What You Need to Know: Skincare, SPF, and Chemical vs Physical Sunscreen
We know it’s easy to shrug off sunscreen and rush out to what you need to do, but all those
days of saying, “I’ll mostly be indoors,” “I’m late for softball, I’ll remember next time,” and “It’s
kinda cloudy anyway” adds up. The reason we do this is because we aren’t seeing any
consequences and like so many things with health, we wait until there’s a problem to take it
Please do not wait. Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers, and also the most
preventable. Just as there’s compound benefits to early and regular skincare, there’s compound
ramifications to neglecting skin protection, and damage is occurring even if we can’t see it yet.
On the days you spend little to no time outside, daily sunscreen is still important for blocking
HEV, or blue light, which comes from the sun but also from from our phones, tablets, and
computers. Blue light, like UVA and UVB light, can cause inflammation, hyperpigmentation and
brown spots. When shopping, just check if the sunscreen is also blue light blocking. If you’re still
not convinced, expert after expert confirms that sunscreen helps prevent skin cancer, eye
damage, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. This article claims sunscreen can even reverse
signs of aging. Sunscreen is a win-win product for everyone!
Yes, come for the liquid facial to exfoliate and hydrate and the laser facial to reverse present
signs of sun damage and we’ll take care of you, but on your end, sunscreen is the key
prevention product to use. To make it part of your daily routine, keep it simple.
How to Keep it Simple
We’re always more successful at adding or changing something when it’s simple, so here is a
two step plan for doing the most helpful thing to protect your skin. Build the habit of wearing
sunscreen year-round (regular use is what helps prevent wrinkles) by incorporating it into your
morning get-ready routine. After you wash your face and moisturize, add sunscreen before
starting the day. For people who wear more skincare and makeup, just remember that
sunscreen goes on after skincare and before makeup. That’s step one done.
Step two is to reapply. Eliminate excuses and the hassle by having a travel size SPF product in
your desk, car or bag. One of the reasons we love Colorescience SPF products so much is that
it makes reapplication easy, the mineral format feels weightless and won’t make you sticky, and
yes they are excellent for men and children too. Sun protection is for everyone, so don’t shy
away from helpful and effective products like the Colorescience Loose Mineral Foundation
Brush, which you can brush over your face and neck in five seconds. Simply reapply mid-day, or
if you want to be more careful on days that you are spending more time in direct sunlight,
calculate the SPF you put on in the morning with the strength you used. Each number (SPF 15,
30, 50) stands for blocks of 20 minutes of sun protection. For example, SPF 30 x 20 minutes
gives you 600 minutes, or ten hours of UV protection. Activity in water or sweating will lower that
time to as little as 40 minutes so you will need to reapply sooner.
Which Sunscreen Should I Buy?
Now that you know what SPF stands for, you can choose what is best for your lifestyle. The
Canadian Cancer Society recommends at least SPF 30 for effective skin protection (but
anything higher than SPF 50 isn’t as effective). If you hate sunscreen and only use a tinted
moisturizer with SPF in the morning, which tend to have SPF 15-20, definitely reapply at
We want everyone to make informed skincare choices, so here are some facts for you:
- Sunscreen uses both organic and inorganic active ingredients to keep your skin safe
from broad spectrum light (UVA, UVB, and in some also HEV).
- Chemical sunscreens, typically available at drugstores, use active chemicals such as
avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone, which creates a chemical reaction that
absorbs, alters and releases UV radiation as heat from the skin.
- Physical sunscreens (AKA mineral sunscreens) use primary ingredients like zinc oxide
or titanium dioxide, which will reflect or scatter UV radiation. These ingredients are
naturally occurring minerals, do not absorb through the skin, and do not clog pores.
- Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the only physical UV blockers that are approved by
- Physical sunscreens may cost more but are also more effective, non comedogenic, and
the best in the market to protect your skin well.
- Chemical sunscreens begin to take effect 20 minutes after application. Physical
sunscreen takes effect immediately.
We hope this has been helpful and informative. Remember, keep it simple: wear sunscreen
every day (SPF 30), reapply when needed, and find effective products that travel with you
easily. Now throw your sunnies and SPF product in your bag and go enjoy that patio!