Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed a new emphasis on sun care. Gone are the days of Jersey Shore tanning beds, and Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil with a -4 SPF. Amongst some of their more questionable revolutions, Self Care seems to be one of the more merit-based trends millennials have pushed into the mainstream- and with good reason. It only takes one glance at tanning addicted boomer skin to thwart any craving for UVA or UVB rays, and with more than 90% of skin cancers caused by sun exposure, perhaps it’s time to start acquiescing to this self-care trend. Here is your guide to navigating this bright new world of sunscreen obsession taking over the world. (And Tik Tok)
According to the FDA, “SPF is a measure of how much solar energy (UV radiation) is required to produce sunburn on protected skin (i.e., in the presence of sunscreen) relative to the amount of solar power required to produce sunburn on unprotected skin. As the SPF value increases, sunburn protection increases.
There is a popular misconception that SPF relates to time of solar exposure. For example, many consumers believe that, if they normally get sunburn in one hour, then an SPF 15 sunscreen allows them to stay in the sun 15 hours (i.e., 15 times longer) without getting sunburn. This is not true because SPF is not directly related to time of solar exposure but to amount of solar exposure. Although solar energy amount is related to solar exposure time, there are other factors that impact the amount of solar energy. For example, the intensity of the solar energy impacts the amount. The following exposures may result in the same amount of solar energy:
- one hour at 9:00 a.m.
- 15 minutes at 1:00 p.m. Generally, it takes less time to be exposed to the same amount of solar energy at midday compared to early morning or late evening because the sun is more intense at midday relative to the other times. Solar intensity is also related to geographic location, with greater solar intensity occurring at lower latitudes. Because clouds absorb solar energy, solar intensity is generally greater on clear days than cloudy days.”
Other factors and variables like melanin content and application frequency also affect the level of exposure. As a general rule of thumb, applying two finger lengths worth of sunscreen yields about the suggested 1/4 teaspoon amount to supply ample face coverage or three-finger lengths to yield the recommended 1/3-1/2 teaspoon amount to cover the face and neck.
The consensus amongst medical experts is a minimum Broad Spectrum SPF of 30, but an SPF of 50 or above is ideal. The protection factor between an SPF 50 and SPF 100 is trivial and usually not worth the increased white cast if you’re in the market for a Moi real biased sunscreen.
Outside of the US, you’ll find the PA+ rating system. According to Paula’s Choice, ‘the letters “PA” followed by plus signs (PA+, PA++, PA+++, and PA++++) on a label are a rating system developed in Japan to represent how much UVA protection the product offers.”
Mineral, ‘Physical,’ or Inorganic sunscreens contain a group of mineral oxides such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. This family of sunscreens works by reflecting and scattering UV rays away from the skin. However, a deeper science dive will reveal they work more like Chemical filters, which absorb the UV rays into your skin and convert them into heat.
Physical sunscreens are less cosmetically elegant, and most will give you that dreaded white cast. Although the technology and development have come a long way- inspired by the millennial obsession for sun protection- even the tinted versions or products containing ‘universal’ masking tints may not bode well on every skin tone- especially those with a Fitzpatrick of 3 and higher. If you have sensitive skin, though- you may want to opt for a Mineral-based formula.
If you’re choosing a chemical formula, try exploring the European and Asian sunscreens that employ more sophisticated filters not yet approved by our antiquated FDA regulations. Most of these formulas are very cosmetically elegant and impart no white cast whatsoever.
Circadian Light Day Sunscreen SPF 37
Luckily for you, Mahana Spa at Tahiti Village offers one of the hardest to find niche brands of mineral sunscreens that has garnered a bit of beauty editor and die-hard enthusiast notoriety. The Circadian Light Day Sunscreen SPF 37 offers optimal broad-spectrum protection with a little white cast on most skin types. It works great under makeup as a primer and won’t pill either. The formula plays well with multiple-step skincare routines. Ask our concierge for more information, or visit the Mahana Spa in Tower 5 to snag your bottle.
ISNTREE Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF 50+ PA++++
Utilizing the most comprehensive and cutting edge organic chemical filters mostly unavailable in US sunscreens like Octisalate, Homosalate, Tinosorb S, Tinosorb M, and Univul A Plus, and marrying them with eight molecular weights of Hyaluronic Acid (another blog another time), Isntree created one of the most virally beloved sunscreens to date. Like most Korean products, this K Beauty brand offers state-of-the-art cosmetic elegance and sun protection factor at affordable pricing that puts most overpriced US formulas to shame. It works great on all skin types and leaves zero cast. Also great because it doesn’t sting the eyes for most.
SUPERGOOP Glowscreen SPF 40
The brand claims this “multitasking sunscreen gives skin an instant glow-up — and now it comes in two radiant shades! Formulated with hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 to hydrate and perfect, this cult beauty fave creates a dewy, glowy base without any visible glitz or glitter. Wear on its own, or layer under makeup as a primer to give skin a naturally supple, lit-from-within look. Choose our OG shade (Sunrise) for a champagne, pearlescent glow, or our all-new shade (Golden Hour) for a bronzed, sunkissed glow!” And if that isn’t convincing enough, it’s one of the most highly rated and vlogged US sunscreens garnering a heaping cult following for the luminescent, healthy sun-kissed glow it imparts.