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Sunscreen 101: Tips From Our Kelowna Skin Clinic

Skincare the one item everyone should have in their skincare arsenal.

We understand that "perfect skin" is in the eye of the beholder. For example, some people begin seeking wrinkle-reducing options in their twenties, while others love their expression lines and only seek out our Kelowna Skincare services if they start to notice hyperpigmentation. There is, however, one skincare item that’s non-negotiable, because it has an impact not just on your appearance, but on your overall health.

This item is sunscreen. Whether you’re 18 or 60, whether you’re an office worker or a lifeguard, you should have some form of this product in your skincare arsenal. That is because it protects you from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays, which not only cause premature ageing but are a lead contributor to skin cancer.

In this blog, we’ll be breaking down everything you need to know about sunscreen, from what SPF means to whether you should apply sunscreen before or after makeup. Consider this your summer sunscreen FAQ.

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What Does SPF Mean?

SPF relates to the amount of time it would take your skin to burn without protection version with sunscreen.

According to the Skin cancer Foundation: “SPF 15 filters out approximately 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent and SPF 50 keeps out 98 percent”. It’s important to note that the difference between 15 and 30 isn’t doubled and that both sunscreens do not protect against ALL UV rays.


What Does Broad Spectrum Mean? Do I Need It?

Broad spectrum, in the context of sunscreen, means that it protects against both UVA and UVB light. UVA rays are responsible for visible ageing, while UVB is the cause of sunburns. Both types of light can contribute to skin damage and even cancer.


What Is The Difference Between Mineral Sunscreens And Chemical Sunscreens?

Mineral sunscreens contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as an active ingredient. They function by deflecting the sun’s rays.

Formulas containing mineral blockers have come a long way from the days of smearing zinc paste on your nose poolside. While some variations formulas may add a whitish cast to the skin of those with tans or deeper complexions, but come in a myriad of lightweight options.

Chemical sunscreens would more accurately be called “synthetic”, as most products, even natural ones, are composed of chemicals. These sunscreens work by absorbing the sun's rays, and deactivating them by turning them into heat. There are a variety of ingredients in these sunscreens, but popular ones include avobenzone and oxybenzone.

When it comes to the type of sunscreen that works best for you, mineral vs chemical/synthetic shouldn't be at the core of your choice.

Instead, you should pay attention to:

  • SPF
  • whether or not it is broad spectrum
  • whether it’s comfortable for you to wear

Both chemical filters can protect your skin from the sun’s rays, and regardless of which option you choose, it is important to look for broad-spectrum protection.

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Do I Need Special Face Sunscreen?

When it comes to applying sunscreen, we all know that it’s important to slather high-SPF sunscreen on any exposed skin. But while it’s easy enough to slather on the recommended shot-glass worth of sunscreen onto your arm and shoulder area, or your back, applying sunscreen to the face--especially day-to-day--can seem tricky. We definitely suggest using a special formula for your face: these are generally designed to prevent irritation, tend to be less greasy, and layer better with makeup. 


Won’t Sunscreen Make My Skin Greasy?

Some people skip sunscreen for fear that it will make their skin oily.

Fortunately, there is sunscreen out there for every skin type:

  • If you have oily skin, look for a dry-touch formula that leaves a feathery, matte texture. For an extra-mattifying effect and double protection, apply a mineral powder containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide after your sunscreen is absorbed.
  • If you have sensitive skin, skip the fragrance-heavy formulas in favour of a minimalist formula focused on active ingredients that block the sun and soothe the skin.
  • If you have dry skin, keeping your skin hydrated is especially important in the hot summer months. Choose a high-SPF moisturizing cream.

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Should I Wear Sunscreen Over Or Under My Makeup?

As sunscreen often works best when absorbed into the skin, we’d suggest applying it under your makeup.


What About Sunscreen For Lips and Eyes?

Moisturize your lips and protect your skin from sun damage by using a lip balm of SPF 30 or more under any lip shade you wear. The bonus? This trick also makes wearing matte and suede shades much comfier, as they won’t dry out your lips.


Contact Our Kelowna Skin Clinic

If you're concerned about protecting your skin from photo-aging, or would like to undo existing skin damage, don't hesitate to get in touch with us through our contact form or give us a call at 250-868-9290.

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Donna McAteer

Donna McAteer

Donna is the general manager and has been with the Okana­gan Skin Care Cen­tre for over 14 years. She is a certified Es­theti­cian and previous business owner with over 20 years enjoying the skin care industry. Her passion for knowledge, integral client care and maintaining a syn­er­gis­tic team that represents professional excellence in skin care remains her focus.

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