Why I Obsess over SPF

One thing that EVERYBODY needs for healthy, youthful skin is sunscreen. Take this man for example. Bill McElligott, 69, has extreme sun damage, but only on the left side of his face. Bill was a truck driver for 28 years. The sun’s UVA rays transmitted through the window of his truck, causing the left side of his face to appear 20 years older.

Car windows do not protect you from harmful UVA rays, however you can have them tinted to help with this.

Source: The New England Journal of Medicine

Now, let’s get into preventative skincare. There are two types of UV rays – UVA and UVB. We need to protect ourselves from both.

Types of UV Rays

UVA (aging) rays are dangerous because they penetrate the skin on a deeper level, PLUS, you can’t even feel them burning your skin! UVA rays lead to more long-term skin damage such as fine lines and wrinkles. They can also be the culprit of certain types of skin cancer. They pass through glass and clouds.

UVB (burning) rays cause sunburn and redness. These are the rays that leave you looking like a lobster after a week at the beach. They can also contribute to skin cancer.

SPF stands for “sun protection factor”. You want a broad spectrum SPF that will protect you from both types of rays. You need to reapply more often that you’d think.

 How to apply

Apply SPF on a daily basis. I apply EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 to my face, ears and neck every morning. It’s oil free, lightweight and wears well under makeup. I also apply it to the backs of my hands, especially when I drive. Apply it at least 20 minutes before going into the sun. It takes some time to absorb.

SPF expires

Check this little open jar symbol on your products. It indicates the number of months the product is good for use after being opened. The active ingredients in the product will become ineffective after it expires.

open jar

I cringe when I hear…

“I will be fine after I have a base tan.”

  • No, you’ll be a fried lobster and a wrinkly lobster in ten years. There is no such thing as a “base tan”.

“It’s cloudy, Caroline. Why are you putting SPF on?”

  • 70-80% of rays can get through the clouds.


Hope you guys found this helpful!




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.