Why sunscreen needs to be your skincare staple

Summer 2015 will be coming to an end sooner than we hope. But those of us in South Florida know better than to think the sun will ever quit – no matter what season.

All that exposure can do major damage over time – skin cancer, advanced signs of aging, etc. In fact, about five million people are treated for skin cancer in the United States every year, according to skincancer.org. This means that sunscreen should be an essential part of everyone’s skincare routine.

Here are some facts to take into consideration when choosing the perfect sunscreen for your skincare routine:

1.   Avoid Aging

A proper skincare routine can be the easiest way to help prevent early signs of aging. Those looking to avoid signs of aging – namely, dark spots and wrinkles – and maintaining youthful-looking skin should begin using prevention products in their early twenties, according to the New York Daily News.

Also, starting healthy skin care habits early on will make them easier to follow as you age.

2.   Choose Wisely

According to a recent study done by the EWG, not all of our favorite, name brand sunscreens are doing their job – 80 percent of them contain harmful ingredients.

Photo by Giovana Pina
Photo by Giovana Pina

Several products from Coppertone, Banana Boat, Neutrogena and more have been found to contain oxybenzone, which “can disrupt the hormone system,” and retinyl palmitate – a form of vitamin A – which “may trigger damage, possibly cancer.” Aerosol sunscreens can also be dangerous because they do not cover all of the skin and can be inhaled.

Aim for something with SPF (Sun Protection Factor)15  or more, but note that there is no proof that anything with an SPF above 50 offers better protection.

3.   Apply Regularly

Skincancer.org suggests applying sunscreen 30 minutes before exposure so the product can “fully bind to the skin,” and the FDA recommends applying sunscreen every two hours if out in the sun, and more often if sweating or in water.

Sunscreen should also be applied every morning during your regular skin routine for added protection. There are even makeup products that offer sun protection, but do not rely solely on them.