ASK DR. RENÉE: SUNSHINE AND SKINCARE
Keys Soulcare’s expert dermatologist is answering questions about all things UVA and UVB.
– KEYS SOULCARE
One of the benefits of developing Keys Soulcare alongside an expert dermatologist is having an infinite supply of smart, skin-meets-soulcare advice at the ready. And nobody does it better than Dr. Renée Snyder, who’s helping us kick off a series dedicated to answering our community’s most burning skincare questions. First up: Inspired by increasingly sunny weather, we’re asking about tips to keep our skin protected while we bask in warmer days and outdoor hangs.
In what order should I apply my makeup, skincare, and sunscreen?
The best thing to do is to apply your sunscreen first, because it’s in direct contact with your face. If you’re going to use typical [oilier] sunscreens at any point, start with serums and other things that are lighter in consistency, then wait a bit and follow with lotions and greasier products on top. Some people will use a foundation that has sunblock in it as their last [step]. (And that’s also fine.) Remember, SPF only blocks the UVB rays, so look for sunscreen that is broad spectrum which implies it protects against the UVA and UVB rays of the sun.
Remember: Sunscreen only lasts for two hours. So, if you get ready for your day at 7:00 AM and you put on a full face of makeup to meet a friend for a drink? You are not protected at noon. If you don’t want to put on a “full face” each day or as you reapply, look for a two-in-one product like a tinted sunscreen or a powder that has sun protection, and just touch that up.
The secret to really protecting your skin is finding the right vehicle for you. That also factors in where you live and your lifestyle. If there’s a sunscreen lotion that you like, great! Do that first. If you live somewhere [that’s] really humid, consider using a tinted sunscreen. If it’s cold, layer it in at any and all points [of your skincare routine].
Any other lifestyle or skin-type specific insights?
As someone [who] has seen the outcomes of not using sunblock, I can say that investing [the] time and care in yourself really pays off. Reapply, reapply, reapply. That’s paramount.
Many skin cancers in the United States show up on the left side of the face because of how much sun our faces get when we’re driving, and we don’t even realize it. (Think about that as an example of sun damage happening, whether we’re intentionally “in the sun” or not.) UVB rays are reflected by glass, but the longer more penetrating or damaging UVA rays get through glass.
Do not neglect using sunblock just because you might have a darker skin tone. (I’m Mexican-American, for instance.) If many of us with a “base coat” did a better job of using sun protection in our twenties, we wouldn’t have melasma, dyschromias, and other types of issues in our 40s.
Oh! And, don’t forget your lips. If you put lipgloss on your lips that does not have sun protection, you’re basically putting baby oil on them — and sizzling them. So cover those with sunblock, too.
What is the difference between mineral and chemical sunscreen?
A mineral sunscreen is made out of, you might say, rocks and pigment; typically, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide, which are minerals that are crushed and put into a lotion, becoming a physical blocker of the sun. And now, [the industry has been able to] pulverize those little rocks so well that you don’t have to look like “Casper the Friendly Ghost” when you put them on. [This is the type that] surfers traditionally used to put on their nose in a little tell-tale stripe. They’re the best. Firstly because they’re not chemical, but also because they block both UVA and UVB rays — the full spectrum of sun protection. On a daily basis, a pigmented mineral sunscreen is the best thing for everyone, including skin of color, because even visible light — which is still a form of radiation — can give you some damage.
Chemical sunscreens are the ones that have been used most traditionally and commercially. Chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds that catalyze a chemical reaction when exposed to the sun; this reaction transforms the UV rays into heat, which is then released from the skin. Physical UV blockers block both UVA (aging rays that penetrate deeper into the skin) and UVB (sunburn rays), whereas chemical UV filters often only protect against one or the other; this is why they are sometimes combined to cover the whole spectrum.
When and how should I apply sunscreen?
Something that many people don’t realize is that SPF products don’t automatically block both UVA and UVB rays, [so] you have to look at the label. Another thing to know is that no product is truly “waterproof,” and none protects [your skin for] more than 40 to 80 minutes. They are all water-resistant by nature, but once their specific coverage window is up (again, check the label) they are not covering you at all. So re-apply!
Most people only apply 25-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. Apply enough to cover all exposed skin. Most adults need about one ounce — or enough to fill a shot glass — to fully cover their body. Don’t forget to apply to the tops of your feet, your neck, your ears and the top of your head. Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes before going outdoors. Try to remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours when outside, and consider wearing hats and sun shirts. Don’t rely on sunscreen as your only protection.
When should you use sunscreen?
Everyday! The sun’s UV rays are harmful year-round. Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful rays can penetrate your skin. Protect your skin today and everyday.
How do your skincare, style, and ritual habits shift when you’re spending more time outside? Share your go-to rituals and any more q’s for Dr. Renée in the comments!