Summer - SPF School


They're calling for beautiful, sunny weather in Montreal this weekend (well deserved after our cold and rainy Canada Day), so what better time to talk about SPF! I'm not perfect, and I have had a few bad burns from too much time in the sun, but I also understand the importance of sun safety. Today I'm sharing my sun safety tips, but let's get a bit of terminology out of the way first, shall we?

SPF: Sun Protection Factor. The measurement of a sunscreen's protection against UVB rays. Typically, SPF 15 blocks 93% of rays, SPF 30 97%, and SPF 50 98%, and you're never really 100% protected. I'd say both SPF 30 and 50 are good choices, and anything above that is moot. SPF 15 just isn't enough.

Physical Sunscreen: Includes ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that physically block UV rays.

Chemical Sunscreen: Includes ingredients such as octinoxate and avobenzone that absorb harmful rays.

Broad Spectrum: Protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are the major culprits behind skin cancer, while UVA rays are associated with skin damage, wrinkles, and signs of aging.

1. Use a base with SPF. Immediately add some SPF to you routine by choosing a tinted moisturizer or foundation with a small SPF to it (note: this does NOT replace use of sunscreen if you're going to be outside for more than a couple of hours).
My faves: Chantecaille Just Skin, Armani CC Cream, Armani Maestro Foundation

2. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen if outside for more than 2 hours. The SPF rating only includes protection against UVB rays, so make sure you choose a sunscreen that has Broad Spectrum written on it so you make sure you're protected from UVA rays as well.

3. Use a chemical sunscreen for leisure, and a physical sunscreen if you're going to active. Chemical sunscreens are usually odorless and colorless, and so make a great choice for wearing under makeup. Physical sunscreens offer more sturdy protection, but can leave a white cast, so I reserve those for the pool or the beach.
Favourite physical sunscreen: Shiseido Wetforce
Chemical Sunscreens: Murad Invisiblur, Supergoop City Sunscreen Serum, Clarins Sunscreen

4. Re-apply after 80 minutes, and always after swimming. Sunscreen is good on your skin for about 2 hours, and then it starts to break down and offer less protection, especially if you're sweating or swimming. So to be safe, you should start thinking about reapplying after about 80 minutes.

5. Don't forget hands, lips, eyes, and hair! It's not just your face and body that needs protection from the sun! a UV protectant for your hair will keep it from drying out in the summer heat, and I use a sunscreen stick to get the back of my hands. Instead of trying to get a great summer tan right away, I'll fake it for a while with a gradual tanner (and I'm newly smitten by the St. Tropez In Shower Gradual Tan which is fantastic!)

6. Avoid being in direct sun during peak hours. From about 10am to 4pm is when the sun is at it's strongest, so make sure you seek shade or cover up if possible.

7. Cover up! Wear a hat, sunglasses, and if you're big into water sports, a rashguard with an SPF factor to it is a great idea!

8. Check for spots annually. Know your body and keep an eye out for any unusual spots that either develop spontaneously, or pre-existing ones that change.

Be safe in the sun!


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