Ask a Dermatologist: Sun Care Edition
Ask a Dermatologist: Sun Care Edition
When it comes to sun care, admittedly we can feel a bit left in the dark. Yes, we know SPF is important and that laying in the sun unprotected probably isn’t a great idea—but what does this really mean for the health of our skin? What’s the difference between a UVA and UVB ray? Are base tans really a thing?
As the heat of the summer draws everyone outside, it's more important than ever to shine a spotlight on sun safety. That’s why we enlisted the expertise of renowned dermatologist, Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, to provide you with answers to all of your burning sun care questions—as well as debunk a few myths—to get an insider's opinion on the do’s and don’ts of having fun in the sun. So, grab your fave iced beverage, find a shady spot, and get ready to dive deep into the world of sun care with expert advice delivered straight from a derm. Let's get you on track to enjoy a happy and healthy season of glowing responsibly!
Apart from SPF, what other sun care products would you consider essential?
Dr. Sandy: “Prolonged sun exposure can damage your skin barrier, leading to dry, sensitive, itchy, and/or breakout-prone skin. I recommend using soothing, gentle products to protect your skin.”
Dr. Skotnicki recommends starting your routine off with a soothing and gentle cleanse that won’t strip your skin. “Three Ships’ Harmony Cucumber + Kombucha Microbiome Balancing Cleanser has a velvety, milky texture and helps to repair a compromised barrier.
Dr. Sandy: "Then use the Three Ships Replenish Ceramides + Blueberry Barrier Repair Serum after cleansing to hydrate and plump the skin. You can also use Replenish as a scalp treatment by applying a few drops to irritated patches on the scalp, leave overnight, and rinse with shampoo in the AM. Both are clinically-tested for sensitive skin, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free!”
We know the sun is at its peak at noon, but is SPF necessary during early morning and late afternoon when the sun is low?
Dr. Sandy: “It’s important that sunscreen become a habitual part of your daily routine. That’s why I suggest you put it on in the morning as a part of your AM skincare routine and re-apply as needed throughout the day. It is true the UV index is highest between 11am-3 pm and that this is the critical time for sunscreen, however you get UV rays any time you are outside, so it is important to wear sunscreen at all times of the day. As well, UV rays accumulate over your life, so an even more reason to make sunscreen a part of your daily routine!”
Detox Tip: If you consider yourself SPF-forgetful, try a moisturizer with added sun protection benefits! Not only will combining SPF with moisturizer streamline your skincare routine, but will ensure you never forget essential sunscreen protection—even on the days you find yourself outside more than you anticipated. We love Odacité’s Sun Guardian Day Creme SPF 30 for its broad spectrum sun protection and its powerful yet soothing ingredients like glacial water, aloe vera, green tea and vitamin E.
What are the key differences between UVA and UVB rays, and how do they affect the skin differently?
Dr. Sandy: “UVA penetrates the skin more deeply and is associated with skin cancer as well as photo-aging. UVB is the part of the UV spectrum that results in sunburn and it is less damaging to the deeper layers of the skin. It is important to use sunscreens that protect against both.”
Detox Tip: Simply put, ‘broad spectrum’ means a formula protects against both UVA and UVB rays, making it the most effective form of sun protection. We love Hynt Beauty’s Sun Prep Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 25 because it offers a lightweight and transparent application with a 9% titanium dioxide to shield your skin from harmful UV rays. This primer wears beautifully on its own, or pairs well under makeup so you can ensure your sun protection never impacts a flawless makeup application.
Do 'base tans' (past sun-exposure) help protect me from future burns/damage?
Dr. Sandy: “Technically yes, but this should never be the goal. A tan is technically an SPF level of 3, so it will have a degree of protection, but by no means does this replace the need for sunscreen.”
Detox Tip: Want the look of a beautiful golden glow—without the sun damage? Reach for a self-tanner! Faux-tans won’t protect you from the sun, but are a great bronze base to apply sunscreen over-top of. We love the Kora Organics Gradual Self-Tanning Lotion because its fast absorbing formula is packed with skin-loving moisturizers that never leave skin feeling sticky or streaky. Plus, the gradually building pigment looks so natural that everyone will think you’ve just returned from a sunny vacation!
If I'm outdoors and already developing a sunburn, is it too late to apply SPF? Should I immediately move indoors?
Dr. Sandy: “If you are developing a sunburn, it is important to get out of the sun, seek shade, and cool the skin down. To help limit the damage to the skin, you can try cold compressing and or using an anti-inflammatory.”
Detox Tip: Cool off irritated, sun damaged skin with The Detox Market’s Super Chill Facial Pill. Simply fill this refreshing, award winning tool with water and pop the ice mold in the freezer for a cooling effect that can be used all-over. We recommend adding soothing ingredients like sliced cucumber, aloe, or essences to your water before freezing it for extra skincare benefits!
Are there any particular areas of the body that often go overlooked when it comes to sunscreen application, but are still susceptible to sun damage?
Dr. Sandy: “It is very common to forget the tops of the hands and feet. In men in particular, the tops of ears and back of neck can be neglected as well. All these areas are where we see accumulated sun damage as patients age. Finally, the back is just difficult to apply sunscreen to. You typically need help and due to its large surface most people do not apply enough sunscreen to cover it properly.”
As we wrap up our deep-dive with dermatologist Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, it's clear that prioritizing the health and well-being of our skin is essential, especially when it comes to sun protection. Your sun care routine consists of so much more than just SPF! If you’re looking for more customized coverage to your sun care routine, take our Sun Quiz for personalized product recommendations based on your unique skin type.
So, as you embrace the warmth of the sun and enjoy the outdoor activities this summer, remember to incorporate these valuable insights into your daily routine. Your skin will thank you for it, both now and in the years to come. Stay safe, stay glowy, and stay protected so you can radiate all season long.
How we chose the sun care products in this list
These natural sun care formulas were meticulously curated by our team of experts based on their innovation, performance, and buzz-worthiness. At the Detox Market, all of the products we carry have pure ingredients, exceptional performance, and cruelty free formulations. We've been the trusted clean beauty experts for over a decade, cutting through the clean beauty noise and providing you with nothing but the best in green beauty. You can learn more about our commitment to clean beauty here.