If you’ve read anything by an esthetician or dermatologist, chances are sunscreen will appear somewhere in the article. Sorry, this won’t be different. Everyone should use sunscreen, every day, every season. UVA rays that cause premature aging penetrate through clouds and windows and can interfere with the skin’s ability to maintain proper moisture levels even in the winter. As our depleted ozone offers a bizarre fluctuation between winter and spring, here are five general tips for maintaining proper sun care all year round.

1 – Sunscreen must be applied every day, usually every two hours. A common misconception is that once its applied, you’re done for the day. While reapplication is important, we all understand that it’s not always practical. Luckily, there are formulas that make reapplication easy; mineral powder, setting sprays that include sun protection and the ‘Gram’s favorite, Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield.

2 – Sunscreen must be applied GENEROUSLY. Most of us don’t use enough sunscreen. Think a quarter size for your face or a shot glass for your most exposed areas of your body depending on the size of your body of course. Generally, you want to ensure an even coat.

3 – You should be using an SPF or at least 30, although protection is not all about the SPF number. Although SPF 30 is the preferred level of protection, it only offers 4% more protection that SPF 15. As that SPF number get higher (SPF 55, 70, 100, 500) that percentage goes down, but your skin is also being exposed to a lot more chemicals that can potentially cause a negative reaction, ie. breakouts. Don’t go for the gimmick SPF 100s. Stick with SPF 30 and reapply per the manufacturers recommendations.

4 – Even if you aren’t spending a ton of time outdoors, certain UV rays are not blocked by windows. So just sitting in the office or walking to your car, you should have some sun protection on. A nice moisturizer with SPF 30 will do for these light days.

5 – Look for “Broad Spectrum” on the label and ingredients like Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide. Broad Spectrum will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays while zinc oxide and titanium dioxide have both been found to be less irritating to the skin. Especially for those prone to sensitivity or breakouts.

I want to make a note here, that this post in no way encourages heliophobia or the pursuit of a vitamin D deficiency. If either is an issue, definitely speak to your physician. The general rule here is to stay informed and protected. As we move from winter, to three days of spring, and on to summer, we all need sunscreen, every day. As most of us are recovering from winter dryness, remember to stay vigilant about sun protection… and don’t forget your neck!

Nia is a licensed esthetician, creator of @SkinByNia and the Skincare Editor of 1938. When she isn’t performing services, or researching and buying all things skin, she works in construction. Really.

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