The New Rules of Sunscreen: Part 1

The New Rules of Sunscreen

Despite beauty stores and pharmacies being filled with all kinds of sunscreen options, I’ve noticed that many people completely disregard this essential beauty product in their beauty routines. Many of my friends believe that sunscreens are too greasy, leave marks on their clothes, make their skin look white in photos, clog their pores… You’ve got the idea: many people are still concerned that a sunscreen does more harm than good. I’m definitely not okay with such an approach. Being the palest person around, I believe I have a moral right to educate people in my surroundings and those reading me online about the importance of using an SPF daily. With this in mind, I’d like to draw your attention to a new sunscreen series where I’ll be sharing details of some of my favorite SPF-containing products together with some tips and tricks on how to apply and wear them.

Today I’d like to concentrate on some of the myths that many people believe about sunscreen products—misconceptions that are holding people back from doing what’s good for their skin and health (i.e. using SPF products the right way).

Myth #1: SPF Moisturizer Is All You Need

ColoreScience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 30

While applying an SPF-containing product first thing in the morning is a great idea, your moisturizer won’t provide you with all-day sunscreen protection. Theoretically, an SPF 15 sunscreen should work for about five hours (if compared to unprotected skin), while in reality “no sunscreen, regardless of strength, should be expected to stay effective longer than two hours without reapplication.” With this in mind, it’s important to create your own sunscreen routine so you know exactly which sunscreen product you should use at what time. Let’s say a moisturizer with SPF 30 applied after you wash your face, an SPF 20 foundation applied in the morning, and at least three mineral powder applications in between. The most important part is to always have your sunscreen products with you so you can reapply as often as possible.

My Experience: For a long time I was confused about how to reapply a sunscreen during the day when I already have my foundation and makeup on, but I finally found the solution. Lately, I’ve been reapplying an SPF-containing mineral powder throughout the day to keep my skin protected. The logic is simple: if I need to use a powder no matter what to tame my oily T-zone, why not apply one that also contains an SPF?

The Solution: The industry-standard product for a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen is ColoreScience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 30 that looks and feels like your typical high-end powder, but provides many more skincare benefits than that. First, it feels very light on your skin so you can build up the product on your skin throughout the day without feeling like you’re wearing too much makeup. Second, it comes with an in-built portable brush so you have no excuse for not having it with you at all times. Finally, it just looks great on your skin, so once you try it, there’s no way you’ll go back to your regular non-SPF powder.

Myth #2: The Bigger the SPF Factor – the Better

Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Day Emulsion SPF 18

Well, not always. According to makeup guru Lisa Eldrige and Dr. Nick Lowe, oftentimes products featuring bigger SPF numbers actually cause more skin irritation than those that provide coverage in the range of SPF 20-30. So if you live in the city, a lower SPF number will totally work if you reapply it during the day. However, you have to switch to a higher number when you’re traveling, going to the beach, or living in the tropics.

My Experience: Since I’m naturally very pale, I prefer wearing products daily that feature SPF 18 (yes, even during winter) and SPF 50 when I am on vacation. Every summer, I stop wearing my Retinol-containing night cream as it makes my skin a bit more sensitive when it’s sunny, even if I’m wearing a higher SPF number.

The Solution: If your only excuse for not wearing SPF is skin irritation, switch to a product with a lower SPF coverage (like this Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Day Emulsion SPF 18or use a combination of a regular moisturizer and a foundation or a powder providing an SPF protection.

Myth #3: Sport and Sunscreen Never Go Together

Cosmedicine Even The Score  Sunscreen

I don’t want to sound like a hater, but many athletes, marathoners, sprinters, and soccer players I know have horrible skin. While their bodies are absolutely worth the effort that they put into being active outdoors, many athletes have tons of sunspots on their skin. In my humble opinion, these dark skin markings are a scream your skin is sending to you for help. Yes, not every sunspot has the potential of causing skin cancer, but it’s definitely a sign that you are “at a greater risk for skin cancer due to excessive sun exposure” so perhaps it’s time to revise your beauty routine.

