Summer Sun Protection

Summer has arrived! This is undoubtedly my favorite time of year. There’s nothing quite like bright, warm sunshine to lift my mood and make me feel like the best version of myself. Unfortunately, as I have mentioned time and time again, that same delightful sunlight is the number one cause of skin aging and free radical damage. The UV index peaks in the summer, meaning that you’re exposed to more UV radiation now than at any other time of year.

I’m not saying this to spoil your summer fun—I hope everyone enjoys the season as much as I do! But keep a few sun-safety tips in mind for the months ahead.

Find a Formula You Love

Ideally, you’re wearing SPF year-round. However, if you’ve been slacking, then summer is the time to get serious. That starts with finding a sunscreen you like well enough to use it every single day. It’s a big commitment! And it’s further complicated by a lot of factors—is your skin ultra-sensitive? Are you prone to breakouts? Do you prefer a dewy or matte feel? Is white cast a concern for your skin tone? These details will influence which formulas work best for you.

Since SPF preferences vary wildly from person to person, you may need to test out a few different options before finding a good fit. There’s no substitute for personal experience. If you’d like some recommendations as a starting point for your search, check out a few of my favorite SPFs from EltaMDSupergoop, Control Corrective, and Josh Rosebrook. Happy hunting!

Don’t Skimp

I see plenty of people rationing their sunscreen to make a bottle last as long as possible. It always results in woefully inadequate application. The adage “a little goes a long way” may apply to some products, but definitely not to SPF.

Manufacturers use 2mg/cm2when testing SPF efficacy. However, the average consumer doesn’t work in a lab and isn’t calculating the surface area of their face and weighing out their sunscreen each morning—I’m certainly not! For an average-sized face, ¼ teaspoon should keep you covered. Measure it out sometime so you get an idea of how much product fits in a quarter teaspoon. It’s more than you think!

Remember that this isn’t a one-and-done endeavor. You should re-apply for every 2 hours of sun exposure, and more often than that if you’re in a pool or at the beach. Most water-resistant sunscreens recommend re-applying every 80 minutes if you’re in the water.

Take Shade Breaks

As much as I love sunshine, I also love a cabana and a wide-brimmed hat. When the sun is strongest (roughly 11am to 2pm), you can find me seeking out some shade. If sitting under an umbrella isn’t your style, you can still avoid full exposure during peak hours by covering your face and shoulders with a hat and UV-protective clothing.

Stay safe out there, and have a fantastic summer!