Sunscreen is a tricky phenomenon. We all know we should be using it, but how often do we forget to put it on, or buy a sunscreen that’s not right for our skin? We spoke to Hillary Peterson: owner of True Botanicals, sunscreen expert, and skin cancer survivor, to debunk some sunscreen myths and set us straight down the SPF path.
Myth: You don’t need to wear sunscreen if it isn’t sunny outside.
Truth: The sun ages your skin all 365 days of the year, from sunrise to sunset. Whether it’s sunny, rainy, or anything in between, make sure to keep SPF on your face.
Myth: You don’t need to wear sunscreen every day because your body needs to absorb vitamin D without a barrier.
Truth: It is true that your body needs to absorb vitamin D- but you don’t have to absorb the sun’s powerful rays on your face! Your hands or any other part of your body can do the job just fine. You should be wearing sunscreen every single day! It is the first thing you can do to prevent skin damage.
Myth: You only need to apply sunscreen in the middle of the day when the sun is strongest.
Truth: Nope, nope, nope! Your skin should be protected ALL DAY, EVERY DAY.
Myth: You only need to put sunscreen on your face
Truth: While you do need to put it on your face, don’t forget about your neck and chest. You want to make sure that any anti-aging and sun protection extend over these areas so it looks as equally cared for as your face.
Myth: Sunscreen makes your skin greasy.
Truth: Well, that is actually true. Many sunscreens make your skin look shiny because they have waxes in them. These waxes can cause your pores to clog, which can result in acne and greasy skin, so stay away from sunscreens made with wax. That’s why we LOVE the True Nature Botanicals everyday sheer coverage SPF – no wax!
Myth: All sunscreens are created equal.
Truth: Make sure to check the ingredient list for titanium dioxide, as this is something you want to stay away from. This is a mineral seen in many sunscreens, and it is a physical barrier to the sun’s rays (as opposed to a chemical barrier), however still is not stable when exposed to sunlight and can pose health concerns.
When you use a sunscreen with titanium dioxide, you are using it in nano-particle form. This can be harmful because if it absorbs into your bloodstream your body can’t process it, so it breaks down very quickly and settles in your organs.
Chemical sunscreens also aren’t as effective, as they aren’t actually repelling the rays. They absorb the sun’s rays, and create energy in your skin as the rays are being broken down. Having all of this energy in your skin can be irritating and worsen rosacea or acne.
Both titanium dioxide and chemical sunscreens are not as stable when they are exposed to sunlight and both pose health concerns.
A physical sunscreen (zinc-oxide) is the way to go as it bounces the sun’s rays off of your skin. It’s soothing, and won’t irritate any skin conditions the same way that a chemical sunscreen would.
Some tips to help your keep your skin from aging with you:
- Don’t exfoliate in the morning, save it for your bedtime routine! By removing dead skin and natural sun protective oils in the morning, you are photosensitizing your skin to the sun’s rays – not good.
- Look for sunscreen made with anti-oxidants because they help neutralize the free radicals generated by sun exposure.
- Use anti-oxidants before and after sunscreen exposure.
- Don’t use products with citrus oils in your face in the morning because they also photosensitize your skin. If you are going to use a vitamin C treatment or serum, do it in the evening
- If you are looking for a matte look, try a mineral sunscreen (made without wax) as they tend to be less shiny.
- Using two tones of tinted SPF can help even skin tone while also keeping makeup light.
If you have realized after reading this that you totally need to switch up your sunscreen game, here are some of our favorites:
- True Botanicals Everyday Sheer Coverage
- Burnout Sunscreen (for your body)
- Badger Sunscreen (also for your body)