This is part 3 of a four-part series. In part 1, we covered hydration, in part 2, we covered moisturizing, and in part 3, we’re covering ways you need to protect your skin, regardless of the season.
Protective skincare is something that needs to be built into your routine before you need it! It’s essential to be proactive to protect your skin against things like dehydration, free radicals, and other issues that can cause damage to your skin.
This post will discuss the top 2 things you should be protecting your skin from the Sun and blue light.
Protective Skincare: Sun/UV Damage
At some points in time, sun worship was the order of the day and for many of us, our desire to be active outdoors can seem incompatible with our desire to protect our skin from the sun.
How does the Sun damage my skin?
Ultraviolet radiation, or UV light, actually damages your skin and changes it at the cellular level. UV light can damage your skin from the epidermis (the surface level) all of the ways to the deepest level, the dermis.
This type of damage not only can visibly mar your skin, but it can also cause things like skin cancer and premature aging of the skin.
UV Protection Tips
Sunscreen. We’ll start with the most obvious! While SPF 30 is often cited as an acceptable amount of protection, some brands offer SPF 100+. Whatever level of protection you choose, make sure it’s a broad spectrum, so it covers you from both UVA and UVB rays.
What you may not know is that there are some pretty specific instructions for applying sunscreen that will provide you with the most significant benefit:
Apply 20 minutes before you go outside. The sunscreen needs time to uniformly dry all over your skin to provide the best protection. As it dries, it evaporates, leaving a thin layer of UV filters on your skin. The drying process is essential because the sunscreen needs time to dry before you’re off and walking, swimming, running, etc.
Measure in teaspoons. The amount of sunscreen you also use matters: use too much, and it won’t dry in a reasonable amount of time, use too little, and you don’t get the right amount of coverage. The general rule for the amount of sunscreen you should apply dictates a teaspoon in the following areas: each of your arms, each of your legs, the front of your body, and the back of your body.
Reapply! Sunscreen is not a set it and forget it measure. Event “Active” or “Sports” brands require reapplication. Even if your sunscreen is water-resistant, reapply every 40 minutes.
And remember: you can still get UV damage on a cloudy day!
Clothing. You’ve probably heard this before but wearing long sleeves, pants, and a sunhat can help reduce your skin’s exposure to UV rays. However, if you live in a part of the world where the summer heat doesn’t allow for long sleeves, pants, and layers, you may feel like this is not an option for you.
There are brands like Athleta, UNIQLO, and Lulu Lemon that make lightweight clothes with built-in UV protection. It may be worth checking it out and testing it in lighter, Spring weather so you can decide for yourself if it will work for you in hotter temperatures.
Shade. The shade is your friend. An umbrella, a tree, a hat, and sunglasses; anything you can do to provide relief from the sun, even temporarily, will help reduce sun damage.
Don’t tan. This can seem challenging, everyone loves a good, bronzy glow in the Spring and summer, but even indoor tanning beds can increase your chances of getting skin cancer and skin damage. Instead, get your golden glow through the use of non-toxic self-tanners.
Protective Skincare: Blue Light Damage
We know that blue light can affect our vision and our brain’s ability to prep for sleep, but did you know that blue light also causes skin damage? There’s confusion around this topic because some dermatological treatments use blue light to heal damaged skin and acne.
So what’s the deal?
How does blue light damage my skin?
Blue light does have healing effects when applied by a dermatologist or an esthetician, but these are typically tools used for skin care treatment, and exposure is limited.
When we are exposed to blue light from electronic devices like our computers and smartphones, it’s a different story because we’re exposing our skin, especially our sensitive facial skin, to the light for hours at a time, every day, or almost every day.
This long exposure can generate free radicals and break down the collagen in your skin leading to spots, premature wrinkles, and drooping.
Blue Light Protection Tips
It’s essential to do your research on any product that claims to protect your skin and eyes, specifically from blue light, as there are many fake products out there. There are two proven ways that not only help you with blue light but help your skin in general:
Mineral sunscreen with Zinc Oxide. Zinc oxide, a common ingredient in sunscreen, not only protects against UVA and UVB rays. But it’s also been shown to protect from blue light damage, as well. If there’s only one skincare tip you take away from this post: you can’t go wrong with sunscreen every day, whether you’re outdoors or indoors.
Matcha Green Tea. Matcha green tea is not only a popular tea that is relatively easy to get; it’s an antioxidant powerhouse that can help fight the free radicals generated by blue lights. Other foods have antioxidant powers in them, so be sure to look around and see what works within your routine so you’re more likely to eat/drink it during the day.
No matter what: Sunscreen
If this post hasn’t made it abundantly clear that protecting your skin requires sunscreen, then we’ll say it more succinctly: your skin will not be adequately protected without sunscreen/SPF protection.
Look for beauty products with SPF built-in, like creams, lotions, and foundations. You’ll be happy that you took the preventative measures when you’re older and your skin is still flawless!
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