Remember all those times we told you to wear sunscreen every single day to prevent aging? We have even more research showing that you should slather up often. A recent study done in Australia has confirmed what studies on mice and dermatologists have been saying for years: Using sunscreen daily stops photoaging. And here’s a spoiler: If you’re using sunscreen, but not using it daily and reapplying after a few hours or after swimming or heavy sweating, you’re doing your skin a disservice. The best effects are seen with those who use sunscreen every single day and reapply often.
Believe it or not: Up to 90% of visible aging comes from damage from UV exposure. This is particularly true in the case of premature aging. As the study above indicates, the best protection from aging is sunscreen; but what’s the best sunscreen to use? Overall, I prefer physical-mineral sunscreens, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (which physically stop the rays) over organic-chemical sunscreens like avobenzone and oxybenzone (which absorb UV rays and convert them into a less harmful form of energy). Both offer excellent levels of protection, but there are several reasons why physical-mineral sunscreens might be a better choice overall. Organic-chemical sunscreens are less photostable than physical-mineral sunscreens, and because of this, are more likely to cause irritation (Chemical Research in Toxicology). And organic-chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin more than physical-mineral sunscreens, which are too large to penetrate the past the stratum corneum (Journal of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Science, Toxicological Science). [Read More: Are Inorganic Sunscreens Better than Organic Ones?] And zinc oxide is a better physical blocker than titanium dioxide by virtue of having more broad-spectrum protection. There are two kinds of UV rays: UVA (aging) rays and UVB (burning) rays. Both block UVB rays, but zinc oxide blocks more UVA rays than titanium dioxide (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology). Here are some sunscreens that are either completely physical-mineral or a mix of physical-mineral and organic-chemical, along with the percentages of active ingredients in each, with high amounts of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Remember, the addition of an antioxidant serum, like our Vitamin CE Caffeic Serum, has been proven to help boost the effectiveness of sunscreen (Journal of Investigative Dermatology).
Vanicream Sunscreen, Sensitive Skin, SPF 60 ($17.95, amazon.com) (7.5% Zinc oxide, 7.5% titanium dioxide) But if you want something that does a little extra in addition to sun protection for your skin, consider…
PCA Skin Weightless Protection SPF 45 ($30.00, amazon.com) (9% zinc oxide, 7.5% octinoxate) — PCA contains brightening ingredients like kojic acid, as well as mulberry and licorice extracts, and an extra boost of antioxidants in the form of vitamin E.
NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention 100% Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30 ($45, amazon.com) (9.45% titanium dioxide, 3.6% zinc oxide) — NIA24 contains 5% Pro-Niacin, a vitamin B3 derivative that has been shown to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, sallow skin, and red blotchiness (Dermatologic Surgery).*Note: With this sunscreen, you should not use a vitamin C serum, as L-ascorbic acid should not be used with niacinamide. [Read More: Should Niacinamide and L-Ascorbic Acid Be Used Together?]
If you haven’t been wearing sunscreen every single day and reapplying it often, now is the time to start. This recent research study proves what past studies, dermatologists, and FutureDerm has been saying for years: Daily use of sunscreen will keep you looking younger longer, and will help prevent skin cancer. Thinking of sunscreen application like brushing your teeth, something you do regularly, can make a huge difference in your skin in the long run.