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Sunscreen FAQs: Your Questions Answered

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Her mother uses a type. Your colleague, another. Your sister swears by a brand you’ve never heard of. And your bestie forgot to put hers on this morning (gasp!).

With so many different habits and opinions about sun protection, how do you know? What is the best sun protection for your skin? With different lifestyles, as well as different skin types, tones and concerns, there is a lot to consider when choosing a sunscreen.

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So what do you need to know? Here are the answers to the most common sun protection questions:

Do I really have to wear sunscreen every day?

Yes! Sun damage doesn’t just happen in the summer. Solar radiation can penetrate clouds and reflect off surfaces such as snow. Sun protection is really not just limited to summer!

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The sun’s UVA rays also pass through windows, and while the damage caused by UVA rays isn’t always immediately visible, the radiation can still reach your skin while you’re at home, driving, or working in the office.

It’s important to remember that sun damage is much more than just a sunburn every now and then – Sun damage accumulates, and sunscreen helps protect your skin from sunburn, premature aging and skin cancer.

Check your UV index right here!

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Why is sun protection so important if I don’t have a sunburn?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “safe” tan or unprotected sunbathing. Unprotected sun exposure can damage skin cells, accelerate the natural aging process and increase the risk of skin cancer. Even if you have a darker skin tone or don’t get sunburned easily, the sun still affects your skin.

The best way to protect your skin is to use sunscreen and follow good sun protection habits, such as seeking shade and wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing.

Why is sun protection so important if I don't have a sunburn?  ISDIN

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What does sunscreen have to do with skin aging?

Your skin has its own memory and the damage accumulates over the years. UV radiation generated by the sun provokes unstable molecules called free radicals to break down proteins in the skin. Our body has natural defenses against these free radicals in the form of antioxidants. But when the number of free radicals produced becomes too large, Cell and DNA damage can occur.

This process is known as oxidative stress and is reflected in the skin through the earlier development of fine lines, wrinkles and pigment spots – in other words, premature aging.

The good news? Sunscreen can help combat this process by protecting the skin from the photoaging effects of the sun.

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What does broadband protection mean?

Let’s talk about the solar spectrum first. The solar spectrum is made up of different types of radiation, and some of these might look familiar to you:

UVA rays: Often referred to as “aging rays,” this type of solar radiation is responsible for premature skin aging (photoaging), including the appearance of sunspots and wrinkles. This type of radiation can penetrate glass or car windows.

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UVB rays: These types of rays are the main cause of sunburn (which is why they are known as “burning” rays). And as we mentioned, tanning, rather than being healthy, is an indication of sun damage in the skin.

Both types of radiation also contribute to the risk of skin cancer. Luckily, broad spectrum sunscreen protects against both types.

Why should you use broad spectrum sunscreen?

Remember: UVA rays are responsible for long-term damage like photoaging and skin cancer, while UVB rays contribute to sunburns. And a broad spectrum sunscreen protects the skin from both types of solar radiation (UVA and UVB). That’s why It’s the only type of sunscreen recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology.

Why should you use broad spectrum sunscreen?  ISDIN

What do the letters “SPF” stand for?

SPF stands for sun protection factor. The effectiveness of your sunscreen is measured by how much protection it offers your skin from sunburn and tanning, both types of sun damage that increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

SPF measures the length of time your sunscreen protects your skin UVB radiation.

What do the numbers after SPF mean?

Good question! The numbers listed on your sunscreen, such as SPF 30 and SPF 50, say how long it would take UVB Radiation to burn your skin when out in the sun (as long as you use the sunscreen exactly as directed on the label).

If you use sunscreen, It is always best to choose a higher sun protection factor as this increases the time it takes for your skin to burn when exposed to direct sunlight. But you still need to wear sunscreen often! More on that in a second.

What is mineral sunscreen and how does it work?

Mineral sunscreens use mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect your skin from the sun. They work by forming a “shield” on the skin and helping to deflect the sun’s rays. Therefore, they are sometimes referred to as physical sunscreens.

Many dermatologists recommend mineral formulas because they are generally safe for a wide range of skin types, including sensitive skin. And with the right formulation, they can do more than just protect. Our unique Eryfotona mineral sunscreens help repair existing sun damage in the skin through the use of DNA Repairsomes®.

