We all know sunscreen is good for you, but we all have questions when it comes to strength, application, and so much more. We tapped our resident expert, Dr. Elsa Jungman herself to get the down and dirty details on proper summer SPF application.
Is a high-number SPF better than a low-number one?
Dr. Elsa Jungman: I would recommend using an SPF of at least 30 that is broad spectrum, blocking both UVA and UVB. Make sure the label says “broad spectrum” blocking both UVA and UVB.Aim for at least 30 SPF or higher and you should be properly protected. If you can, opt for lotion/cream instead of spray forms as they tend to deliver less product on the skin surface, thus raising the risk for a sun burn.
How often should I be reapplying SPF per day? What if I work inside an office?
Dr. Elsa Jungman: When outside, every 2 hours is the recommended amount. However, if you are swimming, sweating excessively, reapply your sunscreen. If you work indoors and aren't spending time outside in the sun, once a day should be okay.
Should I be applying SPF under my makeup?
Dr. Elsa Jungman: Yes! I recommend applying your moisturizer/serum then applying your SPF after it has dried for a few minuets. When reapplying it is safe to use sunscreen over your makeup, this won’t affect the efficacy of the SPF.
Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays. What is the difference between the rays?
Dr. Elsa Jungman: There are 2 forms of sunlight radiation you should be aware of, UVA and UVB:
- UVA rays (or aging rays) can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, and can pass through window glass.
- UVB rays (or burning rays) are the primary cause of sunburn and are blocked by window glass.
Unfortunately, there is no “safe” way to tan, and sunlight exposure outside and from artificial sources like tanning beds have been classified as a known carcinogen (cancer-causing).
What is the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens?
Dr. Elsa Jungman: Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays, however physical sunscreen reflects UV rays. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays and converts them into heat, before releasing it from your skin. This is why some people report warmth on their skin when using chemical sunscreens! A physical sunscreen stays on the surface of your skin, and creates a physical barrier on your skin.
Will using sunscreen limit the amount of vitamin D I get?
Dr. Elsa Jungman: Yes and no, the fact is: Vitamin D product relies on UVB ray exposure. However, UVB exposure is the same UV light that causes skin to burn. Sunscreen will reduce the ability of your body to manufacture vitamin D, but the good news is that no sunscreen is 100% effective. Meaning that vitamin D production will still occur even with sunscreen, at a much smaller rate.
I have sensitive skin, what should I do when it comes to sunscreen?
Dr. Elsa Jungman: If you have sensitive skin be sure to opt for a sunscreen that does not have added fragrances or color. Many sunscreens use scents which do not help the efficacy of the SPF and can cause irritation.
I would recommend patch testing on your skin first and seeing how your skin reacts.
See below for a list of my personal favorite SPFS:
For a minimal composition, this makes a solid choice. While the product may be on the lower end for SPF coverage, it offers a lovely glow and has zinc oxide as its main active ingredient, one of the main factors to look out for in a physical sunscreen.
One of Elsa’s favorites for beach and outdoors, this sunscreen has no preservatives or fragrances. It doesn’t leave a white cast and is incredibly easy to apply. Most importantly, it offers broad spectrum protection and is water resistant (40 minutes).
This final sunscreen is on Dr. Elsa’s wishlist as it is a baby-friendly, reef-friendly sunscreen with incredible SPF coverage. It includes zinc oxide and broad spectrum protection to pro
A lightweight facial sun serum that combines sun protection with silky hydration. For daily use over moisturizer or under makeup. Quick absorption leaves skin with a smooth, demi-matte velvety finish.