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Sunscreen: What You Need To Know About the #1 Anti-Aging Product

  • Posted on May 15, 2013 at 5:20 pm

“Trust me – sunscreen is so, so, so important.”  ~Lea Michele

Sunscreen Collage

Why is it that as soon as I decided to write about sunscreen I visualized a collective rolling of the eyes by anyone who may read this post?  I think so many people feel that sunscreen is something that they need to worry about when they’re older, when skin cancer shows up on their radar.  People may have a huge awareness of anti-aging products.  They may line their counters with the latest and greatest serums, night creams and peels, or even have regularly scheduled Botox sessions – all in an effort to try to turn back the clock of aging on their skin.  Yet they still lather on the tanning oil and bake their way to a summer tan with no idea what they’re doing to their skin.

I am known in my circle of family and friends as the Queen of Sunscreen.  I line everyone up and slather them with sunscreen – men, women, and children.  There is no option to politely decline.  If you are in my presence you will get covered.  I don’t want the people I love and care for the most to increase their risk for cancer, and I want them to have the best shot at aging gracefully.

There is so much misinformation out there about sunscreen and tanning, I had to write about this.

 

Nobody Wants Leather Skin!

Nobody Wants Leather Skin!

Sunscreen is the #1 Anti-Aging Product Out There

Forget Retinol.  Forget Peptides.  Forget Vitamin A or C.  The #1 Skin Ager is the sun!  There is nothing that you will do, nothing that you will encounter in your lifetime, that will age you as much as the sun.  All those anti-aging products you may own are just trying to reverse all of the damage you’ve done to your skin through sun exposure.  Stop it at the source!

When you’re looking at a bottle of sunscreen and you see “UVA  and UVB protection” on the label, consider the A in UVA to equate to Aging and the B in UVB to stand for Burning.  Sunscreen not only stops your skin from burning, it also acts as the best anti-aging product you can have in your arsenal.  If you want to go back to your high school reunions with skin so fresh you look like you never left – use sunscreen!  Daily.

What you do to your skin in your teens and twenties will absolutely come back to haunt you in your thirties and beyond.  We’ve all seen the leather-skinned people at the beach.  They started out tanning in their teens, either out in the sun or in the tanning beds, and it’s caught up with them.  Not a cute look!

 

The Infamous Tanning Mom

The Infamous Tanning Mom

Indoor Tanning – Stop the Madness

I know that it sucks when you’re pastey white and you have to bare your albino legs for the first time in the summer.  Trust me, as soon as summer is over I basically live in pants until the spring rolls around again.  My legs can be blinding.  I hate it.  I totally get it.  But I don’t understand actually paying someone to let you lay in a lit up tube that more than doubles your chances of getting skin cancer.  It’s like saying, “Cancer – Shmancer.  Bring it on God!”  Don’t do it!  Wearing sunscreen doesn’t mean you won’t tan.  It means you’ll tan protected.  And there are many sunless tanning products out there that give your body the same dark tan without the added boost to your risk of cancer.

 

 

Sunless Tanner Suggestions

Bare Minerals Faux Tan Body Sunless Body Tanner

Tarte Maracuja Self-Tanner & Application Mitt

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse

 

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation with SPF 15

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation with SPF 15

 

Using A Foundation with SPF is NOT Enough

Makeup that has SPF will only protect your skin if you apply a LOT of it, and reapply every 90 minutes.  Not a good look.  Also, most makeups containing SPF skimp on the UVA-blocking ingredients, which, again, are the rays that cause not only skin aging but also cancer.  The best thing you can do is use a separate broad spectrum SPF moisturizer before applying your makeup.  I have some listed in the next section.

 

 

 

Bioelements Sun Diffusing Protector

Bioelements Sun Diffusing Protector

 


How Much Broad Spectrum SPF Do You Need?

You want to choose a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum SPF” on the bottle so that you know it is protecting you from both UVA and UVB rays (protection from premature aging of the skin, burning and cancer).

 

 

Find The Right SPF For You

If You Are: Someone who only gets exposed to the sun on your daily commute to work or school, or on the occasional walk to the local store. You want protection from skin aging and the risk of skin cancer, but you know you aren’t in the sun much during the day.
Your Number: SPF 15

Bioelements Sun Diffusing Protector SPF 15 – FYI: This is my go-to daily SPF for my face.  I love it!  I don’t have to wear a moisturizer with this; it gives me all the benefits of a daily moisturizer along with the SPF.  It is not greasy.  I have had just this on as sunscreen for an unexpected day out, when I really should have bumped up to 30+, and it performs amazingly.


If You Are:
Mr. or Ms. Outdoorsy.  You love being outside!  You hike, bike, jog, garden, play sports, etc. You need protection from prolonged exposure to the sun that will decrease the risk of skin aging and skin cancer.
Your Number: SPF 30 and higher, depending on your skin

Bioelements Raydefense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen – Again with the Bioelements, because I love their products!

Aveeno Continuous Protection Lotion Face SPF 30 – This one definitely feels and acts more like a typical sunscreen on the face, but has not broken me out when I use it.  I usually apply a separate moisturizer before this to give my skin a boost.  You can have a slight white pallor left on your face; it’s something you need to blend into your skin well.  I lather this or the SPF 70 on my son when we’ll be out all day.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunblock Body Mist, SPF 45

Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Sunblock Spray, SPF 70+


If You Are:
Concerned specifically about lines, wrinkles, and sagging.  Fighting aging caused by the sun is a priority to you. You want a combination of an anti-aging moisturizer with broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection while you are out and about.
Your Number: SPF 50

Bioelements SPF 50 Facescreen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen – This lends itself better to people with combination/dry skin.  It improves the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and the feel of firmness, along with giving you the SPF of 50.  It takes the place of your daily moisturizer.  If you are very fair skinned you will still likely want a higher SPF.

 

The Facts on Skin Cancer

  • Half of all cancers in the U.S. are skin cancers (source: American Cancer Society)
  • UV ray exposure is the most preventable cause of skin cancer (source: American Academy of Dermatology)
  • One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than double a person’s chances of developing skin cancer later in life (source: The Skin Cancer Foundation)
  • A person’s risk for skin cancer doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns at any age (source: The Skin Cancer Foundation)

 

Bottom Line

Make sunscreen a priority for yourself and your family – regardless of age.  You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing so.  You’re ensuring that you’re fighting the #1 cause of aging, as well as doing what you can to decrease your risk of getting skin cancer significantly.