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SIMPLIFYING SKINCARE: WHY YOU SHOULD WEAR SPF DAILY

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The rising popularity of the skincare industry has made powerful products like retinoids and skin acids household names. While these products promise great results, the most important skincare product might just be one of the most underrated: sunscreen. No matter how refined your skincare routine is, if you do not wear SPF daily, you are putting yourself at risk. Skin cancer, advanced signs of aging, hyperpigmentation, and inflammation are just some of the common consequences of unprotected sun exposure. Keep reading to find out more about the advantages of wearing sunscreen, how to apply it the right way, and what products to look out for. 

SKIN PROTECTION IS KEY

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The primary reason for wearing sunscreen is to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. The effects of these rays can be much more serious than a simple sunburn. Exposure to the sun is the primary cause of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Many Americans do not wear proper sun protection and even encourage sun damage by tanning. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Protect yourself and avoid unnecessary direct sun exposure. No tan is worth the risk.  

In addition to the more deadly effects, UV rays are also responsible for signs of early aging such as deep wrinkles and age spots. Wearing SPF daily can help preserve youthful, healthy skin for years to come. A study conducted on twins shows that up to 40% of physical signs of skin aging can be attributed to nongenetic factors, such as sun damage. The study found a strong negative correlation between sunscreen use and skin aging in its participants. 

PROPER APPLICATION

 

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Most people who use sunscreen aren’t using it correctly or applying it enough. A good rule of thumb is to use two fingers worth of sunscreen for your face. Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours and following every towel dry. It is also important to wear sunscreen when it is not sunny out. UV rays can damage the skin when it is overcast or even in the middle of winter. Some dermatologists even recommend wearing sunscreen while indoors due to UV rays coming in through windows or potential skin damage from television and computer screens. 

PRODUCTS FOR MAKEUP LOVERS

 

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For those of us who love makeup, the idea of reapplying sunscreen throughout the day may seem tedious or impossible. Luckily there are products made with makeup lovers in mind. Many foundations and BB creams have built-in SPF, but they are often insufficient for full sun protection. To combat this, many brands are coming out with tinted sunscreens that provide light coverage on their own or can be worn under makeup as a primer. There are also powdered sunscreens that you can reapply easily over makeup, an especially great option for those with oily skin. Powdered sunscreens are also great to apply on your hair part to protect your scalp. To protect the lips, wear a lip sunscreen or lip balm with at least 30 SPF.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Shopping for sunscreen can be an intimidating process, but here are some key things to look for to find the perfect one. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people wear at least an SPF of 30. You should also look for a sunscreen that is labeled “broad-spectrum,” meaning it protects against UVA rays, which cause premature aging, and UVB rays, which cause sunburn. Consumers should also consider the different skin types. People with dry skin should look for hydrating ingredients like oils and aloe vera and avoid products that use alcohol at all costs. People with oily skin should opt for lightweight sunscreens like gel formulations. There are also hypoallergenic options for those with sensitive skin.  

CHEMICAL VS. PHYSICAL

 

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Another thing to consider when buying a sunscreen is whether you want a chemical versus a physical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens sink into the skin and provide protection by absorbing UV rays. Physical sunscreens – also called mineral sunscreen or sunblock – sit on top of the skin and act as a barrier to reflect rays. Since chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin, they are generally more water-resistant and therefore good for swimming or playing sports. Physical formulations are much better suited for children and sensitive skin because the ingredients are less harsh. 

The most important difference between chemical and physical sunscreens is the environmental impact. Many of the chemicals in chemical sunscreens are toxic to aquatic life and are largely responsible for the destruction of coral reefs. In contrast, the ingredients in physical sunscreens are not found to be as toxic to wildlife. Many places like Hawaii are banning sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are mostly found in chemical sunscreens, to preserve the health of their shoreline. National Geographic reported that 14,000 tons of sunscreen are thought to wash off into the ocean each year. Increased popularity of physical sunscreen could greatly reduce the destruction of marine life and habits.   

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