First up: sunscreen. It is skin-care canon that everyone should wear sunscreen every single day. Ninety percent of aging comes from unprotected UV exposure, dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, told Well+Good in a recent episode of Dear Derm.
There are two types of sunscreen: chemical and physical. Dr. Gohara says that if you see words like avobenzone and octinoxate on the label, it’s a chemical sunscreen. She also notes that chemical sunscreens have that “piña colada” classic sunscreen smell. If you see zinc oxide or titanium dioxide on the label, it’s a dead giveaway that it’s a physical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens work by being absorbed into the skin, while physical sunscreens form a physical barrier on the skin. There are also sunscreens that have both chemical and physical elements.
Dr. Gohara recommends chemical sunscreen for people with acne or oily skin. Physical sunscreen is best for those with rosacea, eczema, and sensitive skin. “Look for a broad spectrum SPF of 30 or higher,” says Dr. Gohara. “Those are the key words that a label needs to say. I am currently obsessed with Kinship Self-Reflect Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen ($25). It’s a reef-safe physical sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF 32, and it also happens to make my skin look really good even without makeup. Other favorites include CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM SPF 30 ($13) and Supergoop! Everyday SPF 50 Sunscreen For Face and Body($22).
“Protect yourself with SPF, hats, and shade, and reapply SPF every two to three hours if you’re out in direct sun,” says Kerry Benjamin, aesthetician and founder of StackedSkincare. Also, make sure your sunscreen isn’t expired because that can make it less effective, she warms. (Yes, skin-care products can expire!)
And don’t stop at your face; Benjamin says that you should also apply it to your hands, neck, and chest. “Those are areas that are often overlooked and the first place to show signs of aging,” she says. She also recommends getting gloves if you drive a lot, which is a tip I wish I had known when I had my car (for preventing sun damage reasons but mostly because I’ll take any opportunity to be a bit bougie).
Benjamin says that products that contain retinol or vitamin A can “make the skin more sensitive to UV, so you may want to back off using this, or, just make sure you protecting yourself if you continue use.” (Read: be extra diligent about reapplying sunscreen.)
She also recommends that I add an antioxidant serum into my routine. “Loading up on antioxidants is a great way to increase protection from UV and pollution,” she says. Avene Eau Thermale Avene A-Oxitive Antioxidant Defense Serum ($44) and Derma-E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum ($20) are my picks. “I always recommend applying a serum with antioxidants under your SPF, and then you can look for SPFs that have antioxidants in them, as well as products like our Anti-Pollution Day Cream ($76), which is loaded with vitamin E to defend against UV and pollution.”
If I’m going to have to lose an hour of sleep, at least I can use it as an excuse to buy more skin-care products.
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