4 Sun Protection Tips

We all know that sun exposure is bad for us. It causes premature aging, sun spots, cancer.. We certainly don’t want that, but we can’t stay all day locked up inside, can we? And are we really safe inside, anyway? Well, if you follow these 4 simple tips you will be safe everywhere, whether you’re at home, driving, or spending time outdoors:

1. Apply sunscreen generously to all exposed skin areas

Did you know that most people only apply 1/3 to 1/2 of the recommended amount of sunscreen? That’s because they only use a small amount and that just won’t do! To get the level of SPF stated on the bottle, you need to apply a thick layer of sunscreen on all areas that are gonna be exposed to the sun, including your ears, neck, hands and lips. It is true that some sunscreens are too thick, greasy and goopey, which can put you off from applying them liberally or even daily! However, that just means they’re not suitable for your skin type so keep experimenting until you find one that feels comfortable on your skin.

2. Use mineral powders with SPF throughout the day

Although some sunscreen ingredients are more stable than others, they all can degrade and lose their efficacy when exposed to sunlight, which is why it is important to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. But that’s not really possible when you have a full face of makeup on, is it? So, what can you do? You can dust on a mineral powder with SPF (ie one that contains either Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide). Although powders don’t protect your skin as well as a sunscreen does and thus should never be used as a substitute for it, if you spend most of your day indoors, they are a good way  to touch up your sunscreen throughout the day. But if you’re spending hours outdoors, swimming or sweating, then you’ll just have to reapply sunscreen as a powder just won’t provide adequate protection.

3. Beware of windows

UVA rays (the type that causes premature aging and contributes to cancer) can pass through windows and thus cause damage to your skin. So, remember to always wear sunscreen before you get into your car and try not to spend too much time near a window. For more protection, you can consider tinting your car windows and put sheds on your windows (even on those in your office).

4. Wear sun protective clothes and accessories

Most clothes only provide 5 to 9 SPF, so if you like to spend a lot of time in the sun, you should invest in some sun protective clothing that can offer up to SPF 50. Also, wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV ray protection (keep in mind though that dark lenses don’t necessarily protect from the sun rays so look for a model that claim to offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays instead) to protect your eyes, and a wide-brimmed hat (choose an opaque, tightly-woven one) to protect your scalp and hair.

Have you got any other sun protection tips you can share?

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    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Trisha, most people I know do that too and even make fun of me when I say I wear sunscreen daily, even indoors. It’s really a shame they don’t understand how important wearing sunscreen daily is.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Xin, if you don’t spend hours outdoors when you wear it, it should just about give you the protection you need throughout the day.

  1. says

    Giorgia, I can’t thank you enough for all the smarts you’ve put on your blog and shared with people like me! I always looked up info about ingredients and researched the best and most popular makeup and skin care items but there are thousands of products out there and facts to know. You have put up the important ones and I’ve never known so much about sun protection until your blog. :] I understand the part when people make fun of you for being sun safe. I get that often too. Especially now that my sunscreen is a physical blocker (Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection Cream For Face SPF 55 PA+++) people ask if I’m feeling okay or tell me I’m so pale (in a bad way). Is there a way to tone down the white cast? I don’t wear any sort of foundation but I’m open to any ideas. 😀 I read your blog every day still! I haven’t skipped one day. My goal now is to comment more on your blog because I know that if I had a blog, I would LOVE comments not just others reading it.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Janessa, thanks a lot for your kind words and all your support. I really appreciate it. I’m glad you enjoy my blog and find it informative. It makes all my hard work worthwhile.

      The white cast is a “side effect” of the physical sunscreen. I think the only way to get rid of it would be switching to a sunscreen with nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide as they have a clear color. Hope this helps.

  2. says

    Really good tip about making sure you wear enough! I’ve also heard that it’s a good reason to invest in sunscreens with higher spf (e.g. if you apply too little of an spf 20 sunscreen, you might just be getting spf 5, whereas if you apply the same amount of an spf 55 sunscreen, you might be getting closer to spf 20<====totally just made those number up). Do you know if that's true or not? I've always wondered.

