Half of a truck drivers face due to sun damage (right) while driving, while the other half was covered by the interior of the truck (left)
Before getting into it — YES, you should wear sunscreen year-round, not just in the summer. In fact you may need to re-apply SPF multiple times a day. Sunscreen is the best skincare product you can use for your skin for many reasons we’ll dive into. Along with reasons why you should be wearing sunscreen daily, we will recommend the best SPF products out there based on what you are looking for.
Why Should I Wear Sunscreen Daily?
- Protects your skin from year-round UV rays that can cause sunburn, skin cancer, blotchiness and redness
- Your skin is exposed to UV rays and damage year round, which means you should wear sunscreen year-round. We associate summer with sunscreen because we spend more time outside during the summer months; however, sun damage still occurs even with an hour of sun exposure each day.
- Anti-Aging — Sunscreen prevents irreversible UV damage that causes wrinkles, aging and sagging of the skin
- Prevents sun spots and skin discoloration
What is Broad Spectrum Sunscreen and Why Do I Need It?
Broad spectrum sunscreen is also known as full spectrum sunscreen. There are three different types of UV rays that are produced by the sun and they cause different types of damage to our skin. The three UV ray types are UVA, UVB and UVC. Each type of UV ray has a varying wavelength with UVC being the smallest.
UVA rays are the rays that cause sunburn if you are prone to it. Pigmentation in the skin can protect you from most of the damage associated with these rays. UVB rays penetrate deep into our skin and cause permanent skin damage that accumulates over time. You see the results of this sun damage after 30 years old as your skin slows down collagen production after your 20s. UVB is the type of UV ray that can cause skin cancers. Finally, UVC rays have the shortest wavelengths which means they are weaker and are absorbed by the ozone layer.
Do I Really Need to Apply Sunscreen Every 2 Hours?
Not always. Contrary to the popular belief, sunscreen only degrades while in contact with UV rays. Two hours of total sun exposure typically leaves you without any sun protectant left on the skin. This means that if you are at the pool, after 2 hours your sunscreen is inactive.
Now lets look at another scenario — Lets say you have a 30 minute drive to work; then you’re indoors til lunch; at lunch you’re outside for 45 minutes; and then you drive home for 30 minutes again in the evening. Your total sun exposure for the day is 1 hour and 45 minutes, which means your sunscreen is still intact for 15 more minutes and you do not have to re-apply 2 hours after you first applied it.
What Are the Best Sunscreens?
Most Skin Enhancing
Benefit Dream Screen (SPF 45; $32.00 for 1.52 FL. OZ.) — This sunscreen is a chemical sunscreen with a watery consistency. There is also a ball to break up coagulated SPF. This SPF minimizes pores, has a matte finish with no white cast and is oil-free.
Best Expensive Sunscreen
Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum (SPF 50; $65.00 for 1.7 FL. OZ.) — This formula goes beyond UVA and UVB protection to also shield your skin from blue light, pollution and infrared radiation, which can also cause premature skin aging and damage.
Best Overall Sunscreen
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt In Sunscreen Milk (SPF 60; $36 for 5 FL. OZ.) — A sunscreen designed for all skin types, this formula is a soft matte that won’t dry your skin out and won’t make you look greasy like many sunscreens tend to. This formula is also paraben-free, fragrance-free and tinted so it does not cause a white cast. You’re also getting the best bang for your buck at $7.20 per ounce.
Here are a few final notes on sunscreen:
- Windows, clouds and rain do not protect you from sun damage
- During the day hours, even if the sun isn’t out, you should still apply sunscreen
- Sun damage does not show itself immediately, but later in life — so protect yourself now
- If you want to apply sunscreen throughout the day or over makeup, it is often easier to use a powder sunscreen (Tarte or SuperGoop) or a sunscreen setting spray (Kate Somerville or SuperGoop)
- Remember, the #1 reason to wear sunscreen is to protect your skin from future skin cancers such as melanomas and carcinomas
- Although brands market sunscreens higher than SPF 35, you do not gain any additional benefits past SPF 35
Now that you know how to care for your skin in the sun, check out our Pool Safety Guide.
*Please note the Parrish Law Firm is not comprised of healthcare professionals and this article does not contain medical advice. We always encourage folks to check with their doctors in the event of questions about health related matters.