It’s the early 90’s and just like many of you, I was hitting the tanning beds, HARD! I was obsessed with having the perfect glow all year round, but never realized how silly and orange I actually looked. I mean who has a tan in the dead of winter in Delaware?! But what I didn’t know, at the time, was the impact those tanning bed sessions would have on my skin fifteen years later.
Now, at 32 years old, I’m seeing the effects. Recently, I had a small, sun damage spot removed from my nose. And while it was only minor, it was eye opening about how little we all know about sunscreen! I realized the importance of educating my patients about sunscreen, helping people avoid sun damage and reverse the many years of harsh sun exposure. While many of you just want to know what my favorite sunscreen is (trust me, I’ll let you in on that later) let’s start with the basics!
First, all sunscreens are not created equal. While many of us know about SPF and perhaps the difference between physical vs. chemical sunscreens, it’s more important to know what a sunscreen is actually protecting you from, in order to choose the right product for you. You may have heard of UVB and UVA rays; UVB rays cause sunburns (it’s nature’s early warning system to get out of the sun) and UVA rays cause skin cancer.
But what about HEV? This lesser known term refers to high-energy visible light. The sun emits most of the HEV light that we are exposed to but it can also be found in tech devices such as cell phones, laptops, computers, as well as fluorescent light bulbs—which we are all using a lot more of these days! HEV penetrates much deeper into the layers of the skin than UVA and UVB rays—so HEV light is no joke. There are also IR-A rays. These are infrared, invisible to the eye and especially harmful in high dose exposures. The cumulative effects of exposure to HEV light and IR-A rays can result in premature aging and an increase in production of free radicals formed in the skin.
Now, I’m not trying to scare you, but what sunscreen you put on your face is incredibly crucial to having long-lasting beautiful skin. There are many products out there that promise high-levels of sun protection but are barely scratching the surface of protection. That’s why I’m such a fan of Dr. Obagi’s ZO line of sun protection, which includes Triple-Spectrum Protection. It’s formulated with fractionated melanin to provide advanced protection from harmful HEV light. Plus, all of ZO’s sunscreens contain ZOX12® to infuse the skin with vitamins A, C, and E for continuous antioxidant protection against free radical damage and the harmful effects of IR-A rays.
My patients invest a lot of time and energy to achieve healthy glowing skin – I would hate for it to be sabotaged by subpar sunscreen. So, when I tell you all sunscreens are not created equal, now you know why!
I cannot stress enough the importance of reapplying your sunscreen every two hours! You will only get the ultimate benefits of sunscreen if you reapply every two hours. Why? Because SPF is only fully effective for a few hours after you put it on. And reapplying can do more than just prevent sunburn. UV radiation can cause collagen to break down at a higher rate than normal aging which means more wrinkles and sagging skin. We definitely don’t want that! Also, if you’ve received cheek or lip fillers, sunscreen can prevent the breakdown of hyaluronic acid and increase longevity of the treatments. Who doesn’t want to keep their fillers plump and perfect!
Sunscreen in Makeup
You may have seen many brands putting out powders, concealers, or tinted moisturizers with SPF, claiming that this is the best way to get your daily dose of sunscreen. Don’t rely on your makeup with SPF to protect you! Makeup with sunscreen takes 7x the normal application to reach the SPF number on the label. While it is still great to use a makeup product that has SPF in it, I suggest applying a sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection prior to applying your makeup. This way you’re getting all the benefits of sunscreen with an extra boost from your makeup product.
Which Sunscreen Suits You?
It’s pretty obvious, I only choose to wear ZO sunscreen protection. But which one is my favorite? Truthfully, I don’t have a favorite—I love them all for different reasons!
Most workdays, I wear ZO Sunscreen + Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30. My skin has red undertones and I like how this product reduces the red and evens out my skin tone, while revealing a beautiful silky finish. I also choose to wear this sunscreen + primer in the evening when I am going out because it helps achieve a more flawless makeup application.
Now most of you know, my husband and I try and spend as much of our free time outside as possible. On the weekends and on vacation, we always wear ZO Daily Sheer Broad Spectrum SPF 50. The reason we choose this sunscreen is because it provides water and perspiration resistance for up to 80 minutes. The non-greasy, matte finish keeps me looking refreshed and protected all day long. It is very easy to reapply, too.
ZO Smart Tone Broad Spectrum SPF 50 seems to be a favorite with my patients, and I know why. It provides a bronzed dewy finish which makes your skin look gorgeous without makeup. Patients wanting a straight-forward sunscreen for their face and body that also offers the Broad-Spectrum coverage, my go-to is ZO Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50.
And my newest love is ZO Sunscreen + Powder SPF 40. In the past, I’ve always struggled to reapply sunscreen. It is especially difficult if I have make-up on or I’m working up a sweat, so I am excited ZO introduced Sunscreen + Powder. It’s a lightweight, on-the-go powder sunscreen that protects your skin from the damage caused by UVA/UVB and HEV light. It contains oil-absorbing properties that minimize my shine but retain hydration. It provides buildable coverage with luminosity for instant complexion perfection. I love that the brush head is removable, so I can clean it easily. It truly is the perfect addition to my skincare routine, and yours too!
How Do You Choose?
Personally, I need all of these sunscreens in my skincare toolbox. I like having different sunscreen options depending on the time of year and what activity I’m doing—what sunscreen I wear out at night is totally different than when I’m just running errands.
Sunscreen is one of the fastest growing categories in the skincare space. New products are hitting the shelves everyday. Keeping up with the latest and greatest can be challenging, so I hope my sunscreen 411 will make it a little easier when it comes to choosing the right sunscreen for your skin and lifestyle. In summary, DON’T skip the sunscreen and remember….REAPPLY!
if you purchase two sunscreens of your choice (for example, Smart Tone and Daily Sheer), you’ll receive a complimentary Tote Bag with a Travel Size Sunscreen + Primer!
CLICK HERE to email us about this offer. We are happy to provide curbside pickup or ship directly to you.