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Skin Care & Beauty Tips

SPF is your BFF

  • Lauren Molter
  • Blog

It’s the peak of summertime and as your friendly Esthetcian, I am here to remind you to not only use SPF, but to reapply it. Many people suffer sunburns regardless of applying their sunscreen, because reapplication is just as important as applying it in the first place! So how does SPF work, and what are the rules with reapplication?

There are two different types of sunscreen. First there is physical sunblock which sits on the surface of the skin and quite literally, physically blocks the sun. Usually, physical sunblock will contain ingredients such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. This is ideal for more sensitive skin types because these ingredients actually have anti inflammatory benefits for the skin. Physical sunblock will begin working right after you apply it.

The second type of sunscreen is chemical sunscreen. This contains ingredients such as Avobenzone and Octinoxate which create a chemical reaction on the surface of the skin. These chemicals absorb UV rays, convert them into heat and then release them from the body. Because of the heating effect this creates, chemical sunscreen is best suited for skin that doesn’t have sensitivities. Chemical sunscreen usually starts working 15 minutes after application.

All Dermalogica and Jane Iredale SPF are Broad Spectrum. This means that they protect against UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are the strongest and are responsible for causing sunburns and skin cancers.

For the most part, sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours. However, it’s important to factor in water exposure with sweating and swimming. In most cases with water exposure, sunscreen will only last about 40 minutes to an hour. So it’s important to take breaks, reapply and seek shade from the intensity of the sun.

So what’s the difference between different grades of SPF? The higher the SPF, the higher percentage of UVB rays it will block. For example, SPF 25 will allow you to be outside 25 times longer without burning than without SPF and will block about 96% of UVB rays. SPF 50 will allow you to be outside 50 times longer without burning than without SPF and will block 98% of UVB rays.

It’s a myth that you will not tan if you use SPF. Think of toasting a marshmallow. If you put the marshmallow directly in the fire, it will catch on fire and burn until it’s black. If you keep the marshmallow a healthy distance away from the flame, it will slowly toast into a golden brown. The same concept applies with the sun. Wearing SPF will create gentle exposure to the sun and you will still get a healthy sun kissed look, just without burning your skin.

Sun damage can cause skin cancer, but it will also cause a breakdown of collagen and elastin, leading to premature aging of the skin. SPF is your BFF because it will save your life and will make you look younger!

If you need help selecting the right Dermalogica or Jane Iredale sunscreen, I am your SPF fairy. I look forward to seeing you this summer!