Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Essential Skincare Ingredient: SPF

Hey guys! Today I decided to do another essential skin care ingredient post. You may have read my posts on antioxidants and peptides, and while those are very important ingredients, today's ingredient is definitely the MOST important of all. Yep, that's right, it's SPF. I really hope you're using some sort of SPF in your everyday skincare regime, it is beyond necessary to prevent premature aging and wrinkles. 

The Hard Truth 

Let me break it down: the sun emits UVA and UVB rays. These are very damaging for your skin because they break down the collagen and elastin in your skin, and because production of these two ingredients decreases as you age, you need all the collagen and elastin you have! These two ingredients are what keep your skin smooth and wrinkle-free, as they directly affect your skin's ability to bounce back after being stretched. In addition to premature wrinkles, sun rays can also lead to brown spots, dullness, and, worst of all, skin cancer. 

What Can You Do?

Generally you should be using an SPF of at least 15 every day, and an SPF 30 when you plan on being outside for prolonged periods of time. No, SPF in makeup is not enough. Even if it says SPF 15, you would need to apply about a nickle-sized amount to get that level of protection which you probably aren't doing with foundation (although it's a good boost of protection). Look for "broad-spectrum" sunscreens since these protect against both UVB and UVA rays. Don't think you're safe because you spend all day in an office either; you get plenty of rays driving to and from work, and UVA rays can penetrate through glass windows. Also just because it's cloudy outside doesn't mean you can skimp on the SPF; as long it's light outside, the sun's rays are there. 

Types of Sunscreen

Sunscreen can be classified into two types: chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens work by penetrating into your skin and absorbing sun rays, while physical (or mineral) reflects sun rays off of the skin. Some typical chemical sunscreens are oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. There has been some negative feed back about chemical sunscreens (read an article by Dr. Oz here) mainly relating to how they can cause hormone disruption. Basically, when these chemicals are exposed to sunlight they can break down and mimic hormones in our bodies. Typically combinations of more than one are necessary to stabilize each other. 

Because of that downside I usually try to stick with physical sunscreens. The two main types of physical sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These two are great because they do not penetrate the skin and remain stable in the sunlight. Historically they've gotten a bad rep because they used to be really chalky in texture and leave a white cast, however with all the new formulations those worries are a thing of the past (for the most part). Make sure your physical sunscreen does not say nanoparticles on it; these are basically versions of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that have been micronized into tiny particles finer than powder. There are concerns that these nanoparticles can cause damage to your organs if absorbed into your skin. However, as long as it's non-nano it will be too big to be absorbed into your skin and will be safe. 

My Picks

Philosophy Hope in a Jar Oil-Free Moisturizer

I usually wear a moisturizer with SPF in it on most days just because it's most convenient. I just finished up my Andalou Naturals Beauty Balm that I hauled here; I LOVED it by the way. It is basically the perfect moisturizer with SPF; it had the perfect texture, physical sunscreen, antioxidants, all natural ingredients, and it absorbed like a dream. I will definitely buy it again. However, right now I am currently using the Philosophy Hope Oil-Free Moisturizer with SPF 30. 

I know I just finished telling you about how bad chemical sunscreen is, but this moisturizer actually has a combination of physical and chemical sunscreen. Specifically, it has octinoxate, octisalate, oxybenzone, and zinc oxide. To be honest, I probably would not have bought this if I had known that it had oxybenzone or octionxate, as those have been proven to have higher toxicity concerns. Oxybenzone is a particularly troublesome chemical sunscreen because it can actually increase the production of harmful free radicals in your skin. However, it was a gift from my mom and a pricey one at that, so I am determined to finish this moisturizer. Besides, in the studies where harmful effects were found they use really high concentrations that are generally not seen in the formulations used in skin care products. 

If you don't mind about the possible side effects of the chemical sunscreens then I think this is definitely a great daily moisturizer with SPF. It is oil-free and lightweight, so it absorbs quickly and dries to a matte finish. In addition it is enriched with antioxidants to help your skin battle damaging free radicals. To name a few, it has beta glucan  blackberry leaf extract, green tea extract, and Vitamin E, which are all very strong antioxidants. I like to think that even if the Oxybenzone is slacking a little bit, these antioxidants are picking up the slack!

Clinique City Block Sheer Oil-Free Daily Face Protector

This is another new addition to my skincare routine that I am currently LOVING! If you want an easy, really efficient way to get your daily SPF, this is it. The Clinique City Block Sheer Oil-Free Daily Face Protector is basically a primer that has SPF in it, so you can wear regular moisturizer without SPF and then layer this on top to get SPF protection as well as prime your skin for makeup. It is very sheer and lightweight, and in addition to prepping your skin for makeup it also helps absorbs excess oil and perspiration to keep your makeup looking fresh all day. The best part? It has physical SPF in the form of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. In addition to all that, it is also, you guessed it, antioxidant-enriched! Yes I'm obsessed. 

Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunscreen

In addition to protecting your face, you always want to make sure you are putting SPF on any other parts of your body that are exposed, such as your neck and chest area, arms, and hands. For that I've been using the Alba Botanica Very Emollient Mineral Sunscreen lately. This is such an important step because as you are driving to and from work you hands are just drinking up all that sun and guess what is one of the first places to show signs of aging? Yep, hands. In addition, half of your face is always facing the window which can really age you if you're not being careful: Exhibit A. Necks are another area that are usually neglected, and you definitely don't want to have a youthful face but wrinkled neck.

I like this sunscreen; it has physical sunscreen in the form of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. In addition it has Sunflower Seed Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil and Aloe Vera to soften and moisturize your skin, as well as antioxidants Grape Seed Oil and Vitamin E for a boost of protection. It is pretty lightweight although it can take a bit of rubbing to for it to absorb fully. Definitely check it out! 

Yes to Blueberries Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30

Lastly I just wanted to pop in this little review, although this is NOT one of my picks. I bought this Yes To Blueberries Daily Facial Moisturizer a while ago while I was looking for a good moisturizer with SPF. I thought that this would be a great option due to the fact that it has all-natural ingredients and physical sunscreen. However, this moisturizer is the epitome of everything that is wrong with physical sunscreen. Do not buy it! It is literally so chalky and leaves your face with the grossest white cast. It is so thick and you literally have to rub for ages to spread it around. It does not absorb well and leaves your face sticky and gross. Also it just smells like sunscreen. Not the most refreshing moisturizer to use in the morning. I literally tried it once and decided it was not for me. Now I just use it to put SPF on my face before I go for a run in the afternoons. It works decently for that because I don't care about the white cast or gross feeling on my face. 

Alright guys, I hope you've enjoyed this little SPF breakdown and that I've given you some good ideas for sunscreens to try! Please let me know in the comments what your favorite moisturizers with SPF are, I'm always on the lookout for a new one!

xoxo Patricia

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I just moved to Cali and needed some good sunscreen recommendations :-)