It’s no surprise that being out in the sun poses dangers to your skin and your health. From surfer’s eye to skin cancer, a careless approach to soaking in those rays can lead to serious health risks.
Even with the potential dangers, there’s no need to be afraid of the sun!
With so many benefits from sun exposure, like improving mental health and supplementing Vitamin D deficiencies, the trick is to be smart about how you spend your time soaking in those rays! We believe the more you know, the better you can prepare!
So, here are 10 things you need to know about sun exposure to keep your skin healthy and beautiful for decades to come.
1. Sun Exposure Prematurely Ages You
There’s nothing more relaxing and captivating than a day of fun in the sun. Whether it’s a day by the lake, at the beach, or at a festival - something about sunny days are unforgettable. Unfortunately, sun exposure is responsible for 90% of premature aging.
If your exposure to sun rays goes unchecked, you’re looking at fine lines and wrinkles popping up earlier than expected. From sun spots to leather skin, the sun will do a number on your skin.
A good rule of thumb is to use a daily moisturizer and avoid staying outdoors for too long, especially when the sun is at its strongest between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
2. UVB vs UVA Rays
Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays were the original threat from the sun. The first sunscreen products were aimed at fighting against UVB rays (Thanks, Coppertone) and have since been on the radar of skin care aficionados.
UVB rays do superficial damage and are responsible for sunburns and the dreaded lobster skin. When UVB protection products were made available, people stayed out longer in the sun, because, no sunburn no problem, right? Not exactly.
Once Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays were discovered, there was a whole new crisis. These UV rays actually cause your skin to tan, which means they mutate cell DNA and are more dangerous than UVB rays. If you’re looking to answer the question, “Which is more dangerous?” the answer is both!
3. Sun Rays Aren’t Your Only Worry
We talk about sun exposure and being conscious of how much sun you get but the reality is that threats to your skin’s health lurk everywhere! In fact, the everyday things we do are contributing to sun damage.
If you live in a densely populated city, you’re walking through clouds of pollution anytime you go outside. Pollutants like nitrogen and carbon free radicals are aging culprits and a little SPF goes a long way to protect against them.
The blue light that emits from every single screen you use is also a hidden threat but it doesn’t stop there.
Does your skin care routine include chemical peels, high-concentration retinol, and other ingredients or products that cause sensitivity?
We’re definitely not saying get rid of them (if it makes you look and feel good, why not do it?), just be aware that an SPF must be included on a daily basis to combat the sensitivity.
4. Greater isn’t Always Better
We always think, “the bigger the better,” and while that holds true for most things, you shouldn’t hold on to that philosophy when it comes to sunscreen.
Sorry to break it to you but once you get past SPF 30, you’re not going to get much effectiveness out of your product because by the time you reach that point, you’re getting almost 100% protection from UV rays.
Do you really think an SPF 50 is going to give you more than 100% protection? No. As long as you continue to re-apply throughout the day (especially if you’re out in direct sunlight all day) you should be safe.
For everyday use, an SPF 15 or higher is perfect (don't forget neck and ears!).
5. SPF Has A Dark Side
Whatever happens from here on out, just remember: SPF is your BFF. With that being said, SPF does have a dark side to it and it’s actually pretty counterintuitive. Some of the chemicals found in sunblocks, like ecamsule and oxybenzone, are used to make the product easier to spread.
Unfortunately, they also create damaging free radicals when exposed to sunlight. So,if you’re keeping your product in warm places - like your purse, your car, or by the pool in direct sunlight- it won’t be as effective as you need it to be.
The expiration date is also another thing to consider. Once your SPF expires, it’s more likely to cause breakouts since it accumulates dirt and bacteria from so much use. Most importantly, post-expiration means it’s not working up to the level of SPF stated on the product.
6. Antioxidants Are the Real MVP
Your skin naturally contains antioxidants but sun exposure depletes them. That’s why you want to add antioxidants to your topical creams, especially your SPF moisturizer.
We recommend pairing your SPF with Vitamin C, one of our favorite natural antioxidants. Green Tea and other natural antioxidants work full-time for our skin without us even knowing it and can be added to your skin care routine to boost your SPFs effectiveness.
