‘Should I wear sunscreen every day?’ Absolutely, says a dermatologist

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Globally, the skincare market was valued at $146.7 billion in 2021, according to Allied Market Research. That number is expected to nearly double by 2031 to $273.3 billion.

When it comes to skincare, the list of products that you use every day can either be lengthy or boiled down to a simple three-step process, depending on what works for your skin. And let’s face it, skincare products aren’t always the most affordable.

But there is one skincare product that Hamdan Abdullah Hamed, a board-certified dermatologist, thinks everyone should invest in and use daily for optimal skin health.

No. 1 skincare product you should use every single day: Sunscreen

“I think considering its benefits, sunscreen lands on top,” Abdullah Hamed says. “It should always be used by any skin type of all ages.”

Sunscreen is vital for skin health because it protects your skin from sun exposure, according to Abdullah Hamed. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can “cause sunburn, premature aging, and even [increase] skin cancer risk,” he notes.

And the potential for UV rays to penetrate layers of your skin isn’t just limited to a sunny day at the beach; the danger is still present even on cloudy days, he says, which is why you should use sunscreen every day, no matter the weather.

Some additional skin health benefits of using sunscreen daily, according to Abdullah Hamed, include:

  • Prevention of hyperpigmentation, sun spots and melasma, which are brown patches on a person’s face
  • Maintenance of an even skin tone
  • Reduction in the risk of developing long-term skin damage

For anti-aging purposes, using sunscreen daily helps you avoid drying out your skin and negatively affecting skin cells that can alter the appearance of your skin and indicate premature aging, he notes.

“Extreme sun exposure will cause the skin to become less elastic, turning it into a leathery texture. Once it becomes dry, you will look older than your age,” Abdullah Hamed says. Too much “sun exposure depletes collagen, which is responsible for maintaining the skin’s smooth texture.”

Not using sunscreen can also “make you prone to turning existing scars into darker ones, making them more visible” and “worsen issues of blistering and peeling, which can become scarred if not addressed,” he says.

‘When should I apply sunscreen?’

Now that you know just how important sunscreen actually is, you may be wondering when, and how often, you should be using it.

“You should apply sunscreen evenly on all exposed areas about 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure,” according to Abdullah Hamed. “During sunny days, or during the day, reapply it every two hours.”

He also suggests applying sunscreen more frequently if you’re sweating a lot or in between laps in the pool “to maintain its effectiveness.”

Additionally, even if your makeup has SPF in it, Abdullah Hamed encourages you to put on a layer of your normal sunscreen under your makeup, especially on days that you’ll be in the sun for longer periods of time.

‘What makes a good sunscreen?’

When shopping for a great sunscreen, keep in mind the qualities that an effective sunscreen should have.

Above all else, your sunscreen should be effective for protection against both UVA, ultraviolet A, and UVB, ultraviolet B, radiation, Abdullah Hamed says.

“You should also choose a sunscreen that is compatible with your skin. If you have oily skin, choose ones that are safer and are oil-free. Oily sunscreen will only add to your clogged pores and may even cause skin complications such as acne,” he says.

Remember that sunscreens have different levels of protection against UV rays depending on the SPF. “SPF 20 can prevent 97% of sun’s harmful rays and SPF 50 can prevent 98% of harmful rays.”

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