    I also read a couple of time that you should apply sunscreen to your lips too. Do you think it's ok to use your regular face sunscreen for that? Sorry to pester you with so many questions today, but you always seem to have answer! :) Thanks for sharing useful and interesting information with us all the time
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    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Makeup Morsels, that’s true, but the real number are a lot lower. If you apply half the amount, for instance, you get the protection of only the square root of the SPF. So, even if you wear SPF70, you’d only get SPF8.4! That’s why I think that SPF30 or even 50 are more than enough as long as you apply them liberally.

      Lips need sunscreen too, but I prefer to use lip products with SPF to protect them. The problem with face sunscreens is that they may contain ingredients that aren’t lip safe. If you’re thinking of using your face sunscreen, compare its ingredients with those of your lip products and if they’re the same, then I think it’s safe to use it on the lips as well. But if your sunscreen has even just one ingredient that you can’t find in any of your lip products, then I personally wouldn’t risk it.

      And you’re not pestering me at all. I’m always glad to help. :)

  3. Jill says

    I read here on your blog that physical sunscreens contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, but for a suncreen to be physical, are those ingredients the only one the sunscreen can contain? If there are any other ingredients does it automatically mean that the suncreen is both physical and chemical?

    I mean if you look at the ingredientlist, is zinc oxide (or titanium dioxide) the only thing that can be in the list? Because I’ve never seen that before…

    I want to try Anthelios AC SPF 30 fluide extreme from La Roche Posay, and that contains titanium dioxide, but that is not the inly ingredient, so is that a phsycical and chemical suncreen then? And do you think that anthelios is any good for oily skin (mine is very oily)? Or is it always that suncreens makes you look more shiny (I always have the feeling they do, so I’m always a little bit ‘scared’ to put them on my face), and if you use liquid foundation, doesn’t it comes off more easily during the day when you also wear sunscreen?

    I’m sorry for all these questions, but I thougt it’s better to ask these questions now in march when it isn’t really summer yet, so I can try some stuff out :p

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Jill, the physical or chemical label re a sunscreen refers to the active sunscreen ingredients only. A physical sunscreen can contain preservatives, thickeners, moisturizing ingredients etc, but the active sunscreen agents need to be either or both Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. If it contains both Titanium Dioxide and, let’s say, Avobenzone, then it is both physical and chemical.

      The Anthelios AC SPF 30 fluide extreme sunscreen contains Mexoryl as well so it is both a physical and chemical sunscreen. It also contains alcohol, which is not my fave ingredient, but that’s used to make the texture of the sunscreen texture lighter so it should be suitable for those with oily skin as well. There’s no way to know for sure until you try it though. I always wear liquid foundation on top of sunscreen and so far I didn’t have any problems with it.

      And that’s no problem at all, I’m glad if I can help. If you have any further questions, just ask away. :)

      • Jill says

        Oh, thank you so much, that’s so much clearer now! It does make sense that there are also preservatives and thickeners etc., but I didn’t really think about that before :p

        I think I’ll go to the pharmacy and ask for a sample, that way I can try it a few days. I hope it will be fine, but I already have some La Roche Posay products (I’ve been using them for a few years now, ever since my dermatologist prescribed them) and I like them, so hopefully the sunscreen as well :-) I think maybe you’ll always be a little bit more shiny or oily with sunscreen, but if that prevents us from getting wrinkles and skin cancer (!), I don’t mind (as long as the oil doesn’t drip off of my face :p)

        • beautifulwithbrains says

          Jill, you’re welcome. Asking for a sample is a great idea. I used some La Roche Posay sunscreen in the past and really liked them. Hope this one will work well for you. :) I agree that a little bit of shininess is a small price to pay for the protection sunscreen gives you. Just as long as it isn’t too shiny. :)

          • Jill says

            Today I saw a sunscreen for the face from Rituals. It’s SPF 30 and tried a little bit from the tester on my hand top see how shiny or sticky it would be and it wasn’t that bad (although I didn’t try it on my face), but do you think it offers good protection?


