Five Things to Know about Sunscreen
By Renee Rouleau, Skincare Expert and Esthetician
Renée Rouleau has been helping men, women and teens attain healthy, glowing, beautiful skin for more than twenty years.
Her philosophy is simple: With the proper tools, effective products and a disciplined approach, anyone can have great skin.
She provides regular skincare advice and tips on her blog, too!
Five Things to Know about Sunscreen
Did you know that you can get a 50 percent decrease in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, when sunscreen is applied daily? (Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology) Since May is National is National Melanoma Month, it’s the perfect time to integrate a healthy sun protection approach into the daily skin care routine. Not only is it good for your health, sun protection is the #1 anti-aging product I recommend to my clients. It prevents premature wrinkles, reduces the chances of getting sun spots and hyperpigmentation and is a must for the sake of your health. Here’s five things you need to know about sunscreen to ensure you’re getting the best protection for your skin:
1. Sunscreen must be applied generously. In order for SPF to truly protect the skin and prevent the harmful UV rays from damaging the skin, the formula has to be applied generously or it will not provide adequate protection. If you have a sunscreen that feels too heavy on your skin (which so many can), you’ll probably only apply a small amount and you’re not doing your skin any good. The goal is to find a sunscreen that doesn’t use heavy emollients so as not to leave a greasy residue. That way, you can be heavy-handed when using it (as you should be) but you’re not left feeling oily. This is why Renée Rouleau broad-spectrum Daily Protection SPF 30 is one of our best-selling products. It actually dries to a matte finish and never, ever leaves a residue. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, this one is for you.
2. Don’t get overly confident with a high SPF number. With so many companies launching high SPF number sunscreens, it creates a lot of confusion as to which number is the best in protecting the skin. Did you know that an SPF 30 offers only 4% more protection than an SPF 30, and an SPF 45 offers just 2% more? High SPF number sunscreens like an SPF 50 or 100 can give people a false sense of protection and therefore may not be applied generously enough to do its job. While I do suggest using a minimum of SPF 30, it has far more to do with how generously you apply it than the number. (By the way, the FDA is proposing to limit the maximum SPF on labels to 50.)
3. Sunscreen built in your foundation makeup is just not enough. If you apply a regular non-SPF moisturizer to the face and then apply a foundation with an SPF over it, the sunscreen in the makeup has a difficult time penetrating through the moisturizer to effectively coat and protect the skin cells. Plus, most people only apply foundation makeup sparingly so you may not be getting the full protection anyway. I highly suggest using a sunscreen moisturizer directly on the skin first to adequately deliver the specified SPF (as long as you apply it generously) and then apply foundation makeup with sunscreen, then finished off with SPF-infused mineral powder.
4. Sunscreens degrade from sunlight and your skin’s natural oil. Many sunscreen formulas degrade with exposure to UV light. The daily oil produced on the skin (especially on the nose which is the oiliest area of the face) can also cause sunscreen to breakdown. This is why reapplying sunscreen every few hours is so necessary. However, reapplying often is not always practical. Are you supposed to wash your face, reapply sunscreen, reapply makeup and repeat this every two hours during the day? Not so easy. The fastest, easiest, and most effective way to ensure that your skin is protected all day is to dust the skin every few hours with a good mineral powder formulated with sunscreen. They are considered “dry” sunscreens and make reapplying very simple. My personal favorite (and the one I use faithfully) is ColoreScience, because it’s endorsed by The Skin Cancer Foundation and contains SPF 50. I don’t use it as my makeup, even though it has a light tint, but rather as a light powder over my regular makeup to give a good physical block of protection to my skin.
5. If you’re prone to sensitivity or breakouts, choose a sunscreen formula with Zinc Oxide. Of all the categories of skin care products, sunscreens are the most likely to cause negative skin reactions on the skin. And mostly, it’s rashes or acne breakouts from the use of sunscreen. The good news is there have been a lot of advancements in sun protecting ingredients, so if you still shy away from sunscreens because of past bad experiences, you just haven’t found the right one yet—but they are out there. My skin is oily in the t-zone, and even at 42, my oil production hasn’t slowed down too much yet. I have my own built-in moisturizer (the oil) which is considered to be a good thing, but I also have to be very careful because I’m definitely very sensitive, prone to breakouts and clogged pores. So using a lightweight, gentle sunscreen is an absolute must for me and the best ingredient to offer that is Zinc Oxide. It’s chemical-free, won’t clog the pores, offers excellent UV protection and never leaves the skin feeling greasy. Also of the two chemical-free sunscreen ingredients, Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, Zinc is better for skin of color as it won’t leave a white-ish cast on the skin that Titanium Dioxide can.