Our skin is our largest organ. It works so hard to protect us every day in many ways — and it’s so important for us to do our part to support and protect it. That’s why the daily use of sunscreen, along with other sun care steps, is crucial as part of our daily skincare routine.
UV radiation from sun exposure causes visible damage to our skin and is, in fact, the #1 factor contributing to the visible signs of aging. These not only appear as lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, but also as enlarged pores and uneven skin tone and texture. UV radiation can even exacerbate the problems associated with certain skin conditions. Additionally, according to cancercouncil.com, 99% of non-melanoma and 95% of melanoma skin cancers are caused by too much UV radiation. Preventive measures are key to protecting your skin.
I’m sure you’ve seen the term “broad-spectrum'' when searching for the right sunscreen. Different UV rays damage the skin in different ways, but they’re both harmful with prolonged exposure. Did you know that UVA rays are the ones that cause the major signs of aging and UVB rays are the rays that cause a sunburn? A broad-spectrum SPF helps cover a range of different UV rays for the best sun protection.
Chemical vs Physical Sunscreen
Esthetician Note: It needs to be stated that EVERYTHING is a chemical, even water.
Chemical sunscreens refer to ingredients that absorb into the skin and chemically absorb UV radiation and disperse it. They act as a filter. Chemical SPF ingredients have proven to only block certain UV wavelengths, thus requiring multiple ingredients to make a formulation broad-spectrum. They are very common in facial SPF products as they are generally lightweight and invisible upon application. It is said that they need 15 minutes to absorb before they are effective, but that is now being debated. Some may sting, not all are reef-safe, and there is even a wide range as to what ingredients are approved for use globally or are considered “clean.” There is new evidence from the FDA concerning systemic absorption of certain chemical filters and this may have an unknown impact.
Physical sunscreens are mineral compounds, Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, that sit on the skin and physically block the UV rays from getting to the skin. These have proven to be the most safe and reliable forms of SPF and are even more naturally water-resistant. They are broad-spectrum and block UVA, UVB, and UVC rays, and are effective immediately upon application. They can be challenging to formulate into facial sunscreen products because they can leave a white cast, and may be difficult to rub in clearly and evenly.
Fun Fact: It used to be thought that metal oxides were only physical SPF blockers. It is now known that they get their broad-spectrum power from both blocking and absorbing different UV rays.
What level of SPF do I need?
The SPF rating of a sunscreen relates to how well it blocks UVB rays. The FDA and the AAD recommend at least an SPF 15. However, depending on the local UV rating each day, an SPF 30 is likely essential, so this is the minimum I recommend. They also state that it takes 1-1.5 oz, or enough product to fill up a shot glass, to cover a whole body properly. If you aren’t using enough product, it can’t do its job properly. It can take ¼- ½ tsp just for the face and neck. It is important to note that you do need to reapply sunscreen every 80-90 minutes for full protection. Note: The PA rating related to how long a product protects from UVA rays.
If I’m not in direct sun for a long period of time, do I really need to wear SPF each day?
Yes. Most of the sun exposure and sun damage we get throughout our life is incidental. It breaks down and damages our collagen and elastin, triggers excess melanin production, produces textural changes, and can even cause skin cancer. Sun protection is healthcare.
The use of Retinol and exfoliants, like Glycolic Acid, requires that you use SPF during the day, even if you are using those ingredients only at night. If you have a consistent skincare routine and are hoping to improve the look of the skin, the use of SPF is absolutely essential daily.
Here at goPure Beauty, we are working tirelessly to formulate the BEST facial sunscreen on the market. We recognize that proper sun care is an essential part of your skincare routine, so we put together this list of SPF products as a resource.
The Esthetician and Dermatologist Classic Favorite
EltaMD® is a brand that uses zinc oxide as its main SPF ingredient and has proven to be a favorite of skin care professionals. They offer a range of SPF from 30-50 and have multiple consistencies to choose from for each skin type. Their
The Internet Favorite
Supergoop!® is a brand that is growing into an internet sensation in the world of sun care. They specialize in modern SPF products and have a wide range of options that can be used head-to-toe. The Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 is the easy choice to try from this brand and is their bestseller and can even double as a makeup primer.
“The original, totally invisible, weightless, scentless sunscreen with SPF 40 that leaves a velvety finish. This innovative, antioxidant-rich multitasker has a unique oil-free formula that glides onto the skin while providing broad-spectrum SPF 40 protection. Use it as a makeup-gripping primer under foundation when you want a little more coverage, or on its own if you want a more natural look. It’s a totally game-changing way to wear sunscreen every day, and it will have you SPF-Obsessed™."
