How important is sunscreen to you?

How important is sunscreen to you? What level of SPF do you look for? Do you re-apply?

It’s important to me, so I do my best to wear it daily and prefer my daytime moisturizer to include SPF in it to make it easy to do so. I re-apply if I’m going outdoors for prolonged periods of time and it’s been a few hours since I initially applied. I like 30-45 for SPF rating.

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Dianna* Avatar

Very important! I wear it every single day… whether in my moisturizer, in my makeup, or as a separate sunscreen product. I usually go for SPF 20-35 in the winter, and 30-50 in the summer.

Dusty Avatar

I’m more concerned with a product having both UVA and UVB protection than I am the actual level of the sunscreen (at least SPF 15 though). I try to wear it every day – At least when I’m going to be near outside in any way 🙂

Ashley Avatar

Not at all.

1) It always breaks me out now that I’m acne-prone; prior to the age of 14 (which was when I started breaking out), I could wear sunscreen and reapply it all the time, rinse it off with water, and have no issues.
2) It is always super uncomfortable, especially since I find that sunscreen ingredients are now a bit sensitizing for my skin.
3) I rarely spend very much time outside during peek hours, and when I do it’s while I’m walking around, thus getting frequent “rest” periods in the shade or inside. If I am spending time outside during peak hours, I always stand in shadier areas because the sun at those times is just too much for me.
4) I’d much rather wear a hat (or actually, I’d love to find the courage to try a parasol) and stick to shade during peak hours than rely on sunscreen.
5) Because I am quite fair skinned, it’s important that I get moderate exposure to the sun in order to form some vitamin D. Any amount of sunscreen would completely prevent that from happening.
6) I am not concerned enough with aging to bother trying to prevent it at all costs, so there’s no real vanity reasons for me to wear sunscreen.

Cords Avatar

I recently learned that you only need an hour of sunlight a week in order for you to absorb vitamin D, so dont feel too bad about not going out in the sun alot. Its so bad for your skin. Ive yet to see a dermatologist with a tan!

John Avatar

Ashley you can get all the vitamin D that your body needs from supplements. It isn’t worth exposing yourself unprotected. It’s not just about appearing older, it’s about preventing skin cancer, which of course is the ultimate goal for the use of any sunscreen.

Veronica Avatar

I try to wear it as often as possible, especially since my fair skin is especially sensitive to UV, but I admit I tend to be forgetful about it, especially on rainy/grey days where I don’t have the visual impetus to remind me to put it on. The good news is I work nights, so I’m generally out of the sun when it’s at its worst. My skin may have hope yet!

Julia Avatar

The most important part of my routine! I use an SPF moisteriser, apply a sunscreen just for the face, use BB creams with high SPF ratings and re-apply every 1 1/2 hours. It sounds a bit obsessive and I admit it is, but it maintains my white skin the easiest.

Turns out, the4 only whitening face products that actually work are either wrong for my skin type and crazy expensive 🙁

Allie Avatar

I need to make it more important |: I’m dark-skinned (9.0 in MAC Matchmaster and I have no idea in anything else lol) but I tend to tan extremely quickly, and honestly I feel like I never really go back to my original color…

I keep telling myself I need to put on sunscreen everyday but I need to find a good one that won’t feel heavy on my skin and is also portable. Any suggestions? ^_^

GlowyJen Avatar

for face, I really like the feel of Shiseido, but some people hate it (like everything else, there’s no single sunscreen that everyone will love). For drugstore, I like the Neutrogena Dry Touch ones. Both of these wear pretty well under makeup for me.

For body, I’ll use any generic at the drugstore.

Amy Avatar

Sunscreen is extremely important to me because I’m very fair, think below MAC N5, and I live in Hawaii which is very close to the equator where the UV rays are the strongest.

CatherineM Avatar

It’s very important since I’m very fair and prone to sunburns. I use a moisturizer with SPF daily and add extra sunprotection whenever I go into the sun for a longer period of time.

Erin Avatar


I looked through your FAQ’s but didnt see your recommended moisturizer/sunscreen. Are there any good drug store brands that have high spf like 30-40?

Anna Beatriz Friedl Avatar

I’d say extremely important as I live in Rio – Brazil. I apply it everyday (sometimes twice a day) over my face and top of my hands. Even at night when I have to work/study with a lamp near me to avoid wrinkles and dark spots.
The SPF is 30 and I’ve chosen the Minesol oil-control from ROC (as I have oily skin).
Hope I helped!

