“Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.” Hermann Hesse
This is probably my most given answer to the most asked question: What helps to prevent skin aging? There is only little so effective but accessible to the public and for every income bracket than sunscreen. Really, you can ask every professional dermatologist on this planet, a good sunscreen is the best protection against skin aging. Some scientists even photographed twins side by side, with one twin being more exposed to the sun than the other, the one with higher sun exposure looked visibly aged compared to the other (see here). I will stop preaching now but I feel like this is the only true advice I can give to the many, many people asking me for skincare advice. Of course a little Sunday Riley, SK-II and MD Perricone make your skincare routine a bit sweeter but sunscreen literally is the bread and butter if you fear wrinkles. It gives me the creeps when I see raw, vegan, ‘chemistry-is-bad’ moms rubbing their baby in coconut oil and letting them roast in the australian sun. Be conscious! So to break down the topic I split it up to the 5 most given objections I received against daily sunscreen:
A good daily sunscreen is expensive:
If approximately 10 USD for a decent daily sunscreen, which protects you from wrinkles and skin cancer, is not worth to you I don’t know what to say. Better prevention than cure, right? I think Shiseido Senka (link on the right bar) is very affordable and does a good job. Also, if you live in Europe you can look out for the next Lidl Supermarket near you, I found out they have a very nice Anti-Aging creme with effective sunscreen for 3 EUR! No joke. Get it.
But there is no sun in my country, so I don’t need sunscreen to safe my skin from aging:
Photostress is everywhere you have sunlight and skin damage accumulates over time which is called Photoaging. It is still the biggest skin aging factor next to chronicle aging and while the other is inevitable you can take photoaging in your own hands and protect yourself. (1, 2, 3).
I don’t understand the long chemistry name labels on most sunscreen products, so I don’t use them:
Okay, I hear that alot. This is a look at the INCIS of my daily spf-creme favorites (see right bar for exact product) and what you mostly find in other, similar sunscreen:
active sunscreen agent: Zinc Oxide
The only thing you should fear in Zinc Oxide sunscreens is the white cast and that’s where the other ‘long-named’ chemistry compounds come into play: to help to perfectly contribute it all over your face. And most of the other long-chained inorganic compounds won’t even do a thing but be a) occlusive b) like a sebum sponge or c) an antioxidant imbedded matrix. I like this sunscreen because it’s so feathery, lightweight and semi-matte.
active sunscreen agent: Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate and Octocrylene
Sunscreens like this are always a combination of UVA- and UVB-protecting chemical agents. They protect you by converting UV radiation to heat. Nowadays it is still the most effective sunscreen compared to amount of application and whitecast comfort and I find this one gives me a nice strobe glow and moisture. Yes, there are controversies and concerns with chemical sunscreen agents like Avobenzone and Homosalate, which are claimed by some to act as endocrine disruptors (stuff that messes with your hormone system). Paula’s Choice has a good list of all agents like the ones mentioned above, if you are concerned, too (see here) and wrote an extensive article with emphasis on cancer protection or cancer cause by sunscreen (read here). And while there is little evidence it is more harmful than helpful (it is still the most effective sunscreen for every wavelength) I would rather use this as a daily moisturizer than to take a swim in the oceans, because recent research suggests it causes decline of coral reefs, which makes sunscreen agents like this not your first choice when step into the ocean.
active sunscreen agent: Octinoxate, Parsol XS, Ensulizole, Uvinul A Plus
Octinoxate and Parsol XS (Avobenzone) can be put in the same category as Aveeno’s mentioned above. Ensulizole is a UVB-protecting agent that needs to be combined with an UVA-protecting one like Avobenzone and usually finds a spot in formulations that should give a matte skin appearance. And that’s what I like about Shiseido Senka and all other japanese daily sunscreens, full of mattifying polymeric compounds like cyclomethicones and crosspolymers, they give such a matte finish they make you look like a porcelain doll.
All natural sunscreen is giving me a white cast and daily sunscreen is to oily for my face:
Particles for good natural (physical) sunscreen like ones with Zinc Oxide are nowadays usually very small, so it looks a bit white when you make flash pictures with your camera but not in everyday life. Don’t worry, if you already think about harmful nano particles, the ones here are still too big to do any harm. And also modern daily sunscreens have little to do with your remembrance of oily faces in the summer when you applied body sunscreen on your face. Unless you do exactly that you can be sure Zinc Oxide based sunscreens come in a mattifying medium like silicones or powdery textures.
I want a deep, dark tan. I cannot get a good tan without the sun:
Check out my take on the perfect self tanner application (click here). None of the Victoria Secret angels sizzle in the sun to get a tan, they rather have a visit by an Airbrush specialist who applies self tanner all over their body. Do they look orange? No. Because new self tanners have a smart blend and give you a nice glow. Many come with tint, so you know where you applied them. Yes, there are ‘natural’, organic options (check out LUSH’s sesame suntan, which is full of juglon-rich Walnut extract). No, you won’t suffer Vitamin D deficiency if you maintain a healthy diet. Be smart and fake tan if you prefer darker skin! Old ladies who where sunbathing their whole lifetime remind me of my velour minnetonka boots. Just don’t.
Pheew, what a long read. Sorry for the rant undertone. I hope many of you start to use sunscreen more frequently, if not already. Stay safe and be smart, Ea Birkkam.
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today: monochromatic beach + sunscreen favorites