Sunscreen & Your Daily Routine Wearing sunscreen — regardless of your skin tone — is one of the easiest and best ways to protect your skin from melanoma, other skin cancers, and premature aging. It only takes a few minutes to include it in your daily routine.
Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreens Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays before they can damage your skin. These sunscreens tend to be easier to rub into your skin. Physical (mineral) sunscreens block the sun’s rays before they have the chance to penetrate the skin. These sunscreens are a good option if you have sensitive skin. A broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 is recommended for daily use. Apply 15 minutes before heading out to allow the active ingredients to begin working. Broad spectrum protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. The “ A ” in UVA protects against “skin aging ” while the “ B ” in UVB protects against “ sunburn . ” Sunscreen should be used year- round, even on days when there’s little sun. What SPF should I use?
The best sunscreen is the one that you will actually use! Some might prefer the ease of a clear spray while others may prefer a lightweight lotion.
How much do I need to apply?
To protect exposed areas of the face and body you’ll need 1 ounce (a full shot glass) of sunscreen — a nickel sized amount for the face alone. Squeezed into your hand, 1 ounce of sunscreen is enough to completely cover your palm.
What step in my routine do I apply sunscreen?
Sunscreen should be the last step of your skincare routine. If wearing makeup, feel free to apply after the base layer of sunscreen.
Does makeup with SPF have adequate protection?
SPF-containing makeup does not offer enough sun protection because of the small amount of product applied. Take the extra minute to apply a layer of sunscreen first.
Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen on the rest of your body! You should only use powder sunscreens on top of your regular sunscreen to refresh UV protection, not as a replacement. The sun breaks down the active (sun protective!) ingredients — even through windows — so it’s important to reapply every two hours and immediately after swimming or sweating. If you don’t want reapplication to interfere with your makeup, consider a powder-based SPF product. Is it necessary to reapply sunscreen every two hours?
Can I avoid the white residue on my skin?
There are plenty of tinted and clear formulated sunscreens on the market that do not give a white tint. Try out a few to see which one you like best!
Sunscreen is recommended for children of all skin tones above the age of six months. When applying sunscreen on children, follow the same guidelines: apply it every day and reapply throughout the day as recommended. For all children, especially infants, the best sun protection is to avoid direct sunlight. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends: • Lightweight long pants & long-sleeved shirts or protective clothing with UV protective fabric (UPF). • Brimmed hats that shade the neck and ears to prevent sunburn. • Limiting sun exposure between 10am–2pm when the UV rays are strongest. • Using child-sized UV blocking sunglasses.
Which sunscreen is best for kids?
If possible, look for mineral-based (physical) sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Both of these ingredients are deemed safe by the FDA and are a good option for sensitive skin.
For references and more information, visit melanoma.org.
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