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Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what SPF and the numbers mean! GMA is always here to help out! Let us decode the anti-aging must-have beauty product! Sunscreen 101!
First! Let’s do the Definitions.
SPF or sunburn protection factor indicates the UVB/sunburn protection provided by sunscreen. Generally, the higher the SPF, the less UVB that passes through. We recommend a minimum of SPF 30, which blocks nearly 97% of UVB radiation and SPF 50 blocks about 98%. Yes, that also means that the SPF part is not indicative of the amount of UVA (aging rays) protection from the sunscreen. The amount of UVA protection is dependent on the ingredients. For UVA protection (and UVB protection), we highly recommend sunscreens with the mineral ingredient, zinc oxide. Another easy way is to look for sunscreens labelled ‘broad spectrum’ to ensure you receive adequate protection from UVA as well as from UVB.
UVA & UVB
UV radiation is a form of electromagnetic energy. It can come from natural sources such as sunlight as well, as well as artificial sources, such as lasers, black lights and tanning beds.
UVA rays account for 95% of our sun exposure. They cause skin aging and contribute to skin cancer. UVA rays penetrate deeply into the skin layers, damaging collagen and cells which leads to premature skin aging, hyperpigmentation and loss of elasticity. They are present all day long, 365 days a year, and Yes! Even on a cloudy or snowy day.
UVB rays affect the skin’s top layer and are the primary cause of skin cancer, sunburns and discolouration. They harm the outermost layers of the skin and directly damage the DNA.
Types of Protection! Difference between physical and chemical sunscreen ingredients:
Physical Ingredients also known as mineral blockers, these are made of titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or a combo of the two. “The minerals sit on the top layer of skin and form a physical shield or barrier, so the sun’s rays bounce or reflect off,” Zinc oxide is a natural mineral that is safe even on the most sensitive skin, including post-procedure skin and babies 6 months or older. It blocks both UVB (burning) and UVA (aging) rays that have been linked to photoaging and skin cancer.
Chemical Ingredients typically use a combination of ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octocrylene, which absorb into the top layer of skin. These chemical blockers then absorb the sun’s rays and inactivate them.
Application. How to put on sunscreen like a pro?
Sunscreen should be applied every day regardless of rain or shine. The best practice is to apply a minimum of SPF 30 in the morning, ideally 30 minutes before being exposed to the sun, and you should reapply every two hours or as needed. The ideal dosage to apply is 1 teaspoon for the face and neck. 7 teaspoons or 35ml of sunscreen for one full body application. The sunscreen should be the last step in your skincare routine, so you should apply this after your serum and moisturizer. Remember to be thorough when applying sunscreen, your feet and the back of your hands are the 2 areas people often miss, as well as the ears, sides and the back of your neck, around the eyes, and on your eyelids. Be sure to re-apply every two hours if you are outdoors.
GMA’s Staff’s Pick-EltaMD Sun Care
Other great ways to add additional protection to the harmful UV:
- Wear SPF-protected clothing, swimwear, hat and sunglasses. Wearing long sleeves for extra coverage and protection
- Pile on natural fruits and veggies, and now Bend Anti-Aging Formula, to create a healthy skin that is thick and resilient. Bend Skincare Anti-Aging Formula is the most innovative supplements which deliver extra UV protection thanks to antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein, which neutralize free radicals generated by sun exposure.
- Get regular checkups by the dermatologist for early diagnosis of signs of skin lesion
Last but not least, Please! Wear your SPF. Every. Single. Day.
If you would like to seek expert advice on sun protection and a skincare regimen that work best for your unique skin, please contact us to book a complementary consultation!