Yes, wear sunscreen everyday! Every single day! Until the end of times!
There are a lot of misconceptions about sunscreen and misunderstandings as well. Remember those beach days when you felt the need to apply the sunscreen so that you don’t get a sunburn? And then ignored it the rest of the 360 days of the year? Or worse yet, didn’t apply it because you wanted the deepest tan ever?
I get goosebumps only from thinking about it.
Disclaimer: recommendations are based on my own experiences and one product might work for me but not for you. Please do your research to further decide if this is something you wish to try.
What is sunscreen?
The goal of the cream, lotion, gel, foam, stick, or whatever form of sunscreen you fancy, is to create a shield on your skin and protect it from the harmful UV radiation that comes from the sun. Every skin type and colour needs to use one and reapply it religiously to protect from this radiation.
Why wear sunscreen everyday?
It protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays.
To explain in more details, UVA rays are the cause of sunburns as they penetrate the outer layer of the skin. They also are known to cause most types of skin cancer (think melanoma).
On the other hand, UVB rays are much stronger and penetrate in the deeper layers of our skin, the dermis. Here they break down collagen and elastin. If you are not familiar, collagen and elastin keep our skin youthful, bouncy and elastic. These two cells deplete as we age, causing sagginess and wrinkles. Prolonged sun exposure will further destroy these cells and thus, cause premature ageing. This won’t happen overnight, but in the long run, over the years, the damage will accumulate.
These rays will also impair the healing process of the skin, and any blemishes will take longer to heal. Think of acne. Furthermore, scars and discolouration will take even longer if ever, to heal.
Even though you might not feel the warming sensation of the sun on your skin, like when you are at the beach, it doesn’t mean that the UV radiation is not at work. It also penetrates through the clouds so even though the sun is not visible, the UV rays are still effortlessly destroying your skin.
If you wear sunscreen everyday, you will prevent all of the above. Apply a quarter of a teaspoon every 4 hours. Every 2 hours if you are in the water or sweating profusely.
Wear sunscreen everyday inside?
It might not be obvious but UV radiation can penetrate through the glass.
So whether you are driving, in public transport, at work, or home, spending time in from of the window will subject you to UV radiation. And consequently premature ageing and skin cancer.
So don’t forget to wear your sunscreen when you are at home, and reapply it through the day.
And vitamin D?
Now lets be honest, we are all vitamin D deficient to some extent.
Sunlight triggers vitamin D production once it hits our skin. There are also a number of factors that affect your vitamin D production including age, geographical location, air quality, and many more.
There is little evidence that wearing sunscreen will impact your vitamin D levels because the vast majority of people don’t use enough sunscreen (a quarter of a teaspoon) or don’t reapply it diligently.
To get healthy levels of vitamin D you need to be out in the sun for 10 to 30 minutes. Now assuming that you have light skin, such as myself, on a sunny day you can burn in 15minutes. Between 1. natural vitamin D production, sunburn, premature ageing, possibly skin cancer, and 2. sunscreen plus a vitamin D supplement, I think the choice is easy to make.
But the reefs!
Sunscreen does not kill the reefs. The amount of chemicals that end up in the ocean water is infinitesimal. The studies that exist are laboratory-based rather than real-world. The truth is, climate change is killing the reefs. Lab Muffin Science has an absolutely fantastic post on this
Botton line is, with all the different sunscreens on the market, Asian and western, there is bound to be one that will be the holy grail that you can use diligently.
Many recommend the Purito Centella Unscented. A chemical sunscreen, with no white cast and very gentle on the skin. And I bit the bullet and ordered it as well, stay tuned for a review on Instagram!
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If you got to the end here’s a bonus personal story. Once upon a time, I went to Cyprus. This was probably 10 years ago, long before I met my boyfriend, and long before I started skincare. If you have ever been to Greece then you’ll know the sun is unforgiving there.
But, I avoided a tan like it was the reaper. I don’t know why, and I still can’t explain it, but I had an obsession with keeping my skin out of the sun as much as possible. Keep in mind I had no idea what premature ageing was at that time. And I spent about 2 months there.
Of course, when I went home everyone was astonished that I stayed as white as paper. But looking back on it I am so freaking proud of myself. I probably added a few years of youth to my bank.
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