Ultimate Sun Protection Guide


Hello, Summer! I know officially Summer isn’t until late June but here in Arkansas it’s in full swing. I think all school are out for summer in my area and it’s that time. Time to be water side. There are some summer essentials that I’ll list later. For the sake of this Guide, I’m going to keep it about skin protection.

For months my mom has been on me about wearing sunscreen on my face. She has always told me put on sun screen. But, with my complexion it wasn’t always required ( in my eyes ) because I wouldn’t usually burn. I will typically get one sun burn a year; like one really good sun burn. After that, I normally wouldn’t apply sun screen at all. A couple of months ago, I read an article that popped up on my snapchat that was all about sunscreen. What stood out the most to me was in part of the article it said you should apply sunscreen everyday and twice a day if you work by a window. I was floored. Who thinks about applying sunscreen every day? Let me be the first to admit I do not.

That is until lately. Like I said my mom has been on my sister and I for a while about wearing sunscreen on our faces everyday. To the point she bought us both face sunscreen to apply under our makeup. ( I have used it every day since ) In an effort to avoid sounding like your mom telling you to wear sun screen, I’m going to share with you a little research I have done in the form of this Guide.

What does SPF mean?

Suns Protection Factor. SPF Measures your sunscreens ability to protect your skin from the sun. SPF 15 means your skin is protected 15x longer than what your skin would be without it. Basically put, if your skin usually takes 10 minutes to burn without any protection, when you use SPF 15 you can stay in the sun for 150 minutes before burning. Or if you’re like one of my friends and you burn the instant the sun hits your skin, you can be out there 15 minutes. 😉

You’re at a higher risk if you have light hair, skin and eyes, so snag a higher SPF. You darker headed ladies, don’t skip the sunscreen just because you think you’re safe. Once again, let me be the first to admit something else. I had no clue what SPF meant. All I (thought I) knew is higher number = higher protection; which isn’t even the case. Higher number means longer protection!

How long should the sunscreen be on my skin before sun exposure?

It takes about 30 minutes for “chemical sunscreen ” to absorb and begin protecting your skin.  Physical Sunscreen begins protection as soon as it’s applied. I’ll elaborate more later on in the guide.

Well, I mean, my mom always said I had to wait until my sunscreen dried but, raise your hair if you actually did that. AND NO ONE better have thought about raising their hand because I bet you didn’t wait all 30 minutes.

How often should I reapply?

Every 2 hours and/or immediately after swimming and sweating. Water Resistant Formulas can usually withstand water or sweat for 40-80 minutes. This information should be stated somewhere on the bottle.

We had a pool growing up and my mom taught so she was like the local sitter for our friends. Logan and I, along with all our friends would swim all day in the summer when we were younger. I know my mom made us reapply our sunscreen ( it wasn’t a free for all and we weren’t neglected! ) but every two hours, we did not.


 What are UVA Rays?

UVA rays make up most of the UV ray exposure. 80% of UVA rays penetrate through the clouds. They penetrate deeper into the skin making this the main ray for tanning. “A tan results from injury to the skin’s DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage”, according to SkinCancer.org. ( WHAT?!?! ) UVA rays can penetrate your skin year round. UVA rays cause premature aging, dark spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and leathery skin.

What are UVB Rays?

UVB rays can burn you year round. They give more visible damage to skin. UVB rays are strongest from April – October and between 10am and 4pm. UVB rays cause – Sunburns, redness, and skin cancer.

First things first, broad spectrum sunscreen will protect you from both. Of course, I’m thinking, if I want tan skin but not leathery skin, I better be applying sunless tan because UVA makes it hard to have both! Plus, I’m already getting wrinkles on my forehead and I’m not about that. Basically put, ( if I’m understanding the correctly ) UVA gives us long term damage that isn’t immediately visible. While UVB rays give us more instant, visible damage.


Physical Sunscreen – Sunblock

Physical Sunscreen deflects and blocks rays from skin and reflect sun rays. This sunscreen sits on top of the skin and protects against UV rays. Physical Sunscreen usually leaves a white cast on your skin. Physical Sunscreens block UVA and UVB rays. Because of the ingredients children NEED this type of sunscreen. The ingredients are more gentle and safer for sensitive skin and acne prone skin. This sunscreen choice starts protecting the instant it’s applied.  And it has a longer shelf life than the alternative. When searching for Physical sunscreen look for ingredients Zinc Oxides  and Titanium Dioxides.

Chemical Sunscreen – Organic Sunscreen

Chemical Sunscreen absorbs rays to prevent penetration. The formula is thinner than Physical sunscreen so the application process is easier and easier to wear daily. You do have to let chemical sunscreen “dry” or absorb into your skin before sun exposure. Penetrates the skin and absorbs the rays. The higher the SPF the more irritating it can be for sensitive skin types.
Chemical Ingredients: Avobenzone, Octylcrylene, Octisalate, Helioplex, Oxybenzone, Uvinul, Homosalate, Mexoryl SX

Applying this Guide to my Real Life

After my mom telling me repeatedly to wear sunscreen on my face and finally buying me some, I caved into the pressure. She purchased me the equate brand from walmart. It’s a dupe for the CeraVe face sunscreen. Until I really started putting this post together, I only applied it on my face under my makeup and my hand ( to keep my wreck battle wound from scarring ). As I’m typing this portion of this Guide I’m also shopping for sunscreen to apply on my body daily. I’m going to purchase the Honest Beauty and the First Aid Beauty Sunscreens to try. When applying sunscreen, use the 1 oz. rule. One ounce should cover your whole body. Apply 1 oz daily, not just at the pool or beach.

On Your Face

Face sunscreen can be applies under your makeup primer or as your primer. It’s a must. Your sunscreen in your makeup isn’t enough to prevent sun damage! Isn’t that kind of deceiving? The Equate Sunscreen Face Lotion is great under my makeup. My skin has been extremely dry lately and this sunscreen has served as a great dose of extra moisture. Makeup applies easily over the top of this sunscreen and lasts all day long! When purchasing face sunscreen look for non-comedogenic. It won’t clog your pores and is great option for acne prone skin. Also, try to find and alcohol free formula to avoid drying. A Gel Sunscreen is another good option for acne prone skin too.

But, sunscreen is only one level of defense. A wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, and shirts with UV protection are also great options to grab when you’re heading out for a long day in the sun. With a wide brimmed hat you can protect your hair, your scalp, your ears, face, and the back of your neck. Sun damage is irreversible. I don’t know about you but, I need to start now protecting my skin because I have neglected sun protection in the past.

Luckily, floppy hats are in style, so go get you a floppy hat. Burn scalp and ears are the worst! As far as your shoulders, chest and arms, I love to wear a columbia PFG when I’m going to be in the sun for a long period of time. I’ve even worn it in the ocean when I was burnt. They are lightweight, cool, and dry quickly. Plus, they’re extremely soft and have protection in them! Lastly, please don’t forget your sunglasses. Your eyes can get damage from the sun too.

I have taken the time to write this guide for your guys to filter through some of the masses of information that come along with sunscreen and sun protection. In writing this guide I have left out a lot of information that could have made this guide way too long. I encourage you to look into it and do some rsearch yourself to discover some information about this topic. It can be overwhelming and I hope this guide has helped filter the confusion and answered some questions you had or even didn’t know you had!

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