Yes, you need to wear sunscreen every day
I get a lot of questions about makeup and skincare products, but I'm rarely asked about sunscreen. I have to admit, I haven't alway been a sunscreen junkie, but for the past few years I don't even step out for a coffee without it. I find it absolutely insane to waste your time and money on anti-ageing skincare products if you haven't invested in a good quality sunscreen. Sunscreen is the most important product we have in our anti-ageing toolkit.
For all those sunscreen virgins out there, you should know; finding a good, non-comedogenic (non-pore-clogging), lightweight, and absorbable sunscreen is a task. I've definitely used a lot of shitt*y ones that don't spread evenly, don't stay put, and some leave a terrible white cast — definitely not approved for those random selfies! I've been through a lot of trial and error to find a few products that I love. In the interest of saving you time, money, and a lot of frustration I'm going to share my top 3 products.
Before I get to the star performers, I wanted to mention that there's been a long-running argument in the derm community about what factor to use. Some professionals say higher (like 50+) is better, and some say lower (like 30) is sufficient. Here's a little background video from Lisa Eldrige talking about it.
Strength is a key consideration, but I think it's equally important to keep these 3 things in mind:
Quality - Look for a good brand to invest in — get something that is well formulated. Strength matters, but quality impacts how easy it is to remove the product at the end of the day and how your skin will ultimately respond. You'll find that derm offices, facialists, and Sephora will stock the best selection.
Removal - Make sure you wash it off well at the end of the day — comedogenic or not, this is essential to any good anti-ageing routine.
The Sun's Impact - Think about how the sun impacts you. I personally have a lot of pigmentation — lots and lots of freckles! — if I don't use a high factor, I'm bound to end up with splotchy dots that will eventually join into a horrendous mess. I've experimented with different formulas and applications; however, it comes down to a more is more for me. I opt for no less than a factor 40, but ideally, factor 50 is best.
As far as the face goes, I like both tinted and untinted formulas as along as they are mineral based and intended for use on the face — make sure it actually says face on the product. If you're curious about the differences between chemical and mineral (sometimes called physical) sunscreens, see Lisa's post. Equally as important as safeguarding your face, you need to protect your décolleté. Nobody wants to look at grandma's sagging, crepey chest!
So let's jump into my favs. My first pick is Elta MD. They have a fantastic SPF 40 (what I was able to get in Canada) broad-spectrum, tinted sunscreen or you can opt for the SPF 50 untinted sport waterproof broad spectrum formula. The base is a lightweight, Zinc Oxide formula that works really well under makeup. It doesn't settle into fine lines or creases, and it's got hyaluronic acid to help you keep moisturized throughout the day. In my opinion, it's a clear winner.
For thicker, more resilient skin on the body, I've found that SunBum factor 70 does an excellent job of protecting when you're in direct sun. On a recent trip to Palm Springs, the sun hardly left a mark where I would usually be fighting immense pigmentation upon arriving home. It's a chemical sunscreen, but I often like to wear tank tops in hot weather, and I find that this does the best job of protecting my skin. As a side note, I will sometimes wear mineral sunscreen on my body if I know I'm going to be in the shade at some point. Otherwise, I stick to the chemical stuff because I feel it performs better for me. Plus, I often wear hats to give that extra protective layer on my face.
Next, I wanted to mention a must have for your purse — take it everywhere you go! Please, please, please do yourself a HUGE favor and get a good mineral powder stick. This stick should be kept in your purse for touch-ups during the day. It doesn't matter if you're going out to grab lunch or taking a little walk, You can reapply for safety — and bonus, absorb some of that nasty oil — before jetting out.
If you're part of the office crowd and need a little more convincing on wearing sunscreen, watch Dr. Sam Bunting — she's honestly the sh*t. In this handy little video, she speaks about how to reapply and why. Listen and let all that great anti-ageing info sink-in.