Everything You Need To Know About Everyday Sunscreen

Yes, you do need to wear SPF daily, whether the sun is shining or not. Here, RHEA CARTWRIGHT shares the expert guide to applying it the right way – and the best formulas to see you through the day


How much sunscreen should I use?

First, it’s important to remember that sun damage can occur even on a cloudy day – or even indoors if you’re sitting by a window. So, applying SPF to your face and neck daily is necessary, whatever the season. “The recommended amount is 2mg/cm² – enough to coat the entire surface area of exposed skin, which equates to roughly half a teaspoon or two-finger lengths of sunscreen,” says New York-based dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross. Don’t skip any part of the skin’s surface. “Remember to rub SPF onto your chest and décolletage, as well as your lips and the tops of the ears, too.”

Do I still need SPF if it’s in my face cream or foundation?

If you’ve been relying on the SPF in your makeup or moisturizer, it’s time to take it up a level. “While having SPF in makeup is a great add-on, the quantity of SPF is not sufficient to provide adequate sun protection,” says aesthetic doctor Barbara Kubicka. “A dedicated sunscreen that is specifically formulated to provide concentrated amounts of protection is key.” SPF is the final step in your skincare regimen (before foundation) and should be applied 20 minutes before going outside. Supergoop!’s Unseen Sunscreen SPF40 applies completely clear and doubles as a makeup base, while Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Sun Drops SPF50 offer a serum-like texture when worn undiluted, or can be mixed into your favorite cream, and Ultraviolette’s Tinted Veil provides reliable protection with a hint of glow-giving color.

Does everybody need SPF?

The sun does not discriminate, and despite common misconceptions, all skin tones need to apply sunscreen to ensure their skin is protected. Although darker skin tones are slightly more resilient to the sun, they can still burn and are susceptible to damage. According to dermatologist Dr. Hope Mitchell, those with darker skin tones can sometimes incorrectly think they are less at risk of skin cancer – which can lead to missed signs. “People with darker skin are often diagnosed at a later stage,” she says. Thankfully, the latest SPF launches are often suitable for all skin tones and come without an ashy, white cast.

Should you use a chemical or mineral SPF?

Provided you use a broad-spectrum sun protection that protects against UVA and UVB rays, whether you opt for chemical or mineral sunscreen is a matter of preference. Physical filters, which are typically less irritating, sit on the surface of the skin and block the UV rays. Chemical filters, which tend to have a thinner consistency and therefore sit better under makeup, work within the skin and absorb rays like a sponge.

What is the best way to remove SPF?

Cleansing is essential on any day, but even more so when wearing sun protection. “SPF is like hairspray, in that it is formulated to stick to your skin and stay put as much as possible,” says aesthetician Dija Ayodele, who advises double cleansing to break down the SPF first. “I recommend an oil-based or balm cleanser as a first cleanse before following up with a face wash that is appropriate for your skin type. If you don’t remove your SPF properly, it can lead to skin irritation, breakouts and blocked pores.” Noble Panacea’s Cleansing Balm and Exfoliating Refiner features a buttery-textured balm that’s formulated to purge SPF from pores, while the exfoliator offers micro-doses of AHA and PHA to whisk away any leftover residue.


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