Written By Molly Aysu · July 21st, 2020

Blogger at Love To Slay
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Why you should be wearing sun cream every day

Lady and her dog sitting on beach

No days off, honey.

I know, I know – you’re sick of hearing about it, I’m sick of hearing about it, but it’s a conversation that needs to be had. Sun cream (or sunscreen, for you Americans) is no longer just for days at the beach, sis! - it’s a fundamental product that we should be wearing on a day-to-day basis.

Admittedly, it’s easier said than done. Sun cream is oily, streaky, and has a sort of clinical smell, which isn’t exactly ideal for makeup application. You would be forgiven for wanting to go without. But I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t! By the end of this article, you’ll be an expert in all things sun cream: we’ll teach you what sun cream protects your skin from, the best application techniques, and how to start looking for the SPF products that best suit your skin. Let’s jump in!

 

So why do I have to wear sun cream every day?

Good question. When we say every day, it doesn’t necessarily mean days when you don’t have as much risk of sun exposure, like if you’re going to spend the day indoors. However, whenever you go outside you are in direct contact with the sun’s rays – yes, even when it’s cold or cloudy! This is important, because exposure to the sun puts you in contact with ultraviolet light, or UV rays as they’re more commonly known. These rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation, the same thing responsible for making blacklights and bug-zappers work – but, useful as they are, they can have some rough consequences for your skin.

Without sun cream, your skin is at risk to burn, which is not only painful, but puts your skin at risk of peeling, which can ruin your perfect suntan in no time flat. Not only that, but sun exposure builds up over the course of our lives, and too much can change and age our skin prematurely, causing changes such as wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and freckles. On the short term, it can also contribute to dehydration, which is the worst enemy of the holiday, making you feel dizzy and tired.

If you continue to expose your skin to the sun unchecked, things can get even worse, so it’s important to wear sun cream all year round to nip those nasty things in the bud.


How does sun cream work?

Lady applying suncream on the beach
 

Sun cream is usually a combination of two different chemicals: organic and inorganic. The inorganic chemicals are usually minerals such as zinc oxide, which act as a literal sunblock, reflecting UV light away from your body. Incidentally, they are also the reason why sun cream was originally white. The organic chemicals are carbon-based, and can absorb the UV light instead of letting it penetrate your skin. Thankfully, you don’t need to have any of this memorised when looking for a suitable product. However, what you should take into consideration are the sun cream’s protection labels.

When shopping for your ideal sun cream, you should be looking for a cream with at least an SPF of 15 – SPF (or ‘sun factor protection’) tells you how well the cream protects you from UVB light. But you should also keep an eye out for products with the words ‘broad spectrum’: this means the product is capable from protecting your skin from UVA and UVB light. 
 

What’s the difference between UVA and UVB?

I’m glad you asked!

UVA and UVB are two different types of radiation that can be found in the sun’s UV rays, and they both have different effects on the skin.

When you think UVB, you should think ‘burning’, because that’s exactly what it does. UVB rays are primarily responsible for sunburn, which reddens and kills the top layer of cells on your skin. UVB is actually the least common ray you’ll be exposed to in the sun, but its effects can be intense.

UVA has the lowest energy levels of all the UV rays (there is a third type of ray called UVC, but you don’t need to worry about that one – it’s filtered out by the Earth’s atmosphere), but it is the most common ray you’ll be exposed to in the sun. UVA is the ray that is primarily responsible for the premature aging of the skin, meaning that it’s a factor you’ll need to think about in the long term: remember that UVA rays make up 95% of the sun’s UV light.  
 

How should I apply sun cream?

Unfortunately, science says that slapping a bit of SPF on in the morning does not sufficiently protect you from UV rays for very long. The NHS recommend that you reapply your SPF every two hours, especially if you’re doing something like sunbathing or hiking, as prolonged exposure to the sun can dry your sun cream out. If you are doing something that’s keeping you outside for most of the day, it is recommended that you wear at least SPF 30. If you’re keeping it a bit more casual and not spending much time in the sun, you’ll be fine with SPF 15. Keep in mind those pesky UVA rays though!

In terms of how much sun cream needed, you should be generous with your application. It’s recommended that you apply a healthy layer over your whole body each morning (LiveScience recommends at least an ounce), making sure to cover areas like behind your ear of the backs of your legs, and then top up that layer every two hours until the sun goes down.  



Can I wear sun cream with makeup?  

Lady wearing makeup

Thankfully, yes! You can apply sun cream to your face and let it dry before doing your makeup as usual. But traditional sun cream isn’t the only product that can protect you from sun exposure. There are several fantastic products in the market right now that you can integrate into your makeup routine, so you can look flawless worry-free, all year round. Also especially ideal if you don’t fancy smelling like a Brighton holiday in the middle of October.

For some heavy-duty protection that doesn’t mess with your normal application, I’d recommend Mac’s Face Protect Lotion.

Mac Face Lotion

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Rich in antioxidants, this lotion gives your skin all the best nutrients for healthy cell growth. It comes in SPF 50 and is included as a broad-spectrum product to keep your skin soft and wrinkle-free. It can be worn on its own, but under makeup can produce a ‘soft-focus effect’, and even claims to help prevent uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation (yet another unfortunate effect of UVB rays).

 

If you already have a primer you’re quite fond of, you might be in the market for a foundation with built-in SPF, such as Nyx’s Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil.

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Infused with aloe, this foundation is light as air and gives you a natural finish, perfect for candids at the beach.

 

Or, if you’re opting to go bare-faced, you might want to consider Simple’s Protect N’ Glow Radiance Booster.

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Only a few drops on the hand are needed to protect you from both types of UV rays, and it keeps your skin dewy and radiant to boot!

So, before heading out the door on that hot summer day (and every other day too!) maybe nab yourself some of these protects to protect your fabulous skin!


If you liked the sound of these products, visit our Choose Makeup Section to see what more hot products are listed. Want to know how to Earn Slaybucks? Simple: by leaving reviews, answering surveys, starting free trials, and then you just choose your makeup, it's that easy.