Updated: May 12, 2021
If you leave this site with nothing else remember this- WEAR SUNSCREEN. Take it from someone who used to purposefully bask and burn in the sun to "dry out" my breakouts. I now suffer from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots) caused by the sun on my cheeks. The rays from the sun are far more powerful than we can imagine. Sunscreen is the single, most effective protectant from the sun. It protects our skin from UVA and UVB rays.
A common misconception is that sunscreen is not necessary if it is cloudy or snowing. Up to 80% of UV light can penetrate through the clouds. Ultraviolet light is present through rain, snow, sleet, or shine. Another misconception is that the sunscreen in cosmetics is sufficient for daily protection. Most of us do not wear enough makeup to adequately take the place of a physical sunscreen.
What does the numerical value on your SPF mean? UBV rays damage the outermost layers of the skin while UVA light penetrates deeper than UVB light and is more so associated with skin aging. SPF does not indicate whether your skin is being protected by UVA light. The number associated with your bottle of sunscreen, when multiplied by the time spent outside before burning, supposedly indicates the amount of minutes of protection your sunscreen is offering you. 10 minutes without burning x SPF 20 = 200 minutes of protection. This calculation has not been proven totally accurate due to factors including altitude, the time of year, distance from the equator, and skin type.
SPF requirements varies depending on the individual's Fitzpatrick type.
Types 1& 2 are recommended to use an SPF of 50 or higher
Types 3, 4, 5 & 6 are recommended to use minimum of 15-30 SPF
When choosing the right sunscreen for you, it is important to look for the words "broad-spectrum." This indicates that your chosen bottle offers not only UVB protection, but UVA protection as well.
Oily skin types should choose a matte finish sunscreen
Dry skin types will benefit from rich balms and creams
Sensitive skin types should look for sunscreens with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide
Most importantly, remember that the “best” sunscreen, is the one that you will wear.