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What is sunscreen?

Sunscreen contains active ingredients that help protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays. There are two classes of sunscreen filters: chemical and mineral (or physical). Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays before they reach the skin, while mineral sunscreens provide a physical block that protects against these rays. 

Benefits of using sunscreen

  • Reduces your risk of skin cancer 
  • Prevents burning
  • Prevents sun spots
  • Prevents premature signs of aging, including wrinkles and loss of elasticity
  • Maintains an overall even complexion

How to choose a sunscreen

When picking out a new sunscreen, you’ll want to look for a product that is specifically formulated for your skin type so that it works well with your skin. In general, people with sensitive skin tolerate mineral sunscreens better than chemical sunscreens, but anyone can use either type. You should also consider whether you’re looking for a daily sunscreen or one for working out outside and swimming, because this will determine whether you’ll need a water-resistant formula or not. 

How to use a sunscreen 

  • First, cleanse your skin, apply any serums or treatments, and then apply your moisturizer
  • Next, 15 minutes before sun exposure, apply about a quarter teaspoon of sunscreen to your face, neck, and ears
  • For the rest of the body, apply about an ounce of sunscreen to any exposed skin
  • Reapply every two hours, or more often when swimming (refer to the label of your water-resistant sunscreen to see how often you need to reapply)

Make sure to patch test your sunscreen

When adding a new product to your routine, it’s smart to do a patch test to avoid any negative reactions. To patch test your sunscreen, apply a small amount to clean skin on the forearm, and avoid washing the area for 24 hours. After 24 hours, see if there are any signs of irritation.

Common Questions

How often should you use sunscreen?

You should use sunscreen daily, even when you aren’t spending a ton of time outside, and even if it’s cloudy. UV rays are able to penetrate through windows and clouds, so daily use is ideal for maximum protection. 

How much sunscreen should you apply?

You’ll want to use about an ounce of sunscreen for the entire body. For the face, ears, and front of neck, you’ll want to use about a quarter teaspoon. 

Does sunscreen help with acne or acne scars?

Sunscreen won’t directly treat acne or acne scars, but it does play a role in the healing process of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (AKA discolored acne marks). Wearing sunscreen daily helps ensure these dark spots don’t get darker, and therefore will help speed up the process of fading these marks.

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