So, last week I went on a little rant about tanning in the sun. I mean, I was riled up about the whole thing – I could have kept going for several paragraphs. However, the post itself was about self tanning, NOT about the dangers of sun exposure so I held back. But, since the topic is near and dear to my heart I decided to write a dedicated post on my sun protection essentials.
Let’s start with a little story. Skin cancer runs in my family. My great grandmother had skin cancer and my uncle on my mother’s side passed away after a long and very painful battle with skin cancer. Further, both my parents have Solar Keratosis on their faces from years of UV damage. 1 in 10 people with Solar Keratosis will progress to having squamous cell carcinoma – a form of skin cancer. To add to all of that, my mom developed a pretty severe allergy to the sun. As in, she cannot be in the sun without boat loads of physical sunscreen on every inch of her body (including the palms of her hands). The sun is NO JOKE.
Between the family history, and all the warnings around UV rays and skin cancer, I’ve developed what I like to think of as a very healthy fear of sun exposure. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I DO NOT tan in the sun. I’m shocked that smart, educated people continue to lay out in the sun to tan. If you are one of these people, please stop. Seriously. THERE IS NO SAFE WAY TO TAN IN THE SUN. A tan from the sun is nothing more than damaged skin. Putting on SPF before laying out DOES NOT protect you from the harmful effects of the sun. Sure, it slows down the tanning process, but ultimately if you get tan, you’ve damaged your skin.
Laying out in the sun to look darker is the same as smoking cigarettes to look cooler. Just think about what you are doing. Is your tan worth potential skin cancer? NO PEOPLE, it is not. It doesn’t matter if it’s just your legs, if it’s just for an hour, if it’s just something you do on vacation. Getting a sunburn just once every two years can triple your risk of cancer. TRIPLE!!
Can you tell I’m passionate on the subject?
But, other than warn you and remind you of the dangers of sun exposure, I want to talk about my sun protection essentials. All my favorite products (that I use year round) to protect my skin from the sun.
If I think of a sun protection essential that is truly the whole package, this is it. It’s a water-resistant, chemical free, non-greasy sunscreen. It’s made specifically for sensitive, post procedure skin so it’s oil free, paraben free and chemical sunblock free. The active ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which provide a physical barrier to protect the skin from the sun. It wears well under makeup and doesn’t break me out.
A note about physical vs chemical sun protection: After a ton of research, I’ve concluded that I prefer to use physical sunscreens vs chemical. You can read more about the differences here and here. Sure, physical sunscreens are more likely to leave a white cast on your face, but they’ve also been around much longer. For me, they are the safer bet. However, between wearing a chemical sunblock or nothing at all? Chemical all the way.
I don’t know how many times I’ve raved about this product on the blog already. At least 6? Not only is this an amazing foundation/cc cream, but it has SPF 50 which is unheard of for makeup products. And as a major plus, the sun protection is from physical, not chemical sunscreen. And yes, I’ll use both the Elta MD Sunscreen + the It Cosmetics cc cream together. Give me all the SPF.
The most annoying thing about sun protection is that you need to reapply every few hours. Especially if you are in the water. This powder is great for reapplying since I don’t have to worry about caking on something on top of my makeup. It comes in a convenient to go container with a removable brush so perfect for on the go. Since this is a powder, I apply it pretty generously to make sure I’m getting the most protection possible.
One item to note is that this is not completely invisible. If you apply enough powder, it will look a bit white on the skin. I.e. I would not recommend this for photography or special events.
This product is basically a body lotion/moisturizer and a sun block in one. It smells nice, absorbs quickly and doesn’t feel like I’m putting on sun block on a daily basis. It just feels like lotion.
Keep in mind this particular product is a chemical sunscreen, not a physical one. However, in this particular case, since this also acts as a body moisturizer, I’m much more prone to using it daily. Therefore, I’d rather have this which I know I’ll use than try to go with a physical sunscreen that I have to put on on top of my lotion. Does that make sense?
As many of you know, hands are often one of the first body parts to show signs of aging. Mostly because they are so often forgotten when applying products. Similar to the body lotion, the hand cream smells nice, absorbs quickly and is very moisturizing. I keep this in my purse for constant reapplication.
For on the go (or serious sun exposure days) I love this little CeraVe stick. It’s oil-free, water resistant and a physical sun screen. The formula is on the thicker side so it takes a little more effort to fully rub it in (compared to a liquid formula). However, it’s small and convenient for on the go.
My Mom’s Pick
This little deodorant looking stick is fast absorbing and oil free. It’s a bit bigger than the CeraVe stick so you can glide it on all over without having to use your hands to spread or rub it in.
My biggest piece of advice? First focus on finding a formula that you like. Don’t worry about whether it’s a physical or chemical sunscreen. A chemical sunscreen that you use daily is always going to be better than a physical one that you use every other day because you don’t like the formula. Make it a habit to put it on every single day, rain or shine. After a while, it becomes part of the routine, just like brushing your teeth.
Do you have any sunscreen recommendations or favorites? Any body ones we should try? Comment down below!
* All images above are via ShopStyle Collective and linked in the product name.