Hello my wonderful readers! Today’s post will be covering THE BIGGEST and most effective way you can fight signs of aging and just “bad” skin in general.
That big secret is: sunscreen
Sun damage is the biggest contributor to signs of aging, like unsightly dark spots, lines and wrinkles, leathery and/or thick skin, not to mention skin cancer (which can bring with it moles and then the scars afterwards to have them removed). So as summer hits full swing and the UV index couldn’t be higher, let’s make sure we are doing everything we can to win the fight against aging and skin cancer
Always Use Protection 😉
Whether its just a quick trip to the store or an all-day beach excursion, rain or shine, hot or cold, you need to wear a sunscreen. Daily, consistent use will yield the best results. A lot of times, people only apply sunscreen on beach trips, hikes, or other events where they know they will be outdoors, but the ugly truth is that its daily exposure, like walking to and from your car, driving, even sitting near windows, that will be what counts over time.
Think of it like becoming healthier: if you only eat well a few times, you won’t loose weight. Its your daily habits and choices that yield the results.
Ditch the Tanning Sessions
Tanned skin is skin with signs of visible sun damage and is actually considered undesirable in many other parts of the world. As most K-beauty enthusiasts know, sun protection is a major focus of Asian beauty companies which has lead to the formulation of very elegant but effective products.
How do sunscreens even work?
Sunscreen ingredients can either reflect harmful rays away from your skin, or absorb the rays then dissipate them to protect your skin. The former is of the “physical” category, while the latter is known as “chemical.” Physical sunscreens provide instant coverage while chemical sunscreens need 20-30 minutes to fully absorb.
Sun Protection Factor and the PA system
Sun protection comes in pretty much any form imaginable-creams, gels, sprays/mists, even essences-so finding a texture and consistency that’s perfect for you is easy. (NO EXCUSES!)
When shopping for SPF, make sure that whatever product you choose boasts “broad spectrum coverage” or has a SPF of 50+ and a PA +++(+) rating on the bottle (most sunscreens from Asia will have PA +++, but Japanese sunscreens can have an additional +). Either label will be sure to protect your skin from both UVA and UVA rays. UVA rays are the kind that age you. Its the force behind skin cancer and signs of aging. UVB rays are responsible for giving you that lobster glow (aka nasty-ass burns).
SPF is what protects you from burns. 50+ is what you should aim for. Layering products with SPF does NOT give you more coverage. So a foundation with an SPF 20 and a makeup primer with SPF 30 doesn’t give you a coverage of SPF 50. It will give you the highest individual SPF which in this example is SPF 30.
The PA system hails from Japan and is what protects your skin from aging and cancer. The more +’s you see, the better the coverage. When it comes to sunscreens and fighting aging, get the maximum PA coverage every time. While a PA + rating is better than only SPF/nothing, that’s not going to yield the same results as regular use of a PA +++(+) sunscreen over the years.
How to use sunscreen…yes, you are probably doing it wrong (I definitely was!)
The proper amount of sunscreen you should be using on your face is a 1/4 t.
Yes, a quarter of a teaspoon. And yes, it will look like a ginormous amount that will absolutely not absorb. But it will. And soon it will be totally normal and anything less will make you cringe (kinda like the OMG! 10 step k-skincare routine…who balks at the thought of only 3 products now?).
Every time you get a new bottle of sunscreen, measure it out using your favorite teaspoon and don’t panic if it looks like a lot. I find it helpful to compare the amount to an American quarter (the whole body needs about a shot glass worth of coverage-l oz). Don’t forget to add protection to your neck, any parts of the upper chest area that will be exposed via neckline, and your EARS (its so easy to forget these little guys).
-Don’t mix your sunscreen with other products (like a moisturizer). It decreases its effectiveness.
-Apply sunscreen as the last step of your morning routine. A product on top will again, decrease its effectiveness.
-Allow the sunscreen 20-30 minutes to fully absorb before starting on makeup/going outside.
But I HATE Sunscreen!
I agree, I thought so too. American sunscreen is the pits. Asian sunscreens hail from cultures that strive for translucent, pale skin and anything less is much like not being tan or thin in the Americas. Drugstore shelves in Korea and Japan replace self-tanners with whitening/brightening lotions and potions, and its not uncommon for sun umbrellas or even more drastic measures (like those body glove/suits/condoms) to be taken to avoid unnecessary sun exposure. Coming from a market that has demanded this since the beginning of the beauty industry, Asian formulations are going to be superior to any nasty sun lotion found state-side.
American sunscreen translation guide:
dry-greasy as f***
sheer-greasy as f*** and now I look like a bird pooped on my face white
quick-drying-i’m *still* greasy as f*** and its been three days!
meant for sensitive skin-f***it burns (and i’m now greasy as f*** AND red, itchy, and peel-y)
won’t clog pores-will clog pores…and leave me greasy as f***
Ok, ok, so maybe there are a few exceptions (if you’ve found one somehow, please tell me and tell me how you found it), but to avoid many a nasty bout of greasy, pizza face brought on via state-side sunscreen, I go Asian or go home.
These sunscreens are truly beautiful and blend in as a seamless step to bridge your skincare routine to your makeup routine. They absorb quickly, are generally superior in terms of coverage, and typically don’t leave any sort of cast, texture, or film. I have yet to find a sunscreen like that in the US and I have yet to find one that I don’t like imported from Korea or Japan.
–Do I really have to reapply every few hours? (You mean I have to take all my makeup off, reapply this SOB, wait twenty minutes, and then redo all that hard work from this morning?)
-Well, yes and no. Sunscreen breaks down not over time, but through exposure.
So if you correctly apply sunscreen (use the proper amount, fully cover your face/ears/neck/exposed chest areas, and let it absorb) and will be inside most of the day (out of the sun and not sweating/ being in water), coverage will probably last you from dawn till dusk.
BUT, if exposed to water (or profuse sweat) and/or you will be outside and exposed to lots of sunlight, then yes. Follow your sunscreen’s directions, or, if they for some reason aren’t there, reapply every two hours. When it comes to water, water-proof/sweat-proof will need reapplication every 30-80 minutes.
***Just because a sunscreen is water or sweat proof does not mean it is fool proof. Reapply, and then reapply some more. It is not a get out of jail free card!!***
–You say to not apply anything over my sunscreen, but then say after it absorbs (if its chemical) to apply my makeup? That doesn’t make any sense!
–Its true that adding anything over sunscreen will dilute it without a doubt, but if you allow sunscreens to absorb before application (physical sunscreens need about 5 minutes, chemical,of course, 20-30) and are careful not to remove/smear your sunscreen during application, it will be OK. Most foundations have some coverage, which is a plus, although it shouldn’t be solely relied on. Using a lot of pressure or heavy brush/handed application techniques is discouraged. (Paula’s Choice).
-I won’t get enough Vitamin D
-totally, totally false! Even in countries where sun exposure is high and sun protection is low, vitamin d deficiencies are still present. While there is much debate and numerous studies on what exactly causes vitamin d deficiency and the what, where, why’s of vitamin d production, its no excuse to go without protection…just think of all the deficient people who don’t regularly wear sunscreen (which is an alarmingly large amount of people, around 6 out of 7 don’t use it regularly). If you feel you might be deficient, go get your levels checked with your trusty doctor and if you are indeed, low, start up on supplements Your doctor will help to recommend some (Paula’s choice).
The End of the Post 🙂 You Made It! Gold Stars All Around!
Even though I might not floss every single night (or ever?), I wear my sunscreen proudly, all day, err day. Will you join the ranks?
*raises 1 oz shot glass of spf 50+ PA ++++ sunscreen in toast*