Have you heard?! Sun safety is all the rage.
I used to be a total sun worshipper but halfway through my twenties, I finally saw the light. Nowadays, I don't see the literal light very often because I'm preoccupied with anti-aging hacks in the form of prescription Retin-A, detailed skincare, hella SPF, sun hats, and staying indoors.
I guess it's kinda funny that I went from being a bit tanorexic to somewhat of a vampire. What can I say? When I'm into something, I'm into it.
Although I've personally taken practicing safe sun to the extreme, don't worry! Protecting your skin doesn't have to be a total drag or obsess fest. The best SPF products are convenient and affordable, plus they smell nice and offer tons of anti-aging and beauty benefits aside from protecting your largest organ from the sun.
Here are the SPF products I'm currently using:
I love facial oils of all kinds and sunscreen is no exception. I've been using the Supergoop! SPF 50 oil for a few years now and am totally bonkers for it. The full size is $34 which is a bit steep, but you can get a decent-sized travel bottle from Sephora for $12. Also, the L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Face Oil with SPF 30 is a pretty good dupe for around $11.
I got a sample of Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen at the Create & Cultivate conference in February. It's super sheer, lightweight, and applies kind of like a makeup primer which I am sooooooo down with. It's $32 from Sephora, which is why I haven't sprung for the full-size tube yet, but I just might have to when my sample runs out.
Full disclosure: I was gonna tell you that the Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is the way to go for an SPF setting spray but I didn't want you to think I was kissing only one brand's ass! The point is: get yourself a makeup setting spray that has SPF. It's great for touch-ups and protecting your skin all day, even when you're wearing a full face!
Speaking of makeup, when I put any on—which is about once a week these days since I work from home—I like to use a BB or CC cream that contains SPF. In my [unreliable] opinion, IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream is the best beauty balm with sunscreen out there. It's sheer, buildable, color-correcting, and makes me look all dewy. Some people prefer a matte look, but I like a little shine, believe it or not. (Side note: I heard people with oily skin will have fewer wrinkles later in life because dry skin will crack and crease.) Guess what? I never buy full-size foundation or CC cream. The travel size of this stuff is only $15 and I use it so seldom that it lasts me half a year. Why splurge for the big girl when she's just gonna get cakey and go to waste? Anyway, I pretty much always opt for a foundation with SPF—except for my bridal makeup—but I don't rely on it to protect my skin. I rely on the products underneath that I mentioned above.
For full-body sun protection, I am partial to Sun Bum. SPF sprays are great for touch-ups, but ya'll know real coverage comes from a thick lotion, right? The sunblock products from Sun Bum are protective, moisturizing, affordable (around $14 a tube), and smell like banana Laffy Taffy.
Don't forget your lips! I got this Jack Black SPF 25 lip balm in my Birchbox a little while back and use it every day now. It protects my kisser from sunburn, smells good, and heals dry or cracked lips! I keep some form of lip balm in all corners of my life including my car, my bedside, the bathroom, my purse, my desk, my pocket, my ears, my hair. . . .
In addition to slathering various potions onto my skin, I am also keen on wearing hats for sun protection. I have a go-to black floppy straw hat but sometimes I'll steal baseball hats from Joe or opt for this goofy Daft Punk full-face visor for a boat ride or outdoor concert that takes place during the blinding golden hour.
I use SPF every single day, even through the Pacific Northwest overcast winter. Believe it or not, damaging rays can get you all year long. I make sure my face, neck, chest, and hands are protected when I'm in the car, stepping outside for a few minutes, and even during the day when I'm working near a window—UV light can still pass through glass! Little bits of exposure each day add up and can be damaging to your skin in the long-term. (Or so I hear. . . .Spoiler: I'm not a scientist and I don't have all the answers. I just do a lot of reading about skincare and anti-aging.)
This is a really dark reference, but I always remember how young Jaycee Dugard looked when she escaped from captivity. She was in her 30s but had really young-looking skin which she said was the result of spending so many years of her life indoors, out of the sun.
I think it's just important to remember that sun is sun. It's the same stuff, whether you're at the beach or running errands or on a quick walk. If you'd apply SPF in a bathing suit, it makes sense to apply it whenever your skin will be in contact with sunlight, even for short periods of time!
The Fuss About Vitamin D
Am I worried about getting enough Vitamin D? Nope! First of all, according to the brainiacs at Harvard Medical School, SPF blocks UBV light and doesn't really affect your skin's absorption of Vitamin D. And anyway, my daily vitamin contains a little D.
Whaddup with the UV Index
Do you ever check the UV index on your phone? If you go to your iPhone's weather app and scroll all the way to the bottom, it will show the current UV index which is a scale indicating how risky current sun exposure is. 1 through 3 would be low, and a 7 or above is high. Sometimes it might be like, 60 degrees out with a UV index of 7, which is something to take note of because you can still totally get sunburned.
I used to think the UV index only went up to 10, but when we were in Hawaii, it was at an 11! I was basically frantically applying SPF 50 every 20 minutes and still got pretty tan. And I felt like I had been maced the first day when the saltwater and zinc had a party in my eyeballs.
Here are the best sunscreen tips I can offer you right now:
Remember that sunscreen is water-resistant, not proof.
A good sunscreen lesson we learned in Hawaii is that a lot of the products are water-resistant, not water-proof. This means if you run and jump into the ocean right when you get to the beach—who could blame you?—you'll need to reapply sunblock immediately after, otherwise you'll definitely burn your ass.
Apply SPF naked.
Another sunscreen tip is to apply it while you're naked, before you leave the house. This way, you won't miss any areas or get a painful red burn line where your tank top strap sits after a day in the sun. It's easy to miss spots when you apply sunblock sitting on a beach with your suit on.
Don't forget your eyelids.
Apparently, this is a place a lot of people miss when it comes to SPF application. Maybe this area gets skipped because we wear sunglasses or because our eyes are usually open, but the skin on your eyelids is super thin and susceptible to skin cancer. See also: the visible line of scalp where you part your hair.
Find a sunscreen you like.
When I first read that in order to really protect yourself from the sun, you're supposed to apply the equivalent of a shot glass full of sunscreen to your whole body, I was overwhelmed by the information. How could one even live their life and make time to apply as much SPF as they're ~supposed~ to? Well, I've sort of gotten used to applying globs of it on the daily and you know what? I actually like the smell of sunscreen. But if you don't love it like me, try a few out and lock down one that you really like and will actually use on a regular basis.
Honestly, I wish there was just a simple pill you could pop for this that would give you a nice SPF 30 shield for a week at a time. Wouldn't that be nice?
I know it's May the 4th and all and maybe this would be a good day to finally watch Star Wars Episode VIII (which I'm embarrassed to say I haven't seen yet). Joe and I have been mulling it over for our weekly movie selection it but it's two and a half hours long, which is about a half hour too long for me. We're gonna go see Tully, the new Diablo Cody movie, tonight instead.
Stay safe out there! (In the sun, I mean.)