The Importance of Sunscreen
The importance of sunscreen is often underestimated. Many of us would rather focus on getting a dark tan than protecting ourselves. We put aside the thought that the sun is harmful and that sunscreen is oh so important.
I use to be one of those people. In high school I would lay by the pool daily and rarely wore sunscreen. When I did, it was only on my face. Putting sunscreen on was a rare occurrence. I was more interested in having a nice tan than protecting my skin.
I love being outdoors as much as anyone else. But, protecting my skin is of utmost importance to me.
You Live and You Learn
I have always been one of those people that was obsessed with my skin and protecting it – Even in high school. Yet, I was not quite doing it like I should. Laying out all day unprotected and then applying cream at night to prevent damage is not the right thing to do.
It was when I first got married that I became really focused on a great skin care regimen. One of the major things in that regimen was, well sunscreen. Upon getting married, I quit lying in the tanning bed and quit baking in the sun unprotected.
I now wear sunscreen daily and try to always wear a hat while in the sun. In the past 2 years I have developed melasma and I feel sure it is because of sun damage from previous years. Having melasma stinks when you love the sun as much as I do. I feel sure that if I had always protected my skin as I do now that I would have never gotten melasma. It is from sun damage, plain and simple.
I Look Like a Lobster, Yes a Lobster
I was inspired to write about this post after my incident this week. I live in Mississippi and our weather is all over the place. Well, this past week we had a couple of warm days. Warm days excite us as we love being outside. Warm days mean being outside for us.
One afternoon this week during the warm weather, I decided to go out and lie in my lawn chair and relax after work. I also needed to soothe my headache. I had sunscreen on my face and of course a hat because I pretty much always wear a hat when outdoors.
Right after lying in my chair, I fell asleep. I fell asleep for a couple of hours. Upon waking up and going indoors, I realized that I was burnt. I looked like a lobster. My arms and legs were toast. I even had marks on my arms from where I was resting my head during my nap that I took by accident.
I had not been burnt like this for years. Angry was an understatement. All I could think about was the damage that I just allowed to happen.
Sitting in the lawn chair on a nice and sunny day turned into a really bad sunburn. It does not have to be scorching hot to get burnt. All you need is a little bit of sunshine. Even on cloudy days you can get burnt.
I have been miserable since getting so burnt. Four days in and I am still uncomfortable and red. I know the next step will be the messy peeling of my skin. Being sunburned sucks. I encourage everyone to always wear sunscreen. There is nothing good about having this happen.
Keep in mind that I tan easily. I have a natural medium tone to my skin. I do not typically burn yet this is what happened. Only a few short hours in the sun unprotected can cause so much damage to your skin.
My Favorite Sunscreens
Since getting so burnt, I figured this was a great time to discuss my favorite sunscreens. At any given time you will find many brands and types of sunscreen in my bathroom and in my purse. I use sunscreen as a part of my daily skincare regimen.
Leaving my house without some sunscreen in my purse is a no no for me. I know this seems a bit excessive but it is so important for me to protect my skin. Not to mention that 15 minutes of sunshine on my face causes my melasma to show its ugly face.
I use a different sunscreen for my face and body. A great sunscreen is a necessity for your entire body. But, I like to provide even more coverage for my face.
The sunscreen at Walmart does not provide the same protection as some of the sunscreens found at Ulta or Sephora. For my body, I will use any type of sunscreen. For my face, I want the good stuff with the right ingredients.
What is in my Cabinet?
- Elta MD UV Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50
- Obagi Sun Shield
- Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Sunscreen Lotion
- Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Sunscreen Spray
- Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen
- Bullfrog Insta-Cool Spray Sunscreen
- Equate Ultra Sheer Sunscreen
Elta MD and Obagi Sunscreen
I use Elta MD and Obagi sunscreen for my face. Each of these products contains Zinc. Zinc is an important ingredient for your sunscreen. It is especially important for Zinc to be in the sunscreen you are applying for your face. A dermatologist once told me that you want at least 9% Zinc in your sunscreen.