Ana G. Avatar

Extremely important because we have a fairly warm climate and, as such, many months of sunshine. I use products that have spf included, moisturizers and foundations, during the winter and add a facial sunscreen during the summer.

Mar Avatar

Important enough that I prefer sunblock to avoid the uneven tan I get in the summer, but use sunscreen in the winter as its mostly overcast where I live. I always look for reviews and make sure that they have ingredients that aren’t detrimental to my skins health in the long run.

Cat Avatar

Very important. Arizona has such a high sun cancer rate :/ I finally got an SPF 30 Chapstick this week! I haven’t really figured out how to reapply sunscreen or spf moisturizer on my face once all my makeup is done though, doesn’t seem to be a way, is there a solution to that?

John Avatar

There’s two ways that aren’t too difficult. One, use a physical or inorganic sunscreen because those remain effective and stable after exposure to the sun. Chemical sunscreens begin to degrade, no matter how they are stabilized, upon sun exposure. Two, when you touch up with powder, use a loose or pressed mineral powder (foundation). Make sure to check the ingredient list and see that either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide is present and in the active ingredients section. For example the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 has 20% zinc oxide listed as the active ingredient.

AS Avatar

Someone here on Temptalia recommended a physical sunscreen called Burnout, available on Amazon. It seems to work really well and also has the added benefit of making my foundation last twice as long! It is not great to use without foundation over as it is a little sticky, but that stickiness locks on my makeup better than any primer I’ve ever used. There are also some powder mineral sunscreens you can apply over your makeup, like Colorscience SPF 50, but they are also not cheap.

GlowyJen Avatar

I’m in a very sunny region, so I wear it every day on my dermatologist’s advice. I’ve been re-thinking this lately, because I avoid the sun like a vampire. My only exposure is incidental through car windows and sometimes walking through parking lots. Very little of that is during the peak hours. I wonder if just an SPF foundation would be enough for my face? But I still put sunscreen on my neck, arms and anywhere else that’s exposed. On the advice of previous dermatologists in the 80s, I spent a lot of time in tanning beds (which were completely safe! and would cure my skin troubles! grrrr), so I’ve already got plenty of sun damage, unfortunately.

John Avatar

Probably not Jen, because even if your foundation provides adequate SPF protection, you most likely don’t apply enough to achieve the labeled SPF or you might look cakey or it would just be too thick of a layer. I’d definitely recommend that you apply an SPF under your foundation.

Cords Avatar

I am fair skinned, dark haired and live in Ireland, one of the most skin cancer prone countries in the world due to the lack of Ozone protection, and i never wear sun protection.
It is cold here. I never ever ever go outdoors in anything less than full length trousers and full sleeves and i never leave the house without makeup on. (Not that I wear it religiously, when im at home i give my skin and hair a break) The best protection from the sun is to prevent exposure. SPF only protects your skin for so many minutes longer than your skin naturally protects itself, so if you wear SPF 15, you get 15 extra minutes of protection, spf 40, 40 extra minutes. Its alot of work for so little protection. I just prefer to not go out during peak sun times and cover up as much as possible. My makeup has a spf of 15 but i dont actually look for it in products.

John Avatar

Actually, SPF 15 protects your skin 15 times longer than your normal skin would, at least in laboratory settings. However, it’s a far cry from the 15 minutes that you’re referring to. Also, note that SPF ratings only refer to UVB protection, not UVA protection, which is what causes skin cancer and pre-mature aging. I recommend that you still wear sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection. It’s good that you avoid sun exposure though.

Cords Avatar

My Dermo told me its minutes. Im going on that. I still find it pointless for me to use it when I never get sun exposure and when I do its for a minimal amount of time. Enough for my makeup to deal with the protection I would need.

John Avatar

Yeah… you need to find a new derm. Maybe you mistunderstood him/her or something. I just can’t believe that any right derm would tell you that SPF 15 only protects from the sun for 15 minutes. That’s ridiculous.

Julianne Avatar

I really am the fairest of the fair and I don’t wear sunscreen on a daily basis. It’s fine if whatever products I’m using happens to include some type of SPF, but I don’t go looking for it. With that said, I spend little to no time outdoors, and when I do, it’s past 6 pm.

