Jul 10, 2019

Sunscreen info you need to know, from an Esthetician.

What is the difference between Sunblock and Sunscreen? How much SPF Rating do I need? How long will my sunscreen protect my skin when I’m swimming? If you have these questions, then stick around to learn sunscreen info you need to know from an Esthetician, me!

Sunblocks vs. Sunscreens

Sunblocks reflect the sun’s rays from the skin, blocking the rays from penetrating the skin. They use titanium oxide or zinc oxide as the active ingredient. These are called physical sunblocks.

Sunscreens use a variety of cosmetic chemicals that work to absorb harmful UV rays before they penetrate your skin. They filter or screen the sun’s UV rays to keep most rays out, but let some rays in.

Most people use the words interchangeably, but they are two different things.

Suntan lotion is usually less than SPF 15, and would promote sun tanning, not fully protecting your skin.

SPF Rating

Sun Protection Factor is a measure of how much solor energy (UV radiation) is required to produce a sunburn on protected skin (for example in the presence of sunscreen) relative to the amount of solar energy required to produce sunburn on unprotected skin. As the SPF value increases, the sunburn protection increases.

The SPF Rating is not = to how long you can stay in the sun. There is a popular misconception that SPF relates to time of solar exposure. Many people believe that if they get a sunburn in one hour, that an SPF 15 would protect them 15 times longer, so 15 hours. But that’s just not the way it works. Sunscreen is only effective for 2 hours at best. Experts say just 40 minutes if you are swimming.


UVA means Ultraviolet Aging Rays and UVB means Ultraviolet Burning Rays.

UV radiation: Ultraviolet radiation. Invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun, can burn the skin, and cause skin cancer. … UVA is weaker than UVB but passes further into the skin than UVB. It is now generally accepted that both UVA and UVB cause skin cancer, including melanoma. (This information is from medicinenet.com)

When a product offers both UVA & UVB protection, then it’s called broad spectrum.

How much does your SPF protect you from burning?

15 blocks about 93% of UVB exposure

30 blocks about 97% of UVB exposure

45+ blocks about 98% of UVB exposure

50 blocks about 99% UVB exposure

Once you get past SPF 30, the amount of protection pretty much levels out. Anything over 50 is just a sales gimmick in my opinion.

UVA rays are the “aging” rays and penetrate deeper, are more damaging rays and are responsible for premature aging, wrinkles and can cause melanoma. They also damage collagen and elastin tissue and are considered the dominant tanning rays. This is why they are used in tanning beds.

So what can you use that will protect your skin from both UVA & UVB rays?

Zinc Oxide provide broad spectrum protection from UVA & UVB and it also is natural. Allergic reactions are almost unheard of with Zinc Oxide.

Common Sense Sun Tips – Sunscreen Info You Need To Know!

  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure between 10-4.
  • No matter the SPF rating, your sunblock should be re-applied every 2 hours or even more often if you’ve been swimming, sweating or towel drying.
  • The approximate amount of sunscreen you should apply to the adult body is 1 oz. Yep, that’s a lot. Most people are not applying nearly enough to get the SPF rating on the bottle.
  • Sun protection should also be applied 15-20 minutes before exposure.
  • Skincare companies can no longer claim waterproof. Nothing is truly waterproof, so you will see the term water resistant. YOU HAVE TO RE-APPLY!

More Sunscreen Info You Need To Know.

  • Always, always, always seek out shade when possible. An umbrella, covered area, tent, shade tree, or just a wide brim hat can offer lots of relief from the heat and sun rays.
  • Apply sunblock then wait 60 seconds before applying cosmetics like foundation, concealer and powders.
  • Don’t be fooled by clouds, 80% of sun rays can pass through clouds.
  • Don’t forget eye and lip protection. I always wear sunglasses and lip balm with SPF to protect my lips. Even lipstick can help keep lips moisturized and protected while your at the beach or on the lake.
  • Protective clothing is a must for long days outdoors. Rash guard shirts for our kids keep the areas that need sunblock to a minimum. They are a must for our kiddos!

What the FDA has to say:

November 2019, the FDA will release their updated list of safe and effective, over-the-counter sunscreens. There is much speculation that zinc oxide and titanium oxide are the only ones that will make the cut. We shall see… The specific ingredients commonly used in the US that have been considered generally safe and effective, but are under review are:

  • ensulizole
  • octisalate
  • homosalate
  • octocrylene
  • octinoxate
  • oxybenzone
  • avobenzone

Micronized vs. Nano

When sunscreens are made with nano particles, they turn clear. Which is what the average consumer wants. But there is much debate about the safety of nano particles and if they are damaging to the body when absorbed.

Micronized particles will not penetrate the skin, therefore are are considered a safer, less controversial option.

Aerosol vs. Liquid SPF

No SPF ingredients should be inhaled. If you must use these aerosol sprays, please please please just make sure you or your babies are not breathing in the mist. Plus this stuff is terrible to wash off. I know from personal experience. I used it years ago and always felt like I was not clean after a shower. It often leaves a tacky film on the body. Just gross.

Practice safe sun friends!

What makes me a skin care expert?

11 years as a licensed Skin Therapist (Esthetician).

Annual continuing education and licensing renewal with my state’s Department of Cosmetic Arts keeps me up to date.

This is a subject I study on a regular basis. All information is a collection of my licensing education, skin journals and articles I have read, as well as continuing education hours. I am passionate about helping people have healthy skin that they are confident in.

I am not a doctor and I do not diagnose or treat illness. This information is not a substitute for medical care or advice.


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Sunscreen info you need to know, from an Esthetician.


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2 thoughts on “Sunscreen info you need to know, from an Esthetician.

  1. Thank you for sharing .Great stuff . If you want to use my “nose/face” post basil cell surgery as a consequence of not wearing sunscreen protection as child/teen as an example I have a pic for you .

    1. I have had too many clients have skin cancer. They just baked themselves as kids, not knowing any better, then have very invasive surgery to remove the cancerous cells.

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