Remember those pollutants we talked about? Antioxidants can help fight against them. That oxidation your SPF goes through? Yeah, antioxidants are just what you need for that. Go the extra mile and add antioxidants to your daily diet to give your skin a head start every day!
7. Sun Damage Can Happen Anywhere
If there’s daylight, your skin is vulnerable to sun damage. Period! Even on a cloudy day, you can still get 80% of the sun’s harmful rays. The worst thing you can do is think that SPF should only be applied on you at the beach, when in fact, there are opportunities for UVA and UVB rays to wreak havoc on your skin just about everywhere you look.
When you’re driving in your car, sitting in your office near a window, or even in the comfort of your own home; as long as there’s daylight, you should be taking the necessary precautions to protect your skin.
This means using a daily SPF moisturizer that’s lightweight, hydrating, and with enough SPF protection to keep skin happy and healthy.
8. Your Acne Scars Won’t Heal. Ever.
Did you pick at your pimples when you were younger? Don’t feel ashamed, we’ve all been there! But now you’re stuck with acne scars and wondering why they just won’t fade.
If this sounds like you, ask yourself how often you use sun protection on said scars. Acne scars, and scars in general, are susceptible to further pigmentation.
Since scarred skin is different than untouched skin, it reacts differently to sun exposure and requires even more nurturing if you want it to heal completely. Daily use of an SPF is a great way to decrease pigmentation.
If the scar isn’t on your face, you can go a step further and wear clothing that covers the affected area as much as possible.
9. Every Skin Type Is At Risk
Fair-skinned people are known to be the easiest prey for sun rays. Since they lack melanin, which is a pigment of the skin that adds a layer of protection, they are more susceptible to sun damage. Does this mean the more melanin you have the more protected you are?
Well, not exactly.
Melanin can only help for so long before the inevitable damage is done, meaning people of color can still get skin cancer. In fact, melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is more common among people of color than lighter-skinned men and women.
Moral of the story? Darker skin tones need an SPF, too!
10. Beach vs Daily SPF
There’s a huge difference between the protection you need at the beach and the protection you need on a daily basis. Sure, you can use your beach SPF as part of your skin care routine, but where sun protection reigns, skin nurturing will fall short.
Daily moisturizers with SPF are made with skin in mind, so they tend to include a combination of protecting and conditioning formulas that you won’t find in your just-for-beach SPF.
When you’re prepping for a day at the beach, reach for that ultra-powerful SPF; when it comes to daily protection, an SPF (between 15 and 30) with a posse of vitamins, hydrators, and plant-based conditioners is your best bet.
How To Make SPF Your BFF
When we’re young, wild, and free, we could care less about what’s good for us. Veggies are refused, early nights seem like a waste, and skin care isn’t even a part of our vocabulary.
You’d think we’d be a little wiser as adults, right?
Well, even as adults, we tend to fall short on best skin care practices. An easy way to make good habits stick is to start with skin care products that are easy to use and potent enough to work.
At No B.S. we make it easy to add a daily moisturizer with SPF to your routine (you do have a skin care routine, right?) and make a point of using it year round. Remember, it doesn’t matter what your skin type is, how dark your skin is, or how old you are - SPF is the one thing that will make a difference in the health of your skin. Even children should get into the habit of applying SPF regularly as early as possible.
Our daily Moisturizer with SPF 20 offers more than just the protection you need from daily skin-damaging threats. The plant-based formula pairs scientifically-proven ingredients to continuously improve skin. Hydrating heavy-hitters like Hyaluronic Acid and Coconut Oil are paired with Vitamins C, E, and A to keep skin at its best, while Green Tea soothes redness and inflammation.
Adding it to your routine is easy, too!
After cleansing and applying toner, pump the SPF onto your fingertips and spread liberally across your face, neck, and ears. If you’re a serum fiend, add a few drops of the serum right onto the SPF before spreading it onto your skin.
And that, my friend, is how you maintain beautiful skin without the B.S.