Summer is here, astronomically speaking, and with it comes the stronger UV rays levels. Last year I’ve published an article on the blog giving you great tips on how to care for your skin on summer and explained how important it is to wear sunscreen when you’re outside enjoying this gorgeous weather. However, I’ve decided to go a little further on sunscreen advice and write a complementary article.
Our skin has its own natural protective barrier against the sun, which lasts for varying periods, depending on the skin tone. During this time, we can be out in the sun without any damage to our skin, such as a sunburn. According to the amount of melanin, we can divide the skin tones into six categories and each skin tone has a particular period of exposure time to the sun without damage. The formula to calculate is:
Skin’s Natural Protection Time X Sun Protection Factor = Amount of time you can spend in the sun
There are also some characteristics such as eye and hair colour that might help you find your right skin tone. It isn’t completely precise but it’ll for sure give you a good guidance.
When you’re choosing your sunscreen you should also consider that they are divided into 2 different groups: physical filters and chemical filters.
1. PHYSICAL/MINERAL FILTERS: Those sit on the top of the skin and create a physical block that deflects UV rays. This kind of sunscreen starts to work as soon as it’s applied on the skin. The common ingredients are titanium dioxide or zinc oxide and for this reason, they leave a white cast after applying. If you’re planning on taking photos with direct flash you should opt for another kind of sunscreen. Since it deflects UV rays, the sunscreens with physical filters can help keep irritation or redness prone skin cool and calm, being this way great for acne-prone and sensitive skin types, like children’s. You can also find good ingredients such as sea buckthorn, sunflower seed and many antioxidants that help to moisturise and nourish the skin.
2. CHEMICAL FILTERS: Those absorb UV rays so that the skin doesn’t. They combine with the skin’s oil to convert sunlight into heat that dissipates on the skin. They utilise ingredients such as avobenzone and octocrylene. Many sunscreens with chemical filters have textures that are more spreadable and fluid than physical sunscreens and can work easier for all skin tones because there isn’t any white cast. However, it’s important to apply a chemical sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure so that the formula has time to be absorbed into the skin. Also, when in direct light for prolonged periods of time, chemical sunscreens can degrade faster than the physical ones, so it’s important to apply a sufficient amount and to reapply.
For me, the best Sunscreen should be and have:
- High in Zinc Oxide (because its spectrum covers UVB as well as both UVA-1 and UVA-2 rays, while Titanium Dioxide’s spectrum covers only UVB rays.)
- Rich in antioxidants (green tea, vitamin C and E, blueberry extract, etc.) and skincare benefits (shea butter, allantoin, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, etc.)
- Clean(er) ingredients (because this matters a lot to my personal preference, even though I’m more forgiving with sunscreens since it’s so hard to find the right one.)
- Minimal white cast (which with physical sunscreens is hard but any improve is an achievement, after all, I don’t wanna move around with a white mask.)
- Great texture and application (because you wanna use it daily and feel comfortable, right? The less tacky and greasy the better!)
- Work well under Makeup (because sometimes you wanna get a little fancier and put some makeup on, and no one should have to choose between long-term-beauty-sunscreen and short-term-beauty-makeup.)
- UVB rays are stronger in the summer but UVA rays are present in fairly similar levels all year, including cloudy days. Daily sunscreen use is highly recommended to protect the skin and prevent ageing.
- The best sunscreens are the ones that protect us from both UVA and UVB levels, commonly labelled as broad spectrum. If you’re living in Asian territory you’ll find the efficiency of the UVA rays labelled with PA+ signs. However, you might find difficult to purchase a sunscreen with PA++++ in the rest of the world. The Asians are quite ahead when it comes to skincare formulas but we aren’t able to find their cosmetics in every local store. Luckily, if you’re interested you can find some options for purchase from Asian brands on Amazon and other online markets.
- Choosing an SPF 30 or 50 is sufficient. It doesn’t necessarily mean that an SPF 100 will give you triple the protection of an SPF 30. Most of the times you’ll just end up with a higher concentration of harmful chemical substances when choosing for an SPF higher than 50.
- Even sunscreens with a high SPF don’t provide complete protection from UV rays. For this reason, even if you use your sun protection before going out, you should avoid prolonged exposure, especially during midday when it’s most intense.
- For a proper protection, the right amount required of sunscreen for an adult of average size is approximately 20-30 ml (6 teaspoons). For the face is 1 teaspoon. Applying a smaller quantity reduces the level of protection.
- Most of the times the SPF contained in Moisturisers, Primers and Foundations aren’t enough for a proper sun protection. The best way of applying a sunscreen in your routine is after your Moisturiser. If you wanna use Foundation with SPF you can layer it after your sunscreen, but don’t replace proper sun protection for a makeup cosmetic.
- When you’re using makeup you might find difficult to reapply your sunscreen. In this case, carrying a Compact Cushion Foundation with SPF could be helpful.
- A great tip if you wanna keep your skin even more protected from the outside elements as well as neutralise skin damaging and free radical activity is to use a daily antioxidant serum. Antioxidants and SPF together are a perfect combination to prevent premature ageing.
- Babies and children have extremely sensitive skin and should never be exposed to direct sunlight without protection. It’s recommended to always use a sunscreen with at least SPF 25. In addition, they should wear protective clothing and keep their heads covered.
Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post! I’d love to know what kind of sunscreen you use and if you already have found the one you love.
Wish you a great summertime!
Many kisses and see you soon! 🙂