The 10 Important Dos & Don’ts Of Sun Protection
It’s time to take the guesswork out of protecting your skin from the sun.
Admit it, you love the sun, right? Well, you and us both. But as much as we adore scorching beach days, backyard barbecues and picnics in the park, the sun is a damaging beast. And your skin is not a fan.
In fact, other than time itself, sunshine is your skin’s biggest enemy, accounting for somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of external aging and causing so many beauty bugbears it’s hard to keep count. Those extra freckles on your forearms? All thanks to the sun. Dark spots on your cheekbones? Probably the sun. Crinkles on your décolletage? Premature lines? Issues with cruddy skin texture? Again, you wouldn’t be wrong to point the finger at the sun.
Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to protect your skin from damaging UV radiation. Sure, sun protection can be mind-blowingly tricky, but it’s super important to know your way around a bottle of sunscreen.
This is why, today, we’re here to help you wise up to the sun and its mischievous ways with 10 important dos and don’ts of sun protection. Come on people, the look, feel and health of your skin are relying on you.
DO Apply Sunscreen To Exposed Skin Every Day
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation – and, in fact, anyone who knows anything about how the sun affects your skin! – everyone over the age of six months should use sunscreen on a daily basis. This means that no matter your skin type, color, age, location, or time of the year, it’s super important to protect any skin that’s not covered up by clothing.
The thing is, UV radiation is present all year long – whether it’s warm, cold, cloudy or raining. That might not immediately make sense but when you realize that UV rays are about light not heat, the penny will hopefully drop. When it’s gray and super cloudy outside, for example, around 80 percent of the sun’s damaging UV rays are still able to penetrate through those clouds to reach your skin. Seriously bad news if you’re not protecting yourself.
DON’T Ever Scrimp On Sunscreen
Unlike most other skincare products that sit in the ‘less is more’ camp, you can never apply too much sunscreen. In fact, most of us do the exact opposite and rarely use enough.
The general rule of thumb is that for sunscreen to give you the correct amount of protection it claims, you must use at least two tablespoons (one shot glass) for your entire face and body. From this, around a nickel-sized dollop should be applied liberally to your face and neck alone.
DO Reapply More Often Than You Think
Experts at the American Academy of Dermatology explain that the sun breaks down sunscreen, making it less and less effective as time goes by. This is why all dermatologists recommend reapplying sunscreen every two hours if you’re going to be outside for a prolonged period of time. That’s pretty often, so bear that in mind if you’re planning on a long hike or day at the beach.
Reapplying is also more important than ever if you’re swimming or sweating because no sunscreen (whatever it may claim) can ever be fully waterproof. Water-resistant? Sure, but only for 40-80 minutes which it must state clearly on the label. Waterproof, however? Physically impossible.
DON’T Use Out-Of-Date Sunscreen
Like all skincare formulations, sunscreens expire – especially if you keep them in an overly warm room. That being said, they have a pretty long shelf-life and, according to the FDA’s guidelines, must remain stable for at least three years so don’t worry about finishing up a bottle that’s been hanging around for a few summers.
Any product you’ve had for longer than three years, however, should be thrown in the trash as the active ingredients will be rendered much less effective and could put your skin and health at risk. A good trick is to write the month and year on the bottle when you buy it. That way you’ll know when it’s had its day.
DO Choose Broad-Spectrum Formulations
Remember, sunscreen isn’t just about SPF. Sun protection factors are important for protecting your skin from UVB rays which are the ones that cause redness, sunburn, DNA damage and many skin cancers.
However, SPF has nothing to do with UVA rays which are the ones present all year long and those most responsible for photoaging. The only way of knowing whether a product protects your skin from UVA radiation is to use ‘broad-spectrum’ formulations like our SPF30 Mineral Sunscreen With Vitamin C. This ensures you have sufficient protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
PS: While SPF 15 blocks around 93 percent of UVB radiation, it’s generally agreed that SPF 30 is your best bet.
DON’T Rely On Makeup
Don't get us wrong, mineral makeup and tinted moisturizers that have an SPF are great. But they’re rarely water resistant or offer broad-spectrum protection and, because you don’t apply them in a thick enough layer, they might not offer the level of coverage your skin really needs. Always apply sunscreen first.
DO Choose Mineral Sunscreens
Sunscreens fall into two camps: chemical and mineral (or physical).
Chemical sunscreens use chemical ingredients like oxybenzone, octisalate, avobenzone and octinoxate which absorb UV radiation, break it down and release it through your skin. Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, sit on the surface of your skin, forming a reflective barrier against the sun. The most common mineral sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
We strongly believe that mineral sunscreens trump chemicals every time. And here’s why:
1. Mineral sunscreens are natural and offer both UVA and UVB protection. Chemicals don’t always do that.
2. Minerals are way kinder to the skin. Chemicals can be pretty irritating, especially if you have sensitive skin.
3. Mineral sunscreens offer immediate protection whereas chemical ones need to be applied at least 20 minutes before sun exposure.
4. Minerals are safe for your health and the environment. Chemicals are potentially harmful – especially to marine life.
Our SPF30 Mineral Sunscreen With Vitamin C utilizes the fabulous powers of zinc oxide and is completely reef-friendly. Just saying!
DON’T Forget Hidden Areas Of Your Skin
Behind your ears is a very high-risk area for skin cancer so if you have short or tied-back hair, ensure you apply sunscreen to this super delicate area. Also, if you’re on the beach and lounging in the sun, certain areas like your eyelids and soles of your feet can easily be forgotten. Don’t do that.
DO Wear Sunscreen Inside As Well As Out
It’s easy to think that if you’re tucked away inside you’re safe from the sun’s evil ways. However, studies show than 50 percent of UVA radiation is able to penetrate right through glass. This means that if you’re sitting at your desk next to a window, it’s getting you. When you’re driving, it’s also getting you. Even sat at a window seat when flying, it’s getting you.
DON’T Dismiss The Importance Of Vitamin C
Other than holing up in a darkened room for your entire life, sunscreen is the most effective way to protect your skin from the sun. However, it’s not the ONLY way. Wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, protective clothing and staying in the shade are also powerful moves for anyone who cares about their skin.
And then there’s the mighty vitamin C. Topical vitamin C is one of the most proven antioxidants in skincare and works like a dog to fight against photoaging. How so? Well, exposure to the sun is one of the biggest causes of free radicals – nasty guys that love to do a number on your skin, destroying collagen and other important components like elastin and DNA. Antioxidants like vitamin C help nix free radicals to limit their damage and help prevent things like fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and sagging skin.
We’re huge – like massive – fans of vitamin C and use it across a whole bunch of TruSkin favorites. Keep your skin looking awesome for as long as possible by cleansing with Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser and applying Vitamin C Facial Serum underneath your moisturizer and sunscreen. This will noticeably amp up your protection game. But remember, antioxidants do NOT protect your skin from sunburn so don’t think applying a vitamin C serum makes you invincible.
Sunscreen remains number one.