Sunny days are around the corner and although SPF *should* be a year-round gig, it's extra important this time of year. A lot of clients ask me why and what the importance is, so let's talk SPF!
FUN FACT: SPF STANDS FOR SUN PROTECTION FACTOR.
What does SPF do?
SPF sunscreen helps protect us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays: UVA and UVB.
UVA rays... UVB rays... What's the difference?
Let's break it down: although, the effects of short-wave UVB rays are easy to see – they cause red, stinging sunburn in the superficial layers of the skin – this is not the only damage done to our skin by the sun. UVA rays are more dangerous because they make up 95% of the light that reaches our skin and they have a long wavelength which means they can penetrate deeper into the skin. It’s long term exposure to UVA rays that cause sun damage in the skin’s thickest layer – the dermis – and result in fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and hyperpigmentation... NO THANKS!
Why is it important to wear year-round, even if it's cloudy?
Sunscreen is an important preventive health care habit that should be maintained all year, including the winter months and cloudy days. Up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays can pass through clouds, so if you assume it’s okay to forgo protection on an overcast day, think again. Snow can reflect up to 80 percent of ultraviolet (UV) rays, increasing your risk of exposure to sun damage. Wherever natural light reaches you, you risk exposure... Think: driving in your car, a home with lots of natural light, and office with a window. Moral of the story: always wear sunscreen!
What exactly does SPF do, other than block UVA/UVB rays?
First, it lowers your risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 71,943 people were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin in 2013, and 9,394 of these cases were fatal. By applying sunscreen each day, you cut your risk of contracting skin cancers IN HALF!
Your skin is healthier overall when using sunscreen. Essential proteins in the skin like keratin are protected when sunscreen is applied. These proteins are primarily responsible for keeping the skin smooth and healthy both in appearance and function.
What sunscreen do you recommend?
My ride or die is Glymed Plus Photo-Age Environmental Protection Gel 30+. You can purchase it here! It protects AND moisturizes the skin, with a light, water-based formula.
I also love Image Skincare PREVENTION+ Daily Hydrating Moisturizer SPF 30+. It helps banish dryness and protects your skin at the same time. They also have a matte version for oiler skin types. Bonus: it smells AMAZING! Get it here.
Time to combat a few myths and excuses people make in order to justify not wearing any...
My skin doesn't burn: just because you can't see the damage DOES NOT mean that there isn't any. All skin types, tones, and colors need SPF!
My makeup has SPF in it: Although it's better than no SPF at all, there is no way you're wearing enough of it to get the sun protection you think you're getting or that is enough to protect your skin. You can still use these products, but apply an actual sunscreen before applying your makeup to make sure you get maximum protection.
Sunscreen is toxic/bad for you: Studies show that the amount of sunscreen that absorbs through the skin into the bloodstream is a very, very tiny amount. It’s better to worry about the devil you know: we may not yet understand the full effects of sunscreen absorption, but we do have plenty of evidence that the sun has harmful UVA and UVB rays that are proven to cause skin cancer and break down the skin’s collagen.
I'm inside most of day/during prime sun hours: UV rays can and will penetrate through glass windows. While UVB rays are largely blocked by glass; but more than 50 percent of UVA rays, the main cause of premature skin aging, can penetrate glass.
Friends don't let friends not use SPF! Keep it real, wear it daily, love yourself. If you have any other questions about SPF and sunscreen, leave a comment below!