What is mineral sunscreen and how does it work?  ISDIN Eryfotonas

What about chemical sunscreen?

Unlike mineral sunscreens, chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin. They help to convert UV radiation into scattered heat. And as long as your sunscreen has an SPF of 30 or higher and offers broad-spectrum protection, using chemical vs. mineral sunscreen comes down to personal preference.

What is waterproof sunscreen?

If a sunscreen is waterproof, it means the sun protection factor has been tested and found to be effective when swimming or sweating (e.g. exposed to water). This is measured with a period of 40 or 80 minutes. Check the label on your sunscreen, which will tell you if the product is waterproof and how long it will stay effective if your skin gets wet.

The 2-hour rule only applies to dry skin, so it’s important to stick to regular 40-minute use when swimming or sweating (e.g., sports).

What is waterproof sunscreen?  ISDIN

Is there a difference between facial sunscreen and body sunscreen?

First of all, there are qualities that every sunscreen should have. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreen that:

  • Has a sun protection factor of 30 or higher
  • Provides broadband protection
  • Is waterproof
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The main difference between sunscreen for body and face is the texture and formulation. Sunscreen shouldn’t feel like a chore, especially when it comes to daily face sunscreen. Finding a formula that works for your skin is crucial.

Enter Eryfotona Actinica. The 100% mineral formula with SPF 50+ offers broad spectrum protection and melts into the skin without an oily, greasy finish.

Is there a difference between facial sunscreen and body sunscreen?  ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica

Does sunscreen expire?

Sunscreen has an expiration date. But don’t worry, it’s probably not that soon!

The Food and Drug Administration mandates all of this Sunscreens must be formulated to maintain their original level of protection for three years – even after opening. However, this schedule only considers optimal storage conditions. So if you tend to leave your sunscreen in a hot car, your formula may run out sooner.

To keep your sunscreen in top condition, Avoid exposing the bottle to excessive heat or direct sun. And make sure you throw out sunscreen that shows major changes in color or texture. Here at ISDIN we recommend that with average use and storage, Most sunscreens should be used within a year.

Should you apply sunscreen before or after moisturizer?

Sunscreen should be the last step in your skincare routine before makeup, so apply it after your moisturizer. Be sure to leave some time between applying your moisturizer and the next step of the sunscreen to ensure the product has absorbed properly.

Apply your sunscreen according to the product label and at least 15 minutes in the morning before leaving home or sunbathing.

How often should you apply sunscreen?

Reapply at least every two hours, regardless of the protection factor. And even more frequently (every 40 minutes) when swimming, sweating or after towel drying. All of these measures depend on the activity you do, the intensity of the sun, when you are exposed to the sun and even the type of skin.

Another reminder: make sure, that Apply sunscreen exactly as stated on the label. Many people underapply or use less sunscreen when it’s a higher SPF because the higher number gives them a false sense of security.

Should you apply sunscreen before or after moisturizer?  ISDIN

Can I wear ISDIN sunscreen under makeup?

Our Eryfotona sunscreens use an ultra-light, fast-absorbing formula with no greasy finish, making them the ideal base for makeup application.

If you prefer to combine your makeup step with sunscreen, Eryfotona timeless is an ultra-light, tinted mineral sunscreen Offers SPF 50 broad spectrum protection. The versatile tint helps to even out skin’s complexion and help correct visible imperfections.

Can I wear ISDIN sunscreen under makeup?

OK, I think I get it. Can I go to the beach now?

Nearly! Let’s go through a quick checklist:

  • Is your sunscreen SPF 30 or higher?
  • Is it broadband and waterproof?
  • Have you read your sunscreen label to know how much and when to apply it?
  • Do you have a cool, shady place to store your sunscreen?
  • Do you have a hat and a cover-up?
  • How about a big bottle of water?

If you’ve said yes to all of the above, you’re ready to hit the beach. Now go ahead and have fun in the sun.

Sources and references:
Naidoo, K., Birch-Machin, MA. Oxidative stress and ageing: the impact of pollution, sunlight and diet on the skin. In Cosmetics (2017): 4, 4.
https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/sun-protection/sunscreen-patients/sunscreen-faqs

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