Many of my clients tell me they are using a moisturizer that contains sunscreen and then ask me: “Do moisturizers with SPF give me enough sun protection?” Well, if you read my last blog about the new math, you know the short answer is no. As well, dear regular readers, you also know by now that I talk frequently about the importance of wearing sunscreen throughout the year. So – with all of this preamble and with the title of this blog being all about sunscreen, without further ado, here is everything you need to know about sunscreen and more!

Spring, summer, winter or fall it doesn’t matter. It is critically important that, regardless of season and even of where you live in the world, you use sunscreen to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun. You need to do this on a daily basis. Whether the sun is reflected off the snow or you are lying down on a beach towel purposely absorbing it, you need to protect your skin and it’s likely that a regular moisturizer just isn’t enough.

Let’s say you are heading out to work in the morning and planning on running a couple of errands over the lunch hour. Perhaps you work downtown or have a lovely little picnic area at your place of business. If that’s the case and you are spending most of your day in an office, warehouse or retail environment, slapping on a moisturizer with sunscreen in the morning is probably going to be enough protection for that short, “middle of the day” exposure. However, even in this scenario you need to be sure that you are using the product properly. It is recommended that you apply a half a teaspoon of lotion on your face and significantly more than that if you are also applying it to your ears, neck and décolletage. As well, you must still ensure that this moisturizer contains a high SPF protection. Sample shopping has shown me that most moisturizers fall relatively low on the SPF protection scale and that frankly, it’s most likely they don’t contain enough sunscreen to provide the amount protection you both need and deserve.

Now, if you are planning on spending significantly more time in the sun, I absolutely recommend you add another layer of protection. Not only is this important, it’s critical. Sunscreen is your skins safeguard. I would equate its importance to wearing a hard hat on a construction site or a helmet when you are bike riding. In other words – don’t leave home without it! Personal preference plays a role in sunscreen protection in terms of what you like on your skin (spray or crème) and each of us must take our own skin type into consideration when selecting an SPF product. Lighter complexions most certainly need a product with a heavier SPF factor and someone with special skin issues, like Vitilago, need to be extra vigilant. That said, no matter what you use to defend your skin from the sun, it should be at least an SPF of 30 and you are going to need to reapply it throughout the day and particularly after exposure to   water.

The decision is yours when it comes to sunscreen. Personal preference will weigh heavily on the type of product you use but making a decision to go without SPF at all is just plain scary. Going without sunscreen exposes your skin to a long list of potential problems including: age spots, premature aging, wrinkles, DNA damage, skin cancers and more. Typically, moisturizer alone is not enough and no matter the time of year, don’t leave home without your sunscreen. Be sun smart and protect your skin every day!

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