Are You Using Sunscreen the Right Way?

Are You Using Sunscreen the Right Way?

Think you know everything there is to know about sunscreen? Although it’s an integral part of many of our skincare routines, there are a few intricacies of this healthy-skin must that you might have missed. From the SPF number you should be using on the daily to the amount and where you should be applying it, let’s take a look at a few of the more little-known facts about sunscreen.

Aim High: A sunscreen with a higher SPF definitely provides better protection for our skin. It’s important to note, however, there’s is no such thing as 100 percent coverage from the sun. For daily use, our A360 aestheticians Aaron and Suzy recommend using a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30. Once SPF is at 50, you’ve hit your limit for protection. Translation? There is a big difference between SPF 15 and SPF 30 or 50, but there is no significant difference between SPF 50 and SPF 100. That being said, if you’re more comfortable using the highest SPF you can find, just do it!

Think Broadly: SPF only indicates protection against UVB rays — the rays that leave your skin sunburned and itchy. UVA rays, which are much wider and penetrate the skin more deeply, also need to be blocked. UVA rays are the ones responsible for contributing to lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, laxity and skin cancer. That’s why you should look for sunscreens labeled as “broad spectrum,” which indicates protection against both types of harmful rays.

We like sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, like Revision Skincare’s Intellishade tinted moisturizer or SkinBetter Science’s Sunscreen Stick. These ingredients offer the best protection for a reason: They don’t absorb UV radiation, but deflect it. Think of it as a one-two punch against those harmful rays.

Cover Up: It’s a common mistake to miss spots when applying sunscreen — and that’s where cumulative sun damage can really add up. That’s why it’s vital to cover your face, ears, neck and upper chest with your facial sunscreen each day. And when we say face, we mean the whole face — not just the areas the sun hits the most (like your nose). Don’t be afraid to get right up to the hairline, on your eyelids and at your immediate under-eye area — those are all places that are often missed and can burn easily.

In addition, make sure to cover any visible scars, as protecting scars from the sun is an important step in helping your body to heal faster. In fact, all scars should be covered with broad-spectrum sunscreen at all times. Not only do you run the risk of hyperpigmentation — discoloration or darkening of the skin — if you don’t, skin cancer is also more likely to develop in those spots because the skin is already damaged.

More is More: If you’re applying sunscreen correctly, you should be using more than you think. Instead of a dime-size amount, think of a marble-sized dollop for your face and ears, and another for your neck and upper chest. Remember, it’s best to reapply every few hours when spending a lot of time in the sun, like during a hike or beach day. After a swim? You know what to do.

And if you have sunscreen left over from last season, pitch it and re-stock. Yes, sunscreen does expire!

SPF is for All: Sunscreen should be used by everyone, no matter your skin type. Although people with darker skin do have more melanin in their skin cells — which acts as a natural protection to their cells’ DNA — dark skin can still burn and develop skin cancer.

Makeup is Not Enough: Just using a foundation with sunscreen and calling it a day? That’s another no-no. A dedicated sunscreen — or tinted moisturizer of at least 30 SPF — is a must for keeping out those harmful rays.

Want to learn more about the best sunscreen for your skin? Ask about our medical-grade sunscreen products during your next visit, and tune in to our YouTube page to hear clinical aesthetician Suzy’s sunscreen tips on our Spill the Tea video series.

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