Art by Caitlin Roark
Sunscreen gets a bad rap. I don’t know about you, but I’ve personally been fighting my mom’s incessant insistence since I popped out of the womb. I would literally run for the hills anytime a bottle of thick, bright white, coconut-scented goop came my way. But moving to Malibu and spending all four seasons in the sun has forced me to reconsider my previous position on the matter.
As tempting as a tan is, I’ve realized that no one will care if I’m tan now if 10 years from now I’m all shriveled and wrinkled, aka pruned up. Yes mom, you were right. I take comfort in my undamaged face now knowing that every time I step out of the door I’ve done my part to protect myself from premature aging and skin cancer.
I know it’s not glamorous, but it’s absolutely crucial. No amount of makeup or expensive skincare regimens can fully correct or cover up skin damage and premature aging. There is no rewind button. You only get one face in this life, and you’ll thank yourself later, as it’s always easier (and cheaper) to prevent damage than to attempt to undo years of it. So make protecting your face a priority while you’re young. And please, dear God, do not forget your neck!
There is no such thing as a safe tan unless it comes in a bottle, but we can get into that another week. Melanin is what makes your skin darken or tan, and it is produced only when the skin has been damaged by the sun, according to the FDA. So anytime you are tan, damage has been done.
SPF protects you from UVB rays — the ones that reach your epidermis, or the superficial layer of skin, and lead to cancer and sunburn if unprotected. SPF does not protect you from UVA rays, which reach the deepest level of your skin, the dermis, and cause premature aging, according to TIME Magazine. So it’s important you choose sunscreens that offer Broad Spectrum protection from both types of rays.
I would try to get at least a 30 Broad Spectrum SPF or above, and always remember to reapply after a sweat or a swim. If you’re hiking, at the beach or spending time outside in direct sun, always wear a hat. Even when it’s cloudy, 80 percent of the sun’s rays can, and will, reach your pretty little face, so plan, expect and protect.
Since coming to these realizations, I have searched and scoured high and low for the best of the best when it comes to sunscreen. Just because protecting my face is something I have to do doesn’t mean it should clog pores, leave a white cast or bum me out in general. So I held sunscreen to the same standard as I held my favorite tinted moisturizer and went from there. Use sunscreen, but make it great.
I’m proud to say I’m on my 16th bottle of my personal favorite, and yes, it has replaced my tinted moisturizer. I know every skin type is different, and I’ve tried tons, and I do mean tons, because I didn’t want to settle for mediocrity and neither should you. Check out a few of my tried and true favorites below.
For normal to dry skin:
Nourishing Oils Give a Gorgeous Non-Greasy Glow: Suntegrity 5 in 1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen
Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Plus a Little More Coverage: Elta MD UV Elements Broad Spectrum SPF 44 Tinted
For oily or sensitive skin:
Oil-Free with a Matte Finish: CoTZ Face Tinted SPF 40
Oil Free with a Matte Finish: Tizo 3 Tinted Face Mineral SPF 40
For acne-prone or sensitive skin:
My Personal Favorite: Elta MD UV Clear Tinted SPF 40
So find a sunscreen that works for you and start adding it to your morning routine now. You’ll thank me at our 20 year reunion.
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