Make daily sunscreen use part of your skincare routine and reap the results in as little as ten months. Research has shown that applying sunscreen on a daily basis significantly improves the health and overall texture of your skin in a short time. Skin actually repairs previous sun damage.
Each summer we are bombarded with lots of information (and misinformation) about sunscreen. Then the minute August is behind us, sunscreen as a popular news topic falls right off the radar. The truth is sunscreen is a year-round requirement.
Even though UVB rays, “the tanning rays”, are stronger during the summer months, UVA rays are constant year-round. UVA rays are the ones that age you and change your cellular DNA which can lead to skin cancer over time. None of us want to experience premature aging or skin cancer. The questions Dr. Glow Girl gets asked the most are “but which sunscreen is the best? Which sunscreen should I use?” Sunscreen favorites depend on personal preferences but Dr. Glow Girl is happy to explain why some work and some don’t and which formulas you might want to veer towards.
First, the chemistry of it all:
Sunscreens either use chemical formulas to absorb UV radiation or they use physical ingredients to reflect UV radiation away from the skin. Some use both approaches, physical and chemical. The problem with chemical formulas is that their ability to absorb radiation is limited. This is the real reason that sunscreen directions emphasize reapplying after a certain time period. It’s not because you sweated, swam, and toweled it all off, it’s because like a sponge that can hold only so much water, the chemical formula can absorb only so much UV radiation. Caveat: You must have applied a generous amount (one shot glass for the entire body) and you must have put it on dry skin while not in the sunlight. Applying sunscreen on sweaty skin while standing in bright sunlight is a super no-no. Chemical sunscreens need dry skin and at least 20 minutes to adhere to the skin to provide the advertised protection. Which brings us to….
SPF! What is it, what does it mean?
Sun Protection Factor is a vague term that measures how much UVB radiation the formula can absorb. Doesn’t say a thing about those nasty UVA aging/cancer-causing rays. This disappoints Dr. Glow Girl profoundly. But until the FDA takes a page from the European and Canadian sunscreen playbooks, we are stuck with SPF as our rating factor while they get PPD – which measures both UVB AND UVA protection. Another thing to keep in mind is that crazy high SPF ratings like SPF 70, SPF 100 and so on – are not an indication of infinite protection. An SPF 15 formula blocks 94% of UVB rays. An SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 45 blocks 98%.
So you can see why buying an SPF 100 product means you are putting oceans of chemicals on your skin but not getting spacesuit protection. At Cellular Skin Rx, Dr. Glow Girl believes that SPF 30 is perfectly fine.
And keep in mind that some sunscreen formulations ARE better than others. Certain sunscreen ingredients aren’t stable in sunlight (ironic, eh?) so other ingredients must be used to stabilize them. For instance, popular sunscreen ingredient Avobenzone needs to be stabilized with Octocrylene – and at a specific ratio. Is your head spinning yet? Dr. Glow Girl apologizes for the confusing chemistry lesson. Let’s just jump to the chemical formulas that we know are stable and offer the best protection for your precious, darling, gorgeous, wonderful, yes, it’s yours and you want it to look oh-so-good-forever-and-ever complexion. This list isn’t even slightly all-inclusive but these brands and formulas are easily available so voila, here you go:
For Daily Use (Chemical Protection)
- Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sunscreen SPF 50 Active Kids Clear Spray
- Cetaphil SPF 15 Daily Facial Moisturizer
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Face Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid
- Vichy UV Active Daily Moisturizer Cream with Sunscreen SPF 15
- L’Oreal Advanced RevitaLift Skin Expertise Complete Day Cream SPF 18 Moisturizer
- Olay Age Defying Sensitive Skin Day Lotion with Sunscreen, SPF15
Avoid any formulas that contain over 6% Oxybenzone or any PABA/Parsol ingredients. Adding our C+ Firming serum, CSRx Transforming Infusion, F*a*C*E Synergy serum, and/or CSRx Antioxidant Defense Complex under any sunscreen will boost your protection and prevent any free radical damage that could occur when you forget to reapply.
Now let’s Get Physical.
Feel free to jump around at this point. Really, there are only two things to remember when it comes to physical sunscreens: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide. That’s right, every physical sunscreen is a variation of these two ingredients. Dr. Glow Girl praises to the heavens the chemist who figured out how to produce these two in clear form. No more ghostly white pallor just because you want to protect your lovely visage. Both of these incredibly effective ingredients reflect UV rays back into the heavens and away from your delicate collagen layer. Generally, you want these two ingredients to add up to at least 12% but effective SPF 15 formulas can go as low as 6%. It’s okay if the formula includes chemical ingredients as well. Physical sunscreen ingredients are very diplomatic and play well with others.
Here’s the Cellular Skin Rx hit parade of daily PHYSICAL sunscreens:
- Elta MD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41
- CotZ Face, The Healthier Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum SPF 40
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid for Face, SPF 50
- Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sunscreen for Active Lifestyles, Tropical, SPF 30
- CeraVe Face Lotion Broad Spectrum Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunblock Lotion SPF 60
- Solar Sense Clear Zinc Broad Spectrum SPF 50
These lists are not inclusive by any stretch of Dr. Glow Girl’s imagination but they are easily available and not too, too hard on the wallet. Most can be purchased at your local drugstore. As always, a wide-brimmed hat, large glamour girl sunglasses, and avoidance of the wrinkle-inducing mid-day sun are highly recommended.
Summer. FALL. Even Winter! And certainly Spring – Sunscreen is for ALL four seasons.
Dr. Glow Girl
P.S. For any sunscreen geeks and future Chemists-of-America, feel free to email your comments and questions to Glowgirl@CellularSkinRx.com.
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