It’s about that time! The time we dream about all winter long (unless you are lucky enough to live somewhere without cold weather!). Time to throw off those sweaters, work up the courage to go swimsuit shopping, and maybe even up our sweet tea and lemonade intake. Yep, warm weather is on it’s way! For many of us, that can mean a whole new skincare routine. One more appropriate for hot and humid days, vs. the bone-dry air that can come with winter. And now is the time that most of us have been trained to think about sunscreen. BUT, did you know this is really not the role sunscreen should play in your routine? Sunscreen is NOT just a warm weather, spending lots of time outside kind of friend. Did you know that you get the best results when you wear sunscreen every day?
Really, Every Day?!
Yes, every day. As one of our skin scientists explained to me, sun damage is cumulative. Let that sink in. Cumulative. Most of us think that wearing sunscreen is about avoiding a sunburn. But the truth is, for all of the effort that we put into our skincare routines to keep our skin vibrant and healthy, it all starts with protecting our skin first. The real truth is that our skin gets exposed to low levels of UV rays pretty much every single day. Even in situations that you would never think to protect your skin, your skin is absorbing low levels of UV rays. Through the clouds, car windows, and even most building windows. Most of us never think about that, since it is not enough to cause a sunburn or discomfort. But here is where the whole cumulative thing comes in. Because it turns out, that all of those little bits of UV rays sneaking in to land on your skin can actually still impact the condition of your skin over time as they build up.
Baby Oil and Iodine? Um, no. Slather on that sunscreen instead!
Am I the only one who knows what this is? I was taught that this was the recipe for perfectly tanned skin by my mother and her friends. They spent many of their youthful days laying out in the sun wearing little clothing and smothering their skin with baby oil to “amplify the effects of the sun” on their skin. The Iodine was apparently to add some color to their skin so that they sped up that just baked tan look that they were after? Yikes. Science (and several more skin savvy friends) have clearly taught us that while this may get some folks the look they are after, it will also greatly impact the aging effects of the sun on your skin. And if that isn’t enough, take it from me that sunscreen makes for a much more comfortable week at the beach. I tried the baby oil and iodine trick once, and got a sunburn so bad I spent a week with my head in the freezer trying to breathe through the pain!
Sunscreen as a Lifestyle
All throwback stories aside, the truth really is that if you want to have the most vibrant and healthy skin possible, sunscreen is a necessary part of a great daily skincare routine. Preventing damage to our skin will always be better than working to repair the damage we have already caused. Wearing sunscreen ONLY when you are outside for long periods of time is a little bit like drinking a diet soda while eating a bacon cheeseburger and trying to lost weight. Every little bit helps, but if you want the results you have to commit to making good choices regularly.