Sunscreen: How to Make Sure You Are Properly Protected
We can all agree that sunscreen is the most important part of your skincare routine. It protects you against the sun’s harmful rays that cause skin cancer and photoaging. We recommend applying sunscreen to your face and neck every day (yes...every day - even in winter!). But are you applying enough to get the full protection it promises?
Often, people apply sunscreen the same way they would apply their moisturizer - a single pump, or about the size of a nickel. This provides some protection, but you are probably not getting the full coverage you need! When it comes to sunscreen, less is NOT more.
Before I get into how MUCH sunscreen you should be using, let's talk about what kind of sunscreen you should be looking for. Look for an SPF of at least 30, and even higher is great too...but don’t let that SPF 100 lure you into a false sense of security! You should still re-apply every 2-3 hours and you still need to apply the adequate amount. Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen, meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays. When it comes to chemical sunscreen vs mineral sunscreen I don’t have a strong opinion - as long as you are protected I am happy! If you find that sunscreen causes you irritation, reach for a fragrance free physical (sometimes called mineral) sunscreen. My favorite is Revision Skincare Intellishade TruPhysical. If you don’t like the feeling of sunscreen, I highly recommend EltaMD UV Clear! It was made for oily and acneic skin types - so you won't feel weighed down and it has niacinamide to help repair your skin barrier, reduce inflammation, and treat hyperpigmentation.
Now how much to use? The official answer is 2mg or sunscreen is needed for every square cm of skin. This is what the FDA requires sunscreens to be tested at. Roughly, this equals to about ½ teaspoon for most people. This of course can vary person to person depending on your face and neck size, but it's a good place to start. I can’t expect you to measure out your sunscreen every morning, so here are a few tricks I use to make sure I’m getting allllll the protection.
1: Measure on your fingers! Take your sunscreen and fill two fingers worth. This is the measuring method I use the most of the time.
2. Double application. Apply a layer of spf, then do it again! Layering your spf makes sure you apply enough and that every inch of your face and neck is protected.
3. Measure out enough spf to equal the size of a quarter. A very generous quarter :)
Lastly, wearing enough sunscreen still doesn’t protect you 100%. An SPF 50 sunscreen filters 98% of the sun’s rays. Physical protection is essential too! Please wear a big hat, sun protective clothing, sunglasses, and seek shade. Now let’s bring on summer!