My Experience: Last summer, I was very dedicated to running every day in the morning and I never applied an SPF to my face because it was “just a half-hour run” and I didn’t like sunscreen trickling into my eyes while I was running. Even though I was wearing an SPF all day long, that daily half hour of sun exposure caused some extra freckles on my forehead. These days, I never leave the house without an SPF on.

The Solution: Try Cosmedicine Even The Score Water-Resistant Sunscreen designed for high-performance athletes. It has the consistency of a facial primer that mattifies your skin and doesn’t drip or migrate on your skin. The best thing is that you can use it not only while running or biking, but also while swimming—it provides 80 minutes of protection.

I hope my suggestions are helpful and that I’ve convinced you to be more consistent about wearing a sunscreen. Stop by at the blog next week, as I’ll be debunking more myths about SPF as well as sharing my favorite sunscreen products. Until then, subscribe to blog updates and receive exclusive content in your inbox every Friday.

  • Robin Rue

    I almost never use sunscreen, but I know I really should start. I just like to rock my tan in the summer time.

  • As someone who works in a dermatologist, I totally agree with everything you said!! Sunscreen is one of the most important things you need to put on your face and one that takes the last amount of effort. Also, you’re such a great advocate for it because your skin is literally flawless!

    COFFEESLAG Bringing Back The ’90s

  • I recently dug up all the myths about SPF because it can be so confusing to know what the right thing is when it comes to sun protection. I loved reading this and couldn’t agree more with your thoughts on such an important factor x

    Beauty with charm | Benefit Cheekathon Giveaway

  • I’m right there with you! I try to use SPF every day, and have found that physical sunscreens are less irritating to me than chemical ones. I recently discovered the IT Cosmetics Airbrush Finishing Powder, which has SPF 50 and has been such a game changer. Not only does it give me an extra boost of SPF, but it also makes your skin look flawless.

  • I probably don’t wear sunscreen as much as I should, since I work from home. But whenever I do go out, I always apply it, especially on my face. I am so pale and I don’t want to get burned or skin cancer. We all need Vitamin D3, but you don’t need to spend hours in the sun to get the exposure you need.

  • I love how we just spoke about this! It’s so important to pay attention to applying broad-spectrum SPF lotions throughout the day. I LOVE the Shiseido line for my SPF needs. I use the WrinkleResist24 line morning and night! Great breakdown, Katya.


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  • I was so happy to come across this post as I am a huge advocate of sun protection. Anytime I’m asked about my skin I start to tell them about sunscreen and everyone has an excuse as to why they don’t use it. Glad to find someone else who has taken the time to educate themselves about this subject

  • Eileen Mendoza Loya

    Thank you very much for this post. I am guilty of sometimes going through a day or two without applying sunscreen. I don’t want to get all wrinkly before my time! Glad to have stumbled upon this article.

  • Karla Ramos

    Yes, you did help me understand how to use them in a practical way. It looks like I’ll be looking at that alternative solution you recommended instead, thanks!

  • Thanks for the tips! Sunscreen is so important.

  • Ashley M

    Okay I had no idea that SPF moisturizer wasnt enough. I’ve always been using just that on my face.

  • Kathy

    Those seem like some great products. I never knew that you should be using more then just the spf moisturizer. I’ll have to grab some of these products too.

  • Great tips. Thanks for sharing your own personal views about it.

  • Fantastic and helpful tips offered by your post! Thanks! One of the really helpful facial care I learned from a good friend is SPF is a must! You are right…it is the only moisturizer that you’ll need!

  • WhispersInspire

    I use it every day, it is so important and it helps keep your skin young. Not to mention, protected!

  • My skin is pretty fair skin, so doesn’t matter what the weather is like, if I am going to be outside for a long period of time, I always wear sunblock or I will get a sunburn.

  • Christine Cox

    This is a great reminder. I was just at my dermatologist and she also suggested makeup with SPF in it and to use it as a base and for re-application throughout the day.

  • Renee Frerichs

    Great post! Sunscreen is my fave anti-aging product. I love how you discussed the myths and solutions, very helpfull! I apply sun protection religiously, layering different products with SPF. Don’t want to age…lol!!

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