Obviously, if I’m going to be out for prolonged periods of time I’ll wear a sunscreen, as I do burn quite easily. I also live somewhere not necessarily known for it’s sun-heavy weather.

Michelle Brown Avatar

It’s important enough for me to put on SPF 15 foundation or tinted moisturizer on my face every day I go outside (at least 4 days a week). However I would like a moisturizer or pre-makeup sunscreen with SPF 30+ so I can prevent wrinkles; what could you recommend for drugstore products or anything under $20 (that ships online; I’m in a small town with drugstores only)? I’m also wondering if anything with SPF 50+ is worth it, since I’ve seen SPF 110.

John Avatar

SPF 50+ is not worth it because the additional protection that you’re going to get is miniscule in comparison to how much more additional sunscreen active ingredients are necessary to achieve such a rating.

For example, an SPF of 50 neutralizes a maximum of about 98% of UVB rays. An SPF of 110 neutralizes a maximum of about 99.1% of UVB rays. The difference in protection that you’re getting is about 1%, but the Actives necessary to achieve an SPF of 110 is most likely two-fold or double of that in the SPF 50 product.

The inclusion of more sunscreen active ingredients can one, irritate your skin more drastically and two, make you think that it’s okay to apply less, which is NOT okay! You still need to apply about 3.0 mg/cm^2, which is roughly 0.1 oz/ft^2, to get adequate sun protection.

Leah Avatar

I use my spf 15 moisturizer everyday, but like Dusty, I live in the Pacific NW so we rarely get sun anyway.

I have olive, oily skin so I never burn but I like the reassurance of preventative skin care since I’m in my early 20’s.

Becca X. Avatar

It’s something that I absolutely can not go outside without. I always put on sunscreen before I go outside no matter what the weather is like or what time of day it is. It also doesn’t matter to me if it’s in the summer or in the winter, I always make sure to put suncreen on before any makeup. And by sunscreen, I mean HIGH LEVEL sunscreen, not just SPF15 or SPF15 foundation/moisturizer. It’s just not enough, your skin is important, so treasure it!!!

Lisa Avatar

Not at all. Zero. Ziltch.

I used to do pesticidal research in soybean and corn fields (glamorous!) which involved 8 hours of full sun exposure daily for a whole summer. I never burned once, got super dark and tan, and when I went to the derm concerned about skin damage she checked me under the fancy UV-thingy and said I had very very very little skin damage.

I’m asian, and we typically have the lowest rates of skin cancer.

John Avatar

I believe black people have the lowest rates of skin cancer, but Asians are right down there with them.

You’re lucky that according to your derm, you have very little sun damage. Perhaps you have naturally resistant skin, or you eat an antioxidant-rich diet. Whatever the reason, you still need a good sunscreen regardless.

Great, you used to be in the sun for 8 hours a day, but that was only for one summer. Taking into account the average female lifespan, which is around 75 I think, that’s less than 1/75th of your life. If you continue to not use sunscreen year after year, I can guarantee that your skin will not be or look as healthy as it would be if you did use it. Maybe you’ll never get skin cancer, but you will look older. Who wants that? And why take such risks anyways? Sunscreen isn’t THAT bad, unless you’re allergic to every single sunscreen active ingredient.

And since you’re seeing a derm, I’m sure that he or she has told you to still use sunscreen, despite your lack of photodamage. Listen to your derm. And if he or she did not recommend using sunscreen, you need to find yourself another derm m’dear! :]

By the way, I think it’s spelled “Zilch.” But I could be wrong. Haha.

BooBooNinja Avatar

It is the most important thing to me! Even more than doing my brows, and that’s saying a lot!
My go-to product is Neutrogena’s Dry Touch Sunscreen in SPF 30/45.

Genevieve Chuachiaco Avatar

I live in a tropical country, so yes, it is a must for me to apply face sunscreen. Also,sunscreen is a big deal for Asians, in general.
In fact, over the years, I have to admit I have grown quite fussy in choosing my daily sunscreen.

