Sunscreen– it’s literally the most important skincare product and step in any skincare routine.
For everybody.And yet, especially among young women my age, it is often overlooked or passed up for more glamorous or flashy products and potions... even by total skincare enthusiasts!
Sunscreen - What Younger Women Need to Know
I did a poll on my personal Instagram last week asking how many of my friends wore (or at least tried!) to wear sunscreen daily, and out of over 90 respondents81% of them said they did not even try to wear sunscreen on a daily basis.
The respondents were all (save but 2) girls in their late teens to mid twenties, and several of them even messaged me about the poll directly and shared why they did not wear sunscreen.The most common reason I got was that they knew theyshould, but risks like skin cancer and premature aging seemed so far off that they simply didn’t feel the motivation to add in the extra step of sunscreen to their daily skin care routines.Hold up.Remember how I started this post off by saying that sunscreen is the most important part of absolutely any skincare routine?I wasn’t joking, and here’s why: - sunscreen is the only part of your skincare routine that could literally save your life.
A Matter Of Life and Death
According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime– and those who develop aggressive, malignant skin cancers like melanomas (especially when they are not caught early on) can have deadly consequences.So, when it is so easy to apply daily sunscreen and protect ourselves from such easily avoidable sun damage and elevated skin cancer risk, why would so many young women be passing on this super important step?
It Seems So Far Away
Well… like many of my friends wrote, the sun damage, cancer risk, and premature aging can seem far off when you are younger!Even though up to 80% of skin aging is actually sun damage… it just doesn’t seem like something we need to worry about yet– so it takes a back seat to other very real and valid skin care concerns like acne that we see in real time on a daily basis.The thing is, sun damageis occurring in real time on a daily basis…!
The Damage is Happening. Right. Now.
Research has shown that sun damage begins the minute you are exposed to daylight.Not justsunlight, mind you– but daylight from sun up to sun down, in cloudy weather or full sun, and even indoors or while driving and sitting in the car through glass windows.
So even on a day where you will be at home lounginging around and not doing much of anything other than watching Netflix in your PJs, you still want to apply sunscreen and then ideally reapply it about two more times throughout the day.If you’re going to be outside in the sun, sun basking or just walking around, not just in and out of your office, home or car, you will need to be sure and reapply your sunscreen every two hours, and be as diligent about that as possible too!
If you are using a chemical sunscreen it is even more important to reapply often because many of the chemical components (especially components such as avobenzone that are used to block out UVA light– the light most responsible for penetrating deep into your skin and causing DNA damage and aging as well as skin cancer risk) are not light stable and begin to break down when they are exposed to sunlight– that means that after about an hour, a significant percentage has already become inactive.After two hours, so much of it has broken down that you will need to reapply to keep receiving the sun protection benefits!
Mineral based sunscreens (which we recommend) offer physical protection from sun damage by using minerals to physically block UV light from the skin, and while they do not break down and become ineffective like many chemical sunscreen ingredients, if you are going to be out under the sun for a concentrated period of time, you will still need to reapply them every two hours for maximum effectiveness because they wear off as we go about our daily activities from sweat, friction, and contact.
Essentially, when in doubt reapply your sunscreen!It’s hard to over do it in the sun protection department.
Plus, another intriguing mineral ingredient to look for when picking out your sunscreen? Iron oxides.While many traditionally employed mineral sunscreen ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide do an incredible job blocking out UVA and UVB light,new research has been pointing to the ability of iron oxides to block out light from the visible light spectrum as well– an often overlooked category in sunscreen formulaseven though visible light is responsible for 50% of the oxidative stress endured by skin.This means that the addition of iron oxides offers a unique benefit that cannot be found in purely chemical-based formulations– a benefit that could make you daily sunscreen routine even more relevant when it comes to visible results as it has been shown help to fade and reduce melasmas in a way that no other sunscreen ingredients previously have. That’s pretty cool!
Avoiding The White Cast
The last thing I wanted to touch on is something a couple of my friends mentioned when we were talking about sunscreen habits– that they would wear sunscreen more, but they hate the white cast it gives them… especially when it comes to mineral based sunscreens. If you wear mineral based sunscreen, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about here!The good news is there is a super easy fix. A fix, in fact, that not only helps to minimize the white cast but also to maximize your sun protection. I know, it almost sounds too good to be true… but I promise it’s not!
Mineral Foundation Fix
Although you don’t want to apply any skincare products over top of your sunscreen for fear of diluting it or shifting it around, applying your mineral makeup on top of it is completely fine and it can really help to effectively camouflage that white glow of sunscreen without moving it around or thinning it out too much– in practice it will actually just add in another layer of mineral sun protection to help give your sunscreen a little boost!Love that!!All in all, sunscreen is important at any and every age.Even though sun damaged skin may seem far off,prevention is the most important and effective way to keep premature aging and heightened skin cancer risks ay bay.The work you put in with daily sunscreen wear in your 20s and 30s will continue to pay off in big wayslong after for many years to come.
It’s never too early for sunscreen– and one thing’s for certain– your skin will love you for it!
Abby is a photographer and blogger who never says no to a hot cup of tea or a new shade of lipstick. She lives in Monterey, CA with her husband where they enjoy hiking, cooking/eating everything vegan, and basically living the (neat and tidy) hippie dream. You can follow her @abby.roe.photo on instagram.
Lisa's Notes: I can not tell you how it hurts me to see the results of the poll - that you beautiful young women are not protecting your future selves because it feels so far away.STOP. Start NOW. Look to your future self, and be good to her. Begin today. Right now. Wear your sunscreen daily. And be sure to wear it on your throat and neck and hands. Your future beauty will thank you.