When you have melasma, you want the best sunscreen with the best ingredients. If not, your dark spots just get darker and darker.
I apply the Elta MD sunscreen daily as a part of my morning skincare regimen. It is thin and goes on smoothly. It does not leave your skin feeling greasy or sticky. My makeup goes over it without problem.
I love that it is waterproof. Wearing waterproof sunscreen is great because you never know when you may sweat. I also use waterproof before going to the beach or pool. I want to be completely protected.
I keep the Obagi sunscreen in my purse. I never like to leave home without some sunscreen in my purse. You just never know where extra sunscreen is needed and I like to be prepared. I mean, when you have Melasma as I do, you do not risk being exposed and unprotected. Ever.
Hawaiian Tropic Sunscreen
My husband and I both love Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen. It is not sticky and most of all it smells great. It has become one of our favorite sunscreens. We use the lotion just as much as the spray.
If we are going to the pool or beach, we apply lotion before we leave home. Then, we re-apply hourly using the spray. The spray is just easier for the “in betweens,” especially while at the beach.
I cannot stand to put on lotion sunscreen while at the beach because we all know that sand ends up everywhere. I always end up with sand in the tops of my sunscreen bottles. I cannot stand the feeling of sand mixed with my lotion.
While at the beach, we will go back to the room at lunch and re-apply a good, new application of lotion. Again, we use the spray after.
The Hawaiian Tropic spray sunscreen is one of the best sprays I have ever used. It does not leave you shiny and sticky like many other spray sunscreens. It leaves my skin soft and without the shine. I recommend it if you are a spray sunscreen user.
Neutrogena sunscreen use to be my “go to sunscreen.” It always received great reviews and is what I use to always buy. Lately, I feel like it quit working for me. I know that seems weird but I feel as though it actually makes me burn. So, I stopped using it as my main sunscreen.
It seems to be fine while lying by the pool. But, being on the beach where the sun is more intense it seems to just not work as well.
I use this sunscreen when I am hanging out outdoors or lying by the pool. I opt for the Hawaiian Tropic for the beach or with any water activities.
Bullfrog Insta-Cool Spray Sunscreen
My husband loves the insta-cool effect of this sunscreen. This is not a sunscreen we buy frequently. Yet, we saw it one day and decided to try it.
The cooling effect is nice. It feels good when you are hot and needing to refresh and provides enough protection.
Often times equate or generic sunscreens work just as well as name brand. This is one of those cases. We bought this one day when Walmart was out of what we were looking for. It provides good coverage and is not too greasy. It is not a first option, but does work.
Why Should You Wear Sunscreen?
- It prevents UVA rays which cause aging, wrinkles, and sunspots.
- It prevents UVB rays that cause sunburns.
Besides Sunscreen You Should:
- Stay out of the direct sun during 10am and 2pm (this is a hard one)
- Wear Hats
- Avoid Tanning Beds
- Pay attention to moles or freckles that are changing
What Should You Look for in a Sunscreen?
- Water Resistant
- SPF of 30 or higher
- Broad Spectrum
- Contains Zinc (especially for facial sunscreens)
Nobody is too good for sunscreen. The sun does not judge and affects everyone. Applying sunscreen should be part of your daily skin care routine.
If you apply it daily, then you do have to worry about being unprotected when going outdoors. If you are spending the day outdoors, you need to have extra sunscreen so that you can re-apply often.
I like to re-apply every one hour. You can get by with spacing it out a little more depending on the activities you are doing. If you are in and out of the water, I would stick to every hour at least. Always read the label and go by the guidelines given. Remember, they are there for a reason.
You cannot apply sunscreen once and then spend the day at the pool or beach and expect to be protected. Be smart with sunscreen application and use it as directed.
The simple application of sunscreen protects you from so many bad things. Take the few extra minutes and protect yourself! Just think, by applying sunscreen, you are protecting yourself from sunburn, aging, and most importantly – cancer.
Now, go out and get you some sunscreen and protect yourself! It is worth it! I promise!