Best Sunscreen for Face Use: Guarding Your Health and Beauty

You need to know about the best sunscreen for face use. Marketing research shows that Americans buy sunscreen to the tune of a billion dollars a year. But according to health statistics and medical surveys, we’re not using it. This is Applying Sunscreen - Best Sunscreen for Facedespite the fact that national rates of skin cancer and melanoma have increased dramatically in the past ten years.

It’s pretty ironic, when you think about it. As a culture, we interpret tanned skin as a sign of good health ‒ but the sun’s rays are giving us cancer. We view a good suntan as a youthful beauty accessory ‒ but the sun is making us look old. Take a look at the facts:

UV radiation explained

The sun gives off a full spectrum of light in a wide range of wavelengths. Part of this spectrum is ultraviolet, or UV light. Most UV radiation is blocked by the atmosphere before it reaches us here on earth; but two types do penetrate our atmospheric barrier. These are UVA and UVB. Both of these types of radiation are harmful to you. They contribute to skin cancers, long-term eye damage, and premature aging ‒ as well as suppressing your immune system and making it more difficult for your body to protect itself from disease.

For a long time, only UVB light was considered to be harmful. This is the type of UV radiation that causes sunburn. It also plays a part in the development of skin cancers. UVB light affects the outer layer of your skin, called the epidermis. Until very recently, sunscreens and sunblocks were formulated to protect only from UVB rays.

More recently, it’s been discovered that UVA radiation is much more damaging than UVB. This type of radiation penetrates below the epidermis into the lower layers of the skin. It increases the effects of UVB light, promotes the growth of cancerous melanomas, and causes your skin to look leathery, wrinkled, and saggy. UVA light wreaks havoc on your skin’s natural store of collagens, and destroys the elastin that keeps your skin supple. This is what causes you to look older than you really are ‒ the technical term is photoaging.

The only good news about photoaging is that it’s possible ‒ easy, in fact ‒ to reduce the harmful effects of the sun on your body and face. The solution? Sunscreen.

How sunscreen for your face slows photoaging

A recently published study by Australian researchers, carried out over four years, targeted the use of sunscreen as prevention for photoaging. The study used special photography and magnified mapping techniques to monitor the skin of 900 participants. The members of the study who used effective sunscreen, and applied it thoroughly and frequently, maintained their skin’s structural integrity and youthful appearance. Those who used inferior sun products, or who applied them only occasionally, showed clear and measurable signs of photoaging in the four year period of the study.

Sunscreen Use Under UV Light - Best Sunscreen for Fact

Sunscreen Use Under UV Light

The results of this study are clear: many of the changes you see occurring in your face are not simply the result of time passing. They are a direct result of UVA radiation, and by using sunscreen ‒ especially sunscreen for your face ‒ you can enjoy healthy, supple, beautiful skin for far longer.

What makes the best sunscreen for face use?

Sunscreen for your face should be lighter and less greasy than a sunscreen you’d use on the rest of your body. This is especially true if your skin tends to be oily or prone to acne breakouts. Most sunscreen for face is non comedogenic, which means it won’t clog up your pores with excess oils and increase the possibility of blemishes. If you’re concerned about causing breakouts on your shoulders or back, use sunscreen for face on your body as well.

The absolute most important factor in choosing a good sunscreen for your face is broad spectrum coverage. As outlined earlier, up until a few years ago, sunscreen only protected from UVB radiation ‒ but it’s the UVA radiation that causes photoaging and presents more risks to your health. That’s why broad spectrum protection is so important. If your sunscreen doesn’t guard against both UVB and UVA radiation, then it isn’t giving you the protection you need.

In the United States, only a few ingredients that guard against UVA radiation have been approved by the FDA, so whether or not a product is called broad spectrum, look for your sunscreen to contain one or more of these: zinc oxide, avobenzone, ecamsule, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, cinnamates, salicylates, or benzophenones.

Making sure that your sunscreen for face offers broad spectrum protection is far more important than SPF, or sun protection factor. SPF can be a bit deceiving for a couple of reasons. First of all, many people believe that an SPF 30 sunscreen is twice as protective as one with an SPF of 15, but this is not true. Doubling the SPF of a sunscreen only adds a tiny percentage of extra protection ‒ so for example, SPF 30 is just 4% more effective than SPF 15.

Additionally, many dermatologists are advising that it’s best to avoid sunscreens with very high SPF. In truth, SPF 30 is about right in most situations. And interestingly enough, SPF only refers to the protection you’ll get from the less harmful UVB radiation. Best Sunscreen for FaceThere are currently no accepted standards in the U.S. for rating the effectiveness of UVA protection in sunscreens ‒ so SPF doesn’t really give you very much useful information.

Making the most of your sunscreen

Because your face is exposed to the light of the sun any time you step outdoors, you’ll want to maximize its protection. For extra help in recovering from the sun’s effects, consider a sunscreen for face that contains Vitamin C or E. If you spend a lot of time in the water, make sure your sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. For extra sensitive skin, avoid products with alcohol or heavy fragrance and opt for UVA protection that uses zinc oxide or titanium dioxide instead of more irritating chemicals.

Finally, the best thing you can possibly do to increase the benefits of your sunscreen is to re-apply it regularly ‒ every two hours is about right.

It’s quite simple, really. Using sunscreen for your face will keep you healthy, by greatly reducing your risk of skin cancer and melanomas. And it will keep your skin supple, smooth, and youthful as a bonus. Can you think of a better recommendation than that?

Here are our picks on for the best sunscreen for face use.

What’s your favorite facial sunscreen? Tell us your opinion on the best sunscreen for face use in the comments below.

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