 issue of Bello Mag and can also be viewed here: http://issuu.com/outnext/docs/bellomag47/121?e=1159494/3210811
Becker, Katie. Generation SPF. WMagazine. May 2013. Conde Nast. Web. 12 May 2013.
Benoist, Claire. Your Sunscreen Protection Guide. Self. Conde Nast. Web. 12 May 2013.
Siddons, Sarah. Should I Use a Different Sunscreen on My Face. Discovery Health. Discovery Communications. Web. 12 May 2013.
Wadyka, Sally. What to Look for in a Sunscreen. Real Simple. Time Inc. Lifestyle Group. Web. 12 May 2013.