Why Only Wearing Sunscreen When You’re Outside is a Mistake

By Sara Katan, APRN Ocoee

Learn why only wearing sunscreen when you’re in the sun is like flossing only after you eat candy.

 By Sara Katan APRN, Couture Med Spa Ocoee

Some of us remember the days when we had no idea how much the sun can damage our skin. Baby oil and iodine “sunbaking” were all the rage. We thought, the more sun, the better.” How many of you, like myself,  are guilty of visiting the tanning bed almost daily to keep pale skin from looking see-through”?

Now that I work in the skincare industry, Im almost disgusted by my former behaviors and have already started to see the repercussions. My freckles are becoming a little larger and more noticeable and my once silky-smooth skin is starting to look a little more textured. Yikes!

Now, I understand that the foundation of a good skincare regimen is not necessarily the most expensive retinol cream, the best Vitamin C Serum, or even the most expensive laser (although they help a ton). Good skincare starts with the basics: Good sunscreen! And not only for those beach days, but every day!

What is Sunscreen, Really?

The answer may seem obvious. Sunscreen protects the skin from the sun. But you may find yourself asking:

  • What is sunscreen really protecting me from and how does it work?
  • Which is the right sunblock for me?
  • What ingredients should I be looking for to get the best protection?

These are all common questions clients ask me regarding their skincare. Thankfully, they have some fairly simple answers.

What are UV rays?

Ultraviolet (UV) light is a form of electromagnetic radiation that is emitted from the sun. The two main types to worry about are the Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Most of our sun exposure involves UVA rays. The energy in UVA rays can cause skin cells to age and indirect damage to the cells’ DNA. They are also linked to long term skin damage.

In non-science terms:  sunscreen protects you against those damaging sun rays! Sunscreens are a practical approach to protection for your skin. You dont need to spend long periods of time in the sun to be impacted by UV rays. So the importance of beginning sun protection at a young age cannot be emphasized enough.

What are the Different Types of Sunscreen?

When choosing a sunscreen, be sure to read the label. Sunscreens with broad-spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) and with sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher are recommended.

Many clients ask me about the SPF in sunscreen and what is the best amount. It is important to understand that the higher numbers do not necessarily mean better protection. However, keep in mind that anything under SPF 15 is not going to protect you.

There are two types of sunscreens:

  1. Physical blockers – block and scatter the rays before they penetrate your skin and contain one of two active ingredients: Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. 
  2. Chemical blockers – contain chemicals that absorb the sun’s ultraviolet rays and typically include aminobenzoic acid, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone.

What Kind of Sunscreen Should I Be Using?

The type of sunscreen you choose will really depend on your situation. For your everyday wear, physical sunscreen is great protection against the most harmful rays. The Couture Med Spas UltiMATTE Sun-Shade Sunscreen is the perfect sunscreen for your daily wear.  It is soft, has a slight tint that can match every skin type, and will have your skin feeling silky smooth.

However, the physical sunscreen that will protect you is not waterproof. If you want to spend the day at the pool or hit the beach, you may want chemical sunscreen — unless you are going to reapply each time the water washes off the product. Coutures Vitamin C Antioxidant Sunscreen is a great option for protection on those days you may be in water or perspiring a lot. Reapplication every 2 hours is still important for physical and chemical sunscreen, alike.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind, while sunscreen is the vital foundation to good skin health and younger-looking skin, it will not protect your skin from the suns damaging effects 100 percent. You should avoid the sun when it is at its strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, wear protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat and seek shade as much as possible — especially in those hot summer months — like right now.

Always remember to be good to your skin. After all, you will wear it every day for the rest of your life!

More info about UV Radiation from The American Cancer Society can be found  here