“Consider this your ultimate plan for safeguarding your skin from damaging sun and UV rays.”
Ask any dermatologist what the absolute, number one, best thing you can do for your skin is, and we’re willing to bet good money they’ll tell you it’s using sunscreen daily. As in 365 days a year, rain or shine, indoors or outdoors. UV damage to skin is a top contributor not only to all kinds of unwanted complexion concerns (wrinkles, sagging, spots, insert other unappealing issue here), but also DNA changes on the cellular level that can lead to skin cancer. (In case you didn’t know, there’s a direct and unquestionable correlation between UV radiation and skin cancer.) The bottom line: Practicing safe sun isn’t just about keeping your skin looking good, it’s about keeping it healthy, too. Ahead, your ultimate protection plan.
When talking about sun exposure, it’s important to remember that there are two types of UV rays. In one corner, we have UVA rays. These bad boys are the same strength year-round, and are notorious for their ability to penetrate through glass. Sitting in front of a window at your office? You’re at risk. Driving in your car? You better believe UVA rays are present. These rays penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, where they start to damage the DNA of your skin cells, and ultimately lead to all of those not-so-pretty issues we talked about before. In the other corner, we have their counterpart, UVB rays. These are the ones that can cause a lobster-esque sunburn; stronger during the summer, they burn the top layer of skin (which also causes all kinds of cell damage). Neither one of these is doing your skin any favors, so it’s important to shield your skin from both. Happily, doing that isn’t hard or complicated at all. All you have to do is find yourself a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 to avoid UV damage to skin. Other than that, the exact formula you pick is up to you. The most important thing is to find one that you like and that feels good on your skin, because let’s be honest, if you don’t like how it feels, you’re not going to use it every day, and that’s the most important piece of the protection puzzle. We may be slightly biased, but may we suggest the Skinsei Throwing Shade Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Lotion? Not only does it have that oh-so-important sun protection, it also instantly hydrates and reduces dullness, too, making it the perfect one-stop-shop in the morning. Multi-tasking for the win.
Using enough sunscreen is also super important. As it pertains to your face, that means a nickel-size amount to cover your entire face, and the same for your neck and chest. And then there’s the matter of reapplication. In theory, you should be reapplying your sunscreen every two hours. Yeah, we know. While that may sound attainable during a day at the beach, we get it, it may not be entirely realistic during your normal day-to-day. Still, that’s no excuse to skimp on ‘screen. Our go-to solution? Load up on sunscreen in the morning, then find a separate formula to keep on-hand throughout the day to reapply, especially before you go outside. A host of new powders and sprays make it easier than ever to get an extra hit of protection, without messing up your makeup, and are easy and portable to dust/spritz on as needed.
Oh, we should also address a few of the most common ‘why I don’t wear sunscreen excuses’ while we’re at it—irritation and breakouts. (If we had a dollar for every time someone told us ‘sunscreen makes me break out…’) Sorry not sorry: Neither one of those is a valid excuse. In the world of sunscreens, there are two different types. Chemical blockers (common ones include avobenzone, octinoxate) which create a chemical reaction to protect your skin, and physical blockers (zinc, titanium oxide) minerals that sit on top of your skin to bounce the light off. Again, it’s totally a matter of personal preference as to which one you go with. Some people say the chemical options feel nicer going on, but to our point of excuses, physical blockers are a better option if your skin is sensitive or prone to breakouts.
We’ve talked a lot about sunscreen (and for good reason), but there’s another product category that deserves equal time when talking about skin UV protection. Antioxidants. No matter how diligent you are about applying sunscreen, no matter how perfectly you do it, it’s inevitable that some sun is going to get to your skin. It’s just a simple fact. That’s where antioxidants come in; if sunscreen is your first layer of defense, antioxidants are the back-up. Sun exposure creates free radicals, damaging little suckers that form in and start to damage your skin. Think of antioxidants as little Pac-Men, ready to scavenger them up and neutralize those pesky little suckers. The other added beauty of antioxidants is that it’s not just UV rays that lead to free radical formation. Exposure to pollution, smoking, stress, even a poor diet all do the same thing, and antioxidants can help counteract all of that.
There’s no shortage of antioxidants out there; vitamins C and E are big ones in skin care products, as is niacinamide (vitamin B3), plus plenty of other plant-based options. While you absolutely can look for them in any type of skin care product, serums are going to give you the biggest bang for your buck. More lightweight than moisturizers, they contain the highest amount of any active ingredient, antioxidant included. There are lots (and we mean LOTS) of serums to choose from, which is part of the reason that Skinsei decided to do the hard work for you. Our diagnostic tool looks at everything from the products you use to the food you eat, taking a holistic approach to figure out what products—including serum—will be best for you and only you. As a general rule of thumb, it’s smart to make an antioxidant the first step in your morning skin care routine. Apply it on clean skin, so that it can get in there without being blocked by any other products. Follow that with sunscreen and you’re good to go for the day. You can also repeat at night, applying the serum to freshly-washed skin under any night cream or nighttime treatment product. Since overnight is when your skin is most active and hard at work regenerating itself, this is a great time to give it a dose of those powerful antioxidants and let them do their thing, helping skin fight the effects of free radicals - though, hopefully it wasn’t much, since you were wearing your sunscreen, right?!