There are lots of misconceptions when it comes to wearing sunscreen and how to apply it properly. We all like to have fun in the sun, but let’s make sure we’re doing it safely. 

Understanding UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) Rays

The sun emits UVA and UVB rays every single day. Aestheticians refer to UVB rays as ‘burning’ rays because they’re responsible for causing harsh sunburns on the skin. UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and can only reach the superficial layers of the skin. UVA rays are referred to as ‘aging’ rays because although they don’t burn the skin, they cause damage we can only see later on in life as age thins our skin. UVA rays are known to be the culprit for skin cancer and have a much longer wavelength reaching deeper into the skin, causing severe damage.

Proper use of Sunscreen

One of the biggest mistakes people make with sunscreen is only applying once a day. On the front of the bottle, there’s an abbreviation SPF which stands for Sun Protection Factor. There’s usually a number next to it, such as 15 or 30 and so on. A common misconception that oscillates in the world of sunscreen is that this number means the amount of minutes you have before needing to reapply your sunscreen. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, SPF 30 means you have about 3% of UVB rays hitting the skin than if you had not been wearing any sunscreen. The higher the SPF number, the lower the percentage of UVB rays penetrating the skin capping at a 99% protection rate. But don’t forget that you still need protection from the UVA rays as well, so you want to look for the words “broad spectrum” on the front of the bottle, offering protection against both types of rays. 

Another misconception is the belief that wearing SPF 50+ or 100+ means you don’t have to reapply. Wearing a high SPF sunscreen does NOT mean you’re excused from reapplying your sunscreen or safe without being in the shade. Heat, UV rays, and sweating break down the efficacy of your sunscreen.

I recommend wearing SPF 50 and applying every 2 hours as you’re outside. Even if you’re not going to be outside all day long, it’s still essential to apply your SPF at least once before heading out. 

Did you know

Light fixtures at the grocery store, at your work office, and even in your home can be damaging to the skin as well. If you’re staying home, you still need to think about the UV damage coming from standing next to a window or from the walk to the mailbox. When it comes to fighting age, sunscreen is one of the most powerful anti-aging products on the market because 80-85% of premature aging is caused by sun exposure. 

How to Apply Sunscreen

When you apply your sunscreen, it’s best to do it after applying your daily moisturizer and before makeup application. I recommend NOT buying a moisturizer mixed in with a high number of SPF. Usually, the ingredients of sunscreen contradict the ability of product penetration, meaning you’re not hydrating the skin. It’s always best to keep the two products separate. 

Have you ever wondered how to reapply your sunscreen when you’re wearing makeup?

Many people believe they should always remove their makeup just to put on SPF — this is not the case. Fortunately, as technology has advanced, so has skincare and sunscreen products. There are tons of setting sprays that contain SPF 50+ just for this reason. Now your skin and makeup can stay protected all day long! 

I genuinely hope this information helps you to stay sun safe on your Novuskin journey to a healthy glow.

Author: Gwendolyn B., Diagnostics Specialist

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