They say the two best things for your skin is Vitamin C and sunscreen. I feel like sunscreen is one of those things that is easily overlooked because the effects aren’t instant, no one really loves the feeling of it (greasy and unpleasant smell) and the common “it’s not that sunny” or “I don’t go out much”.
It is essential to wear sunscreen every day even if it isn’t sunny as harsh UV rays still exist on cloudy days.
What UV rays do to your skin
By the time UV rays hit your skin, there are two types that are present – UVA rays and UVB rays. UVB rays cause external skin damage like sunburn whereas UVA rays penetrate deeper and can cause cellular changes.
Naturally the worst thing about UV rays is that it can cause skin cancer. Period. Your skin is essentially the largest organ in your body and having it exposed to such harsh rays is detrimental to your overall health.
Specifically in skincare, UV rays cause PREMATURE aging of the skin. Meaning, it doesn’t matter how much great anti-aging product you’re using, if you’re not using sunscreen you aren’t achieving your ultimate youthful look.
Wrinkles, sun spots, leathery skin, sunburn are all caused by the sun’s UV rays as well as artificial UV rays from things like tanning beds and shellac sessions (note to self: wear sunscreen when doing my nails).
What does sunscreen do and what is SPF?
Sunscreen is designed to create a barrier between the UV rays and your skin to keep them from causing damage. Just like there is no product that will really wind back time, there is no sunscreen that will block all UV rays.
However, the level of SPF and reapplication are both important and effective ways to do your best to protect your skin.
I’ve actually never known what the level of SPF meant, I just knew that higher was better. I found that SPF actually indicates the length of time your skin is protected. “So ideally, with SPF 30 it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen.” (Skin Cancer Foundation)
So is higher really better? Yes. The Skin Cancer Foundation explains that “An SPF 30 allows about 3 percent of UVB rays to hit your skin. An SPF of 50 allows about 2 percent of those rays through. That may seem like a small difference until you realize that the SPF 30 is allowing 50 percent more UV radiation onto your skin.”
Now for the superficial qualities of sunscreen.
No one really likes the greasy feeling or the unpleasant scent of sunscreen which is why many of us are averse to the idea of applying it. It takes you back to the days you had to whip out Banana Boat for the swimming carnival and come out of the water with white streaks everywhere.
However, we are now living in 2021 and since we’re now allowed picnics, we have a million options for sunscreen.
There is mineral and chemical sunscreen. In short, the mineral sunscreen is our traditional white film sunscreen that sits on top of the skin surface acting as a barrier. Like this COSRX Shield Fit Snail Essence Sun or this Dr.G Green Mild Up Sunscreen for sensitive skin.
Chemical sunscreen, although not a white film, is absorbed into the skin and transforms UV rays into heat and then releases them. It's lightweight and what we would normally find in our cosmetics, but you should know that it also takes around 20 mins to become effective.
Nevertheless, for both types, you need to remember to reapply as all sunscreen wears off. You should always use your sunscreen as directed on the packaging.
It doesn’t matter if it’s cloudy, rainy, or sunny, you should always be applying sunscreen. Here at home, it’s snow season and we want to remind you that cold weather doesn’t mean no sun!