When it comes to sunscreen, questions abound. We’ve answered a few of the most common to make sure your skin stays protected.
Is sunscreen safe for kids?
Yes, sunscreen is safe for kids. In fact, sunscreen is important for children from the time they can start wearing it at around six months old. Sunburns and sun damage accrued during childhood can increase the chances of developing skin cancer later in life.
Physical sunscreens are a good choice for kids and everyone else, too. Physical sunscreens coat the skin and prevent harmful rays from penetrating the skin’s layers. Chemical sunscreens are the other option. These sunscreens absorb sun rays rather than deflecting them. They absorb into the skin, where they can stay in the system for days or weeks.
Will sunscreen limit the amount of Vitamin D my body makes?
Your body uses sunlight to convert chemicals in the body to active vitamin D. Wearing sunscreen will limit the rays that penetrate the skill, so vitamin D production will decrease. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D in your diet through fortified milk, cereal, and eating fatty fish like salmon and mackerel.
How often should I apply sunscreen?
Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun. After that, reapply the sunscreen every two hours. If you’re perspiring or in the water, reapply every 80 minutes.
It’s important to keep up with sunscreen application, especially if you use chemical sunscreens, which we don’t recommend. Chemical sunscreens reach a saturation point where they can no longer absorb any more rays. Physical sunscreens never get saturated. However, they can get rubbed off or come off due to perspiration, making reapplication vital for continued skin protection.
Will sunscreen make me breakout?
Anything that clogs the pores can make you breakout, including sunscreen. While there’s no guarantee that sunscreen won’t cause acne, you can avoid breakouts by using a lightweight sunscreen that’s designed for sensitive skin like SkinResourceMD’s Essential Solar Protector or Hyaluronic Facial Solar Protector. These formulas have chemical-free active ingredients to gently protect the skin. Hyaluronic Facial Solar Protector is tinted, so it can act as a foundation as well as sunscreen.
What should I look for in a sunscreen?
There are three types of ultraviolet (UV) rays—UVA, UVB, UVC. UVC rays are absorbed by the atmosphere and never make it to the Earth’s surface. UVB rays are the ones most people think of when they think of harmful rays. These rays damage the skin’s outer layers, leaving behind angry, red sunburns.
However, the most prevalent type of UV rays are UVA rays. These rays don’t significantly contribute to sunburns because they penetrate the skin’s deeper layers. Here, they do plenty of damage, enough that they cause the skin to create more melanin (the substance that makes your skin look tan) to protect itself. These are the rays that prematurely age the skin, creating fine lines and wrinkles.
A sunscreen’s SPF rating only applies to UVB rays. Yes, you want an SPF of at least 30 or higher. However, look for sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum.” Broad-spectrum sunscreens block both UVA and UVB rays.
When should I use sunscreen?
It’s easy to remember sunscreen during the summer when the heat and rays are plentiful. But you need sun protection year-round, even when it’s cold and cloudy. UV rays can penetrate clouds. They may not be as many or as direct, but they can still damage the skin.
You can apply sunscreen as the last layer of your skincare routine. Sunscreen can prevent other skincare products from absorbing into the skin, so adding it as a last layer makes sure that moisturizers and skin treatments fully penetrate the skin.
What else should I do to protect my skin from the sun?
Sunscreen is only one, though an important layer of protection. It cannot fully protect you from all sun damage. You can also protect yourself by:
- Staying in the shade. If there’s a chance to get in some shade, take it. Anything that provides shade blocks some UV rays, reducing your overall exposure.
- Avoiding peak hours. The sun’s rays are at their most direct between 10 am and 2 pm. Try to plan your outdoor activities outside of this time frame.
- Dressing for sun success. Cover as much skin as you can to avoid sunburn. Loose, lightweight clothing that covers your arms and legs significantly reduces the percentage of your skin exposed to the sun.
- Avoiding tanning beds. Tanning beds use UV rays that damage the skin and trigger the production of melanin. A safer tanning option is to invest in a good self-tanner.
- Being careful near reflective surfaces. Snow, water, and sand all reflect UV rays, increasing your exposure. Wear plenty of sunscreen, and keep as much of your body covered as possible.
Sunscreen: Safe daily protector
Your skin is your first line of defense throughout your life. It needs a little attention and care to stay strong for a lifetime. Wearing sunscreen will prevent painful sunburns and long-term damage that could lead to skin cancer. Wear it, reapply it, and keep your skin healthy and happy.