Sunscreen & SPF | Why You Need Better UVA Protection

Woman, arms in air applying sunscreen | Sunscreen & SPF | Why You Need Better UVA Protection | Masterpiece Skin Restoration

We Didn't Always Have Sunscreen.

My mom grew up in the California desert before sunscreen was even invented. Sadly, you could tell from her skin.

And as a kid I only remember wearing sunscreen ONLY when we went to the pool.

My neighbors used to go to a tanning booth before any sunny vacation to get a base tan. Everyone thought it was better for your skin than burning on the beach!

For years I thought the SPF makeup I wore protected my skin from the sun. Then when I was about 24, my friend, Kristin, started working for Clinique. She was the one who told me I needed to wear sunscreen under my makeup – and I thank her to this day!

Now I make my kids put sunblock on before they come downstairs for breakfast - and we use antioxidant skincare. (Read our post, C E Ferulic | Why It's Won 24 Beauty Awards)  In my lifetime alone, we have learned so much about skincare! Because of sunscreen, we are now able to prevent sun damage

– and my kids may never need skin rejuvenation.

Sunscreen is widely considered to be the best anti-aging product.

That’s because sun is the biggest cause of skin aging. Most things we don’t like about our skin can be attributed to sun exposure – dark spots, lines, wrinkles and skin cancer. That’s why every person (over the age of 6 months) should wear sunscreen daily. Daily sunscreen use, all year long, is the key to beautiful, healthy skin.

UVA rays cause Aging.  UVB rays cause Burns. Here's how explains it:

“SPF refers to the ability of a sunscreen to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which cause sunburns, but not UVA rays, which are more closely linked to deeper skin damage. Both UVA and UVB contribute to the risk of skin cancer. The SPF rating is a measure of the time it would take you to sunburn if you were not wearing sunscreen as opposed to the time it would take with sunscreen on.”

But there are some problems with the SPF model:

1. No sunblock will be effective longer than two hours without reapplication.

2. Skin redness is a reaction to UVB (burning) rays alone and tells little about what UVA (aging) damage you may be getting. Plenty of damage can occur before you see sunburn.

  • UVA radiation, penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB rays, causing premature wrinkling, age spots and a heightened risk for some skin cancers.
UV rays and skin penetration diagram | Sunscreen & SPF | Why You Need Better UVA Protection | Masterpiece Skin Restoration
  • Sunscreens that are labeled broad-spectrum block both UVA and UVB rays, but there is no standard for listing UVA blocking power. Mineral / physical sunscreens (with the ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) that deflect sunlight are the only sunscreens that will protect from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Additionally, as the numbers go up from SPF 15, the protection from UVB rays increases only slightly.

OK. So what's the best sunscreen?

Most dermatologists recommend a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays; however, none will give 100% protection. Shawn Allen, MD, a Dermatologist from Boulder, Colorado, is more specific. He recommends you,

“Look for SPF 30, which will block 97% UV rays but also look for zinc oxide in greater than 3% to provide coverage of UVA light and better overall protection.

Below are a couple of sunscreens you can find on Amazon.

Both are physical / mineral sunscreens with good percentages of zinc oxide and zero chemical sunscreen. I love that because it's hard to find. (Many sunscreens contain a combination of both physical and chemical sunscreens.)

CoTZ Face:  CoTZ creates sunscreens that are free of chemical sunscreens, oils, fragrances and PABA and they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This sunscreen contains 8% titanium dioxide and 3.8% zinc oxide. It's tinted so it doesn't look white. There are TONS of great reviews on Amazon where it retails for around $24. I can't wait to try it!

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face:  I use this sunscreen daily because of the whopping amount of zinc oxide - 21.6%. (Zinc oxide does a better job of protecting your skin from UVA / Aging rays.) BUT, it goes on thick and white. It's not easy to rub in and definitely leaves a whitish cast on your face. I find if I top it with a foundation slightly darker than my skin, this sunscreen works just fine. But if you prefer not to use foundation, I'd definitely go with a tinted sunscreen. The Neutrogena is very reasonably priced at around $9 on Amazon - but do check because, as you know, prices always change.

Why isn't the sunscreen in my makeup enough?

Even if your makeup has SPF in it, you still need to wear an additional layer of sunscreen. The concentrations of sunscreen in makeup are too low to protect your skin properly. Put it this way. To get really good coverage, you would need to apply so much makeup that you wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving the house. Not pretty!

Apply sunscreen daily just before applying makeup. And remember, staying out of the sun is still your best bet for beautiful skin.

But I have to mow my lawn - and I want to go to the beach!

The American Academy of Dermatology website says, “There is no safe way to tan. Every time you tan, you damage your skin. As this damage builds, you speed up the aging of your skin and increase your risk for all types of skin cancer.”

Experts recommend using a water-resistant sunscreen applied liberally (about 1 ounce for your body) half hour before going outdoors. It should be reapplied at least every two hours or after swimming, drying off, or sweating. You should not rely on sunscreen alone to protect your skin from the sun. By following the Prevention Guidelines outlined by the Skin Cancer Foundation, you can lower your risk of developing skin cancer while keeping your skin younger looking.

To Keep Your Skin Healthy & Beautiful, Follow These 9 Guidelines:

  1. Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  2. Do not burn.
  3. Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds.
  4. Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  5. Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  6. Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. Mineral based sunscreens need to be shaken before they are applied.
  7. Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  8. Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  9. See your doctor every year for a skin exam.

The SkinCeuticals #ad cosmeceutical line offers broad spectrum, mineral based sunscreens that offer more UVA protection than most sunscreens. They also make anti-oxidants with Vitamins C and E and Retinol which can help correct sun damage.

Unsure what cosmeceuticals are? Read our blog posts, Advantages of Cosmeceutical Skin Care Products and Physical Sunscreen vs. Chemical - What's the Difference?

SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50: This is a broad spectrum, tinted mineral sunscreen with 5% zinc oxide and 6% titanium dioxide. A physical sunscreen with 3% zinc oxide OR MORE gives better protection from UVA (aging) rays - which is hard to find! It's light and very easy to apply. Physical Fusion has tons of great reviews and retails for around $34.

Sunscreen is a necessity! Learn more about other methods of skin restoration in our blog post, You’ve decided to do some skin rejuvenation, but how do you decide what to work on first?

Head shot, Amy Takken, RN & Founder, Masterpiece Skin Restoration

Amy Takken, RN

Amy Takken is a registered nurse with 20+ years of experience helping people improve their health. Her in-depth skincare articles have been featured on Nazarian Plastic Surgery and The Palm Beach Center for Facial Plastic & Laser Surgery. She's also been quoted on

Amy loves research and constantly watches for new products and treatments to help you improve your skin’s health – because healthy skin is beautiful! To reach Amy, visit our contact page.

Masterpiece Skin Restoration is your online resource for all things medical aesthetics, skincare, beauty, and wellness. We keep you up to date on leading edge technology and the services available to help you restore your natural beauty.

We have all the information you need to restore your skin.

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The Information provided on our website is not medical advice and should not be viewed as such. By law, only a medical doctor can diagnose or give medical advice. As a registered nurse, my goal is to educate, so I provide information on skin care, skin care products, and skin care treatments. If you have any condition that concerns you, please see a medical doctor. While most skin conditions are benign, some - like melanoma - can be deadly. If there is any doubt, please, please consult your physician. Thank you!

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