I’m of the belief that everything should match.
Nothing makes me sadder than seeing someone who’s put hard work and effort into their facial routine only to miss a trick with their chest, shoulders, arms and hands. This is something that was never more evident to me than when I lived in Sydney - dealing with fierce UV exposure on a daily basis really drilled into me the importance of a thorough approach.
So let me break this down for you as the focus on head-to-toe skin health has never been greater and as always, a stellar skincare routine is underpinned by daily SPF.
Is it really necessary to apply sunscreen every day?
Completely indoor activities don't require sunscreen, but many of us discount the sun that we get on a daily basis from just running errands and all the 'incidental' sun damage adds up.
That's why I recommend daily sunscreen application, so you’re *always* protected and don't have to think about it.
Even if you spend most of your day indoors, indoor UV exposure can occur from ultraviolet that penetrates through glass, which is UVA. UVA is emitted at the same level — all day long — whereas UVB rays, which are blocked by glass peak at mid-day. I saw this a lot in lockdown - patients who were WFH had set them selves by a window and didn’t appreciate the drive towards pigmentation they unwittingly exposed themselves to. So be aware!
Does a higher SPF Matter?
Yes, absolutely for several reasons.
SPF 30 blocks 96.7% of UV rays and SPF 50 blocks 98%. Both are good, SPF 50 is better.
Firstly, the incremental amount of UV transmitted over time really stacks up. Secondly, humans apply sunscreen imperfectly, so the higher SPF builds in a bit of extra protection.
What type of formula is best?
I really like mineral sunscreen formulas with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These physical sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin to deflect and absorb UV rays. Even better, mineral formulas are well-suited to those with sensitive skin, as they don't tend to irritate the skin.
How often should you reapply it?
Ideally, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, or more frequently if you are swimming or sweating heavily. The best time to apply sunscreen is before you go outside because there are fewer distractions and you can make sure that you have adequately covered all exposed skin areas.
If it’s a matter of everyday use, keep it in your purse or your car so you can slather on extra as your day progresses. Remember if you applied it at 8am to walk to work, you definitely need to reapply again if you’re popping out for lunch. Getting into this habit is so important!
How much sunscreen should you apply?
A full body application equates to a a shot glass's worth or 30ml.
If we think about teaspoons, that’s ½ a tsp for the face and neck. The same for each arm. For each of the legs, front torso and back use a teaspoon. We can use a finger length measure to help us eyeball this without kitchen utensils - think 2 finger lengths (your index and middle finger) for each half a teaspoon.
Final thoughts - as with all things SPF, the crucial thing is to find a product that you actually like using. Think of it as your body moisturiser with extra! A great formulation will dry quickie, not stain clothes and hydrate, leaving limbs glowing. And it’s a habit that will pay dividends for years to come.