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The Ultimate SPF Guide

Sun Care & Self-Tanning

The Ultimate SPF Guide The Ultimate SPF Guide The Ultimate SPF Guide

At some point in your day you will most likely find yourself outside, exposing your skin to the sun’s rays. Even if you are indoors, some UV rays can pass through glass windows and reach your skin. Applying a broad spectrum SPF daily, rain or shine, 365 days a year, is a crucial component in preserving your skin’s youthful integrity as the sun can cause irreversible damage below the skin’s surface. This damage can lead to the development of premature signs of skin aging like fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. UV damage can also make skin more likely to sag as you age and can worsen existing spots and lines on the skin. A bronzed glow will fade, but the damage the sun causes your skin will remain and worsen over time. So, get in the habit of applying broad spectrum SPF daily and read on for tips to protect your skin and preserve its beauty for the years to come.

What level SPF should you buy?

There are many levels of SPF available ranging from 2 to 50+. The varying numbers represent the amount of UV radiation that will be absorbed by the SPF. Typically, it is recommended to not go lower than SPF 15. When choosing which option will best suit your needs consider how vulnerable you are willing to leave your skin to the suns’ rays.

  1. SPF 15: This level of sun protection will absorb 93 percent of UVB radiation. While no sunscreen can block 100 percent of harmful rays, SPF 15 will leave your skin vulnerable to about seven percent of UVB radiation. SPF 15 is best for daily use if you don’t find yourself outside that often – about less than twenty minutes at a time.

  2. SPF 30: SPF 30 will absorb 97 percent of UVB rays. This level with offer better protection than SPF 15 and is more highly recommended if you spend more than 20 minutes at a time outside at any given time throughout the day.

  3. SPF 50: The highest level, currently recommended, SPF 50 will absorb 98 percent of UVB rays.

The SPF level isn’t the only thing you should consider when choosing a sunscreen option. You should look for sunscreens that are labeled as either multi spectrum, broad spectrum, or UVA/UVB protection. It is important that your SPF offer broad spectrum protection, because you will want a formula that can shield your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays will only block rays that burn the outer layer of the skin, while UVA rays, , penetrate the skin more deeply and can ignite and accelerate the breakdown of essential skin fibers that keep your skin plump, elastic and firm. It is also responsible for skin cancer. Additionally, when choosing a sunscreen, it’s important to determine if you need a water-resistant formula. Water resistant formulas can suit those who may tend to sweat throughout the day or those who plan to swim outdoors. SPFs that are labeled as water resistant will maintain their SPF level for 40 to 80 minutes after water exposure; after that time has expired you should reapply it to your skin.

It’s also important to use a sunscreen formulated for your body on your body only and not on your face – as the heavier formulas may clog pores and appear greasy.

What products other than sunscreen contain SPF?

Sunscreen is a great choice when looking for a skin care product with SPF, but there are other options that are great for daily use:

  1. Daily moisturizer. You should moisturize every morning after cleansing, so if you already are following a basic skin care regimen, this SPF-moisturizer combination will be a hard step to skip. Try using a daily moisturizer with broad-spectrum protection, like RevitaLift® Triple Power™ Day Lotion Moisturizer SPF 20, to keep your skin protected throughout the day.

  2. Tinted moisturizer or foundation. A tinted moisturizer will offer lightweight coverage and provide your skin the protection from the sun’s rays too. You can also get more complete skin coverage by looking for a foundation with SPF.

  3. Facial Oil. Facial oil with SPF, like Age Perfect® Hydra-Nutrition Facial Oil Broad Spectrum SPF 30 will not only protect your skin against cell damaging UVA rays, but also against free radical damage that can age your skin too. The lightweight, non-greasy oil will act as a barrier on the outer layer of the skin; sealing in the good ingredients from your other skin care products and keeping out UVA rays, UVB rays and pollutants.

  4. Self tanners. A good option if you’re looking to protect your face and body from the sun, but still want to have a natural glow, some self tanners provide broad-spectrum protection and hydrating ingredients. Try Sublime Bronze Summer Express Wash-Off Face Bronzer Cream with broad spectrum SPF 20, that provides weightless coverage on its own or wear it under makeup.

What is the right way to apply SPF?

You may know that applying SPF, in any form whether from a sunscreen, moisturizer or facial oil, everyday better protects your skin against premature and common signs of aging. But, did you know that how you apply it can be just as important as the level you buy and the kind of formula you use? Here are the fundamental SPF application tips to keep in mind:

  1. Apply 30 minutes before going outside. It takes about 15 minutes for sunscreen formulas to fully absorb into dry skin – so add in some extra time to be sure that the formula has fully absorbed. Also keep skin dry and avoid sweating during this time.

  2. Focus on your face first. Make sure you use enough SPF to cover your neck, chest, face and ears completely and that the formula has entirely absorbed before applying any makeup or other skin care products. Don’t forget about your lips; look for a balm that also has SPF.

  3. Then apply SPF to the rest of your body or areas that will be exposed to the sun. It’s important that you cover any area of the skin that may be exposed to the sun throughout your day – especially the tops of your hands – and tops of your feet if exposed. These areas of the body can wrinkle and develop sunspots just like your face. Also, be sure to apply the right amount. Many people apply too little sunscreen, for most, the right amount of sunscreen to cover your body should fill the palm of your hand.

  4. Reapply when you need to. Reapply SPF every two hours if you plan to sweat or get wet. If you’re going about your typical day, consider reapplying sunscreen every four to six hours and always reapply sunscreen if you wash your face midday.

Aside from daily SPF use, consider other ways to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Try to get in the habit of wearing sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and light scarves around your neck and attempt to seek shade or create it when you can.