Not only do I consider the SPF, but I am also really particular if it blocks UVA and UVB and has the PA+++ rating.
I am so careful about protecting myself from the sun that I always carry an umbrella with me and avoid going out during 10am – 3pm (the sun’s rays are most carcinogenic around this time)I know I sound rather obsessive, but being Asian, I do feel the pressure to maintain a fair porcelain doll-like complexion

My go-to sunscreen products are Japanese brands, such as Biore and Kao. I swear by sunscreen milk (instead of creams, face lotions, etc) because of its runny/light consistency. Sunscreen is actually my makeup base (after applying toner), and it makes the rest of my makeup feel really lightweight.

I am trying out Korean brands now, but I think I’m going back to Japanese brands after I finish my current bottle.

John Avatar

I’m happy to see that you are so diligent when it comes to using sunscreen. But you don’t need to feel pressured to maintain a “fair porcelain doll-like complexion.” As long as you feel beautiful and confident, who cares what other people think? Don’t let other people or their opinions run your life. They don’t wake up in your body and look in the mirror everyday. You do! :]

Also, note that most sunscreen “milks” use some form of drying alcohol as the solvent, which allows for such fluid consistencies. Continued use of alcohol can be very drying and combined with organic sunscreen active ingredients, can also be very irritating. High concentrations of alcohol can also cause free radical damage. However, don’t stop using sunscreen just because it contains alcohol.

Jaime R Avatar

So important! I’ve been wearing a teaspoon-size blob of SPF 50 on my face and neck every day year-round for 13 years now and my face still looks like I’m 19.

Cristina Avatar

I make a effort to use it everyday. I use SPF 30 everyday with powder on top. I only re-apply it when I am working in the garden…because I haven’t figure out how to do that without making obvious that I have sunscreen on my face!
I put sunscreen in all exposed areas…where I live older women have a lot of sun damage not only in their faces and décolleté area but also on their arms and hands.
Sunscreen is important, but I don’t rely only on sunscreen. I also avoid midday sun and use accessories and clothing for protection. I always use exfoliators at night and I avoid using them when I know that I will spend a lot of time outdoors in the following days.

Natalie Avatar

Normally I rely on the SPF in my moisturizer to do the job. However, if I’m out in the sun for longer than a quick walk between work and home or the like, then I’ll apply more sunscreen over my moisturizer and such for extra protection.

Adriana Avatar

Extremely important!!! I live in the caribbean so I use it daily. I wear a Neutrogena SPF 110! I also apply it to my décolleté and my arms if I am wearing a short sleeve. My mother has a lot of sun damage, he generation was not very well informed about sun exposure but we are so I am taking all the precautions necessary to prolong my healthy skin.

Teresa Avatar

I am very fair and I’m using Retin-A so it’s essential for me. I have oily skin so I don’t use a moisturizer. I use Burnout Kids physical sunscreen. It has worked wonders on keeping me from getting shiny and it protects me from the sun as well.

Kate Avatar

Very important. My daily moisturizer has SPF 15. I’m an NW15 with sensitive skin and if I end up outside in the sun for half an hour w/o skin protection, I’ll be flushed for two days. Bleh.

Sarah Avatar

It isn’t. Whatever they tend to use makes me break-out for weeks after usage, so I’ve just given up on that. If I’m going to spend any significant amount of time outside, from April-November, I’ll just grab my straw hat with a large brim. It’s super cute, works better than sunscreen, and doesn’t cause break-outs.

Lunohodik Avatar

I personally dont like sunscreens, and I do like tanned skin, and think that sunscreens are a bigger evil then the sun itself, as the less chemicals you wear on your skin the better. I,m 31, look as people say 25, only have a slight laughter lines, when some people have much more vivid lines by my age:)

however I do use some products with spf-not that I care but if I like the product I use it…

on vacations in tropical places i do use them in order to keep skin from being burned by the sun, dermalogica ultra sensitive sunblock-the tinted one for the beginning of my vacation and then I switch to my all time fave Lancaster, for the face I like tinted sunscreen that comes in a brush it helps to kill 2 birds with one stone-gives your skin that pretty glow and keeps it from sunburn aaaand super easy to apply:)

hmm, reading all the reviews makes me think, may be I should try to use one and see, may be it is helpful in somekind of way, I started to notice that people actually wear sunscreens EVERYDAY when I moved to Canada, must be an american thing, well my friends from the UK use them too.

honestly never thought about the importance of sunscreens before, esp as an everyday must…

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