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
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 the 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
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 18) or 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
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.