            I’m really sorry to bother you again with this, but you’re the professional here 😀

            • beautifulwithbrains says

              Jill, you’re not bothering me at all. It’s not a very bad sunscreen but it only contains Titanium Dioxide to protect skin against UVA. And Titanium Dioxide protects only from short UVA radiation, but not long wave UVA. It definitely offers more protection that most sunscreens on the market that only protect from UVB rays but I would still keep looking for something else that protect against the entire UVA range. Hope this helps. :)

              • Jill says

                I’m so into doing research on sunscreens now 😀 all thanks to you!

                So, titanium dioxide protects against short UVA radiation and zinc oxide protects against both short and long UVA radiation? Is zinc oxide always called zinc oxide in the ingredientlist or are they also other names for it? Because it seems that there are more sunscreens containing titanium dioxide than zinc oxide, or at least that’s the case with the sunscreens I check. Almost every sunscreen I check (on the internet) contains titanium dioxide, but I never seem to find one with zinc oxide. Strange…

                I have read that avobenzone (or Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane or Parsol 1789, ect.) protects against long UVA-waves, is that true? Because in that case the sunscreen from Rituals would be fine? (So confusing these ingredients :p)

                Although I’m doing this research now, I still have to buy a sunscreen for daily use, so bad! I do have a foundation with SPF 30 and powder to touch up my make-up during the day that contains titanium dioxide, but that’s not enough, so I really need to go buy a good sunscreen. Every day without sunscreen I’m feeling a bit guilty now 😀

                • beautifulwithbrains says

                  Jill, I’m glad to hear that. It’s so important to know more about sunscreen so you can protect yourself properly. :)

                  I don’t think Zinc Oxide has any other name and you’re right that it is so hard to find a sunscreen with it. Mostly just contain Titanium Dioxide but as long as they also have other UVA filters such as Mexoryl or Tinosorb, you’ll still be protected against the entire UVA-range. I’m not really sure why Zinc Oxide isn’t used more often as it’s definitely the best sunscreen ingredient available on the market.

                  Yes, it is true that Avobenzone is also called Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane and I feel so silly now for having missed that. I totally got it confused with another ingredient with a similar name that doesn’t have sun protection properties, sorry about that 😳 Yes, then the sunscreen would be ok to use as it provides broad spectrum protection.

                  • Jill says

                    Yes, indeed, I wish I started a bit earlier with the sunscreen, but I’m 22 now, so it’s not soooo bad I guess (and I’m not someone who always used to be in the sun and at the beach, it’s usually too hot for me :p) and I guess it’s never too late to start protecting yourself :-)

                    Ow okay, I get it now: so Titanium Dioxide + another ingredient against (long) UVA radiation or just Zinc Oxide, and then we are protected against all UVA waves. Yeah, strange that they don’t just Zinc Oxide more often, maybe it’s expensive or something.

                    No, no, don’t feel silly! I mean there are so many ingredients on the list with such weird names 😀 and then all the ingredients have synonyms, it’s like they’re making it extra hard for us :p. But thank you so much for explaining everything (and for your patience!) I really learned a lot already :-)

                    • beautifulwithbrains says

                      Jill, that’s good that you didn’t spend much time in the sun unprotected. And by using sunscreen daily from now on, you’ll avoid lots of damage. :)

                      Yep, that’s right and thanks. Yes, lots of ingredients have similar names and it can get quite confusing at times… You’re welcome and I’m glad I could help. :)

  4. Katy says

    My esthetician said unless the sunblock had a physical block in it (like titanium dioxide) it would last long enough throughout the day. So I guess the spf 20 in your moisturizer or foundation might not be providing the coverage you think it is. Does anyone else know if this is true?

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Katy, moisturizers and foundations with SPF don’t provide adequate protection from the sun simply because it is impossible to apply the amount required for them to work properly. While I think that powders with SPF can be a good way to touch up sunscreen throughout the day, provided you spend most of your time indoors, makeup and moisturizers with SPF should never be used as a substitute to sunscreen. Hope this helps.


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