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Sun Protection: why, when and how much?

Sun protection is a topic that never runs out of questions and a topic I was successfully avoiding because it is so extensive that gives me a headache. I don’t even know where to start! And by saying that, I can absolutely hear my father’s voice in my head: why, in the beginning of course!

So, let’s go back to the beginning, when I was about 20 years old and sun protection was something we (sometimes) had in mind in the summer on the beach or skiing, so we wouldn’t get sunburned. Now we shall know better, now we know that sun protection is so much more than just a beach/skiing necessity, now we shall know, that it is an important part of a daily skincare routine, the most important anti-aging tool and  one of the most important types of prevention against skin cancer.

Not quite sure about all this? Let’s elaborate with some basic questions and answers. As short as possible, as simple as possible and without headaches,

Do I really need to use sun protection?

If you want to have a healthy, youthful and hyperpigmentation-free skin than the answer is absolutely yes. There goes a word that UV rays cause 90% of premature skin aging, so If you want to do some badass anti-aging, you really need to consider diligent use of sun protection, especially if you use other active ingredients that might lessen the natural skin’s protection against UV rays (mostly acids and retinoids). Why is this so important? Because UV rays can do some shitty things:

And now you know, pretty interesting ha? At least you can be thankful the UVC rays can’t reach our skin – yet?! Thank you ozone layer!

Do I really have to use it every day?

Even during winter, when it is cloudy or when I’m not even outdoors? Yeah baby, you should. While I’m really NOT a fan of extremes and I like to keep it calm it looks like that »better safe than sorry« can be easily applied in this matter and here is why:

UVB can be really nasty all right, but the real villains here are the UVA! Whilst UVB can be stronger and leave an immediate proof of their presence and intensity, UVA are sneaky. They are present every day, from dawn till dusk, all seasons, always more or less with the same intensity and these MF’s even penetrate through glass (ehm, windows).

So, yeah, you need it all the time, even during the darkest of winters, even when you’re not outdoors. And you shall use it in the right amount and do reapplications as necessary too – but let’s stick this into the next question.

Is SPF in my makeup enough?

I wish! That would solve many issues. But nope, it basically isn’t and here is why. The general rule is that you have to put ½ of a teaspoon on your face which amounts to 2,5 ml of product if you want to achieve the level of protection stated on the product you’re using. And if you put that much foundation or BB creme on your face it really doesn’t look pretty, trust me.

½ tablespoon of Frezyderm tinted sunscreen

You should absolutely check the video our group #skinbabes made recently regarding this topic (Slovenian): click. Gabi beautifully explained everything you need to know about proper SPF application.

So yeah, you really need to buy and use a sun protection cream if you want to look normal and have a more or less reliable protection. Still, ½ of teaspoon is a lot and you’ll most probably end up applying less than necessary (I know I do, because it is just impossible to live with under so much cream) but it is still way better than relying just on your makeup.

And last but not least, to maintain the level of protection you shall do reapplications of your sunscreen every 2-4 hours, depending on the amount of direct sun exposure, sweating, wiping, absorption etc. Sounds really practical and fun, ha?

Use common sense

So, go grab a showel, bury your face under sunscreen and don’t forget to repeat this every few hours. Every day, of course. If you can pull this off, I really envy you, but in case you can’t, my »real non-textbook« advice is »use common sense«. Use beautiful straw hats when the sun is strong, sexy shades, stay in the shade, reapplicate when it is necessary, use at least ¼ of teaspoon of SPF for your face and stay positive.

As said, I’m really not into extremes and while I’ll tell you the textbook rules, I’ll never pretend that I walk the talk. Why not? Because for me is not just practical. I use approximately  ¼ of teaspoon of product for my face (which is still a lot to apply!) and I don’t reapplicate if I wear makeup. I use physical sunscreens, because I can’t tollerate chemical (I’ll be talking more about this in my next post) and they are not the most elegant choice. Just the thought of  another layer on top of my makeup makes me cringe! Of course I reapplicate if I have planned outdoor acitvities and if I’m on the beach or snow, but on normal day basis, I just willingly sacrifice some of my collagen for my sanity and wellbeing.

At the end, stress might be worse than UV rays for your skin and health. Sun is not a demon, it gives life, it is the reason for everything living, just find the right balance to stay as much protected as you can without paranoia and stress.

Find a way to stay as much protected as you can but that doesn’t stress you out!

Stay tuned! In the next blog post I’ll be covering more sun protection questions, like what SPF even means, how you choose the right type of sunscreen and I’ll also talk about if sunscreen products can be harmful.

Ciao!

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