Sunscreen Mistakes to Avoid
I have a love/hate relationship with sunscreen. I know, I shouldn’t be saying that. It’s not good for business. I DO NOT dispute its benefits. Diligent daily application of sunscreen will significantly reduce your risk of melanoma by 50%*, the #1 cancer killer for women ages 25-30 AND reduce early signs of aging.** Sunscreen is unique in that a good one, used correctly, can have big health benefits – not something you can say for your lipgloss.
What I hate about sunscreen is that because I have oily skin, the last thing I want to put on my face is a thick, oily paste that will make my face feel so tacky I could trap flies and a white cast that makes me look like an extra from the Twilight movie. Not a fetching look. Unless you want to date a vampire.
Here are three common mistakes to avoid when selecting and applying sunscreen:
Zinc oxide is queen
When you are looking for a sunscreen, look for zinc oxide as the first listed ingredient in concentrations of at least 5%. It’s the gold standard in effectively blocking UVA and UVB rays. Anything else is bush league. Zinc oxide is a naturally occurring mineral that is required for human cellular function and promotes skin health. It has been used in dermatology as a therapy for eczema, burns, and in calamine lotion and applied by mothers to their babies’ bottoms for over a century. The issue that many people, including myself, have with zinc oxide is that it leaves a whitish or pasty film. Think lifeguards and snowboarders with white stripes of lotion down their nose.
So when Margot and I started this skincare journey, we were determined to only carry sunscreens that absorbed quickly into the skin and didn’t leave a white cast. Easier said than done. We tried over a dozen sunscreens and if we had to brace ourselves before applying the sunscreen it was a no-go. Luckily, we were fortunate to find a couple of formulations that passed muster and are proud to feature them here on our site.
Higher isn’t always better
SPF refers to the Sun Protection Factor and it measures how effective it is in blocking out UVB rays. I recommend a minimum of SPF 15 to 30. Why not higher? Because SPF of 50+ does not significantly offer more sun protection than SPF 30 and we would be walking around with a false sense of security that the higher SPF is protecting us more than it really is. To illustrate my point, see the chart below:
SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays
As you can see, doubling the SPF from 15 to 30 only increases your protection by 4%. Stick to a SPF 15-30 and reapply every two hours if you are going to be outdoors.
You’re probably applying your sunscreen wrong
I know I have. For years, I rubbed sunscreen over my skin like I was polishing silver. The proper way to apply your sunscreen is to squeeze dots of product all over your face and pat them into the skin. Do not rub. Pat, pat, pat.
As mentioned in Margot’s post about your basic skincare routine, sunscreen is always the last step.
Soak up the sun guilt-free and slather it on babies.
Your sunscreen cheerleader, Kim