Even if you’ve used sunscreen for years, chances are you can boost its effectiveness by making a few small changes. Let’s look at what sunscreen does and doesn’t do, and how you can protect you and your family from too many rays this summer and all year round.
What is broad-spectrum sunscreen?
Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects your skin from two types of ultraviolet rays: UVA and UVB rays. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UVB rays cause sunburn and are associated with skin cancer, while UVA rays cause skin damage that leads to tanning, wrinkles, and aging skin.
SPF refers to UVB protection so it is only part of the story. That’s why it’s important to choose broad-spectrum sunscreen that also protects against UVA rays. If you’re curious about the active ingredients in sunscreen and how they work, read our article called How well do you know your skin care products?
You may be surprised to learn that UV rays aren’t the only thing to be concerned about when it comes to protecting your skin from sun damage.
What are infrared rays, and do they contribute to skin damage?
Infrared rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation given off by the sun. Prolonged exposure to infrared rays may result in free radicals, which are unstable electrons that damage cells, proteins, and even DNA.
Free radicals can damage collagen and elastin which are proteins that give skin its strength and the ability to maintain its shape, form and tone after being stretched. Collagen and elastin contribute to the skin’s youthful look, and though they naturally break down with age, prolonged exposure to free radicals can greatly accelerate your skin’s aging process.
Unfortunately, most sunscreens don’t protect your skin from infrared rays which is why we’re sharing some ideas about how you can boost the effectiveness of your sunscreen.
5 ways to boost the effectiveness of your sunscreen
- Layer up to protect against infrared rays – Use a hydrating mist, toner, or serum packed with antioxidants and peptides before you apply your sunscreen. Look for products that include antioxidant ingredients found in white, green and rooibos tea extracts, the “FACE” vitamins (vitamins F, A, C, and E) or peptides such as arginine/lysine polypeptide.
- Pat it on instead of rubbing it in – One study suggests that sunscreen is more effective when applied as a thin film rather than being rubbed in. Try patting on your sunscreen and using a light touch to create an even layer on your skin.
- Remember your eyelids, ears and lips – These are the body parts we tend to skip or forget when applying sunscreen. If you don’t like the idea of putting your sunscreen on your lips, try a lip balm that comes with SPF protection.
- Choose the right SPF – How much sun protection you need depends on what you’re doing, and for how long. On days when you don’t spend much time outdoors, you can go with a lower SPF, such as 15 or 30. But if you’re outside all day, choose SPF 50 or higher, and use your previous experience as a guide.
- Use water-resistant sunscreen in the water – While this seems obvious, it’s important to remember that regular sunscreen won’t do the job when you’re in the water. If outdoor water activities are part of your routine, buy both types of sunscreen so you’re always prepared for a day at the beach.
With these tips for boosting the effectiveness of your sunscreen, you can enjoy your favourite outdoor activities all year round while protecting your skin from unwanted sun damage.
We’re here to help you look and feel your best. If you’d like to prepare for the great outdoors with some relaxation, give us a call to book a brightening facial and a Swedish massage.
Feel great, look great with Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa.
Massage. Facials. Waxing. At Hand & Stone, our registered massage therapists will help to relieve tension, soothe tired muscles and ease headaches. Interested in our facial services? We know radiant, healthy skin reflects how you look and feel. Hand & Stone’s facials are performed by certified estheticians and we are proud to offer Dermalogica®, YonKa and Diego Dalla Palma products so you can enjoy a bright, beautiful complexion between regular appointments.
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