The Breakout-Proof Formulation
Zitsticka™ Megashade™ SPF 50 is lightweight and won’t block pores. It is also fragrance-free, dermatologically tested, and formulated specifically for sensitive and acne-prone skin. It leaves a clear, luminous finish.
The Cruelty-Free, Clear, Mineral SPF 30
Bliss ® Block Star™ Invisible Daily Sunscreen is lightweight, non-greasy, and is a 100% true sheer mineral SPF. It uses 11.5% zinc oxide along with 4.1% titanium dioxide and works well alone or under makeup, as it leaves an invisible, almost dry-touch finish. If you don’t like that “sunscreen feeling,” this could be a great one to try and they even offer a travel size!
The Vegan, Illuminating SPF
Coola® is another brand that specializes in SPF formulations. The Dew Good Illuminating Serum Probiotic Sunscreen SPF 30 is vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free. This formulation leaves a pearly, super glowy finish and is enriched with probiotics. It also claims to additionally protect against blue light. I find myself reaching for this one a lot lately.
“The organic formula goes beyond SPF to help mitigate the effects of blue light, pollution, and other environmental stressors with our BlueScreen™ Digital De-Stress™ technology. Plus, it’s powered by probiotic technology, which helps improve moisture retention to support your skin’s natural, youthful glow.”
The Powder SPF touchup and to-go
Colorescience® offers a wide range of SPF products, and even has options for eyes and lips. The Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50 is an award-winning product that comes in a range of 4 original shades, a pearl shimmer, a bronzer, and even a sheer matte. It has a built-in brush, so you simply dust on the SPF powder with the applicator brush for easy application. It’s also ideal for that SPF touchup every 80-90 minutes.
The BB Cream
Purlisse Ageless Glow Serum BB Cream SPF 40 offers a light, dewy coverage and utilizes physical SPF protection. It’s boosted with bakuchiol, algae, and vitamin c for added skincare benefits. It comes in 11 shades, from fair to deep, and offers buildable coverage.
The All-in-One Tinted Moisturizer
PÜR™ 4-in-1 Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 is paraben-free and boasts to be a moisturizer, primer, foundation, and SPF in one. It comes in 16 shade options and is infused with hydrating ingredients that soothe and perfect the look of the skin.
Note: I personally love this formulation and wish it were higher than SPF 20.
The Makeup Setting Spray
Yes, you can spritz and set your makeup with an SPF now. The Milani Make it Last Setting Spray SPF 30 locks in makeup for up to 16 hours and blocks out UV rays. Remember that you still need to reapply your SPF even if your makeup won’t budge all day. This is a great option for added SPF protection in the summer, as it also prevents makeup meltdown.
Bonus: It’s easy to find at the drugstore.
“Ultra-lightweight formula applies evenly, keeping makeup flawless while preventing smudging, fading, and shine. Leaves skin with a subtly dewy, hydrated finish. We created this product to be on-the-go SPF protection that can be worn every day, even on bare skin, without leaving a sticky residue!”
The Hair and Scalp SPF
Our scalp is really susceptible to sunburns and can be vital if you are very fair, wear your hair parted regularly, or have thin or thinning hair. The UltaBeauty® Mineral Hair and Scalp Powder can be sprinkled on to protect your exposed scalp and is easy to take on the go.
The Matte SPF for Oily Skin and ALL skin tones
Black Girl Sunscreen Make it Matte™ SPF 45 is vegan, cruelty-free, and reef safe and offers all-day shine control in a lightweight gel formulation. This formulation was crafted for women of color and works on all skin tones for truly invisible matte UV protection.
High SPF Drug Store Favorite
One word...Anthelios. La Roche Posay makes excellent high SPF sun care and the Anthelios line offers a wide range of options for face and full body. The Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen for Face and Body SPF 100 was specifically formulated for those that burn easily and need superior, high SPF care.
The Affordable Daily SPF Moisturizer
The CeraVe® AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 was developed by dermatologists and is your daily moisturizer and SPF in one. It is oil-free and won’t clog pores while being barrier supportive, with ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid.
We will let you know when the goPure SPF is perfected and ready. Until then, stay consistent in your skincare routine and use your favorite SPF each day.
Do you have an SPF you love? Share it in the comments below!