Alright the next installment of absolute necessity, meaning you should be using it no matter what, is SPF. I know, I know, you've heard it all your life, you don't need reminded, you know what it prevents, blah blah blah blah. Well regardless, we're gonna discuss it. Because some people still don't use it like they should, meaning in the winter, when it's overcast, they don't apply it correctly, and they don't re-apply.
Starting with: What does Broad Spectrum mean? Broad Spectrum the term means plainly that it protects again a wide range of environmental stress and potential problems for the skin. So Broad or Full Spectrum means it protects you from both UVA and UVB Rays.
How high should your SPF be? I like to keep mine no lower than 30. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor which is the measurement or how well a sunscreen does against UVB rays, because UVA isn't rated (apparently). Fun fact (actually not so fun for the test subjects): The SPF strength is based on how long the skin takes to burn with protection against a skin that has no protection. Also, it's good to note that your SPF 30 it's only marginally better than a SPF 15 which often we think since it's double that it would be twice as strong as the 15. According to some research (I feel it's really good concrete research/evidence), sunscreen with an SPF of more than 50 only slightly increases the UV protection of the product as opposed to a 30 SPF by 1% that's right it is 1% better (according to professionals in the industry). The strength of your SPF has a lot to do with how well you apply it, meaning if don't you apply the correct amount and if it's easily removed by sweating, swimming, etc, it actually won't be as strong as you think. Which is why you should reapply often and follow directions on how much to use. I tend to put mine on at least 15 minutes before going outside and I apply a liberal amount.
Water Resistant? I definitely choose water resistant but I feel SPF should be re applied every 80 minutes. However, it's best to re-apply your sunscreen directly after swimming and while sweating. To be on the safe side. Even if it says "water resistant" or "very water resistant".
What's in sunscreen and what's it's function? Sunscreen has filters that reflect or absorb UV rays depending on what you get. There are 2 main types: Chemical and Physical. Chemical sunscreen absorbs UV radiation and scatters some of it but mainly it absorbs the rays and converts it to a small amount of heat. They protect against UVA and UVB, they're often found in makeup, except for mineral makeup. Chemical sunscreens tend to be the one that can cause break outs, so if you notice that then maybe try a Physical sunscreen. The ingredients present in these products might be:
Mexoryl SX and XL
Tinosorb S and M
Uvinul T 150
Uvinul A Plus
Physical sunscreens reflect and block UV radiation because it sits on top of the skin because the grounded down mineral is large enough to cover pores. They may contain " Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide" and they tend to be less irritating for the skin. They're the SPF found in mineral makeup.
I'm going to insert a helpful video, I think, from Nadine Baggot who is a wealth of knowledge "The Beauty Know It All" and a veteran in the beauty industry. She did a recent video on SPF and she explains things very well. https://youtu.be/777ZhmF_vbo?t=3s
What's the best formula? That's really up to you and your skin needs or likes. They come in Sprays, Creams, Gels, Serums, Lotions, Stick, and Mousse even. Sprays are most of the time what is chosen for the convenience and how quick it is. I love spray SPF but the truth is you just are getting a light layer keep that in mind and if you are gonna use a spray make sure it's even, and I tend to think aerosols do a better job at covering. Supergoop just released their new mousse formula of sunscreen SPF 50. So that's cool. I tend to think a serum or lotion base is the best approach and then re-apply with sprays or even mousse as the day goes on if you want. I still feel like a serum or lotion is the better bet. Also.....USING 2 DIFFERENT STRENGTHS OF SPF AT ONCE DOESN'T MEAN YOU GET THAT TOTAL AS YOUR SPF. Meaning if you layer a 15 with a 30 that does not mean you get an SPF of 45. It means your SPF is just 30. Your SPF coverage, if you're using different strengths, will always be the highest number you applied. So again lets say you used a 15, then a 30, then a 50. You're coverage would be 50.
Cosmetics or Moisturizers that include SPF? This is just my thought on the matter. I believe that you will get some protection from makeup that has SPF and I do think you get protection from moisturizer or skincare products that house SPF. The key, especially with makeup, is that it often gets moved around or maybe even completely wiped off throughout the day. I do not think it's enough if you're going to an outdoor function. The peak hours for the sun are between 10 am and 2 pm regardless of what time of year it is. This is when you're at the highest risk for the most damage, even if it's cloudy and the sun isn't shining.
So the bigger factor with Sunscreen is look more so at making sure it's broad or full spectrum and water resistant, instead of how high the SPF actually is. Which I still say should be no less than 30 (some will say 15) and I feel like 50 is about as good as you're going to get but only slightly better. Also bear in mind that they do expire. So make sure it's in date.
My top five sunscreens are as follows:
Now these are all products I'd use on my face. Some cheaper alternatives that I think are good is Olay, La-Roche Posay, Neutrogena, etc just read the ingredients. For the body I think you can get a good SPF with full spectrum for a lot less than these products. To be fair though I do really enjoy the Supergoop Mousse they just put out. I just wanted to list the ones for the face because of all the skincare we discuss on here generally being about the face, neck and chest. So following the rules above like, making sure it's broad spectrum, getting the right formula for your skin, getting a water resistant kind (especially for the body) and making sure it's still in date is the things I would look for.
This will end all the "necessary" steps in my Step By Step series, from here on we'll discuss exfoliation, serums, retinols and retinoids, masks, etc.
I'm from Tennessee. I'm a makeup and skincare lover. I have always enjoyed creating looks but I love to help people with product knowledge and application even more. I've been able to do these things because God has seen fit to bless me with the opportunity.