When asking, “what is the most important step in a skincare routine,” you’ll likely get a different answer from each person you ask. But if you ask any Cole’s Salon esthetician (a.k.a. skincare experts), we will always give you the correct answer: “SPF!”
We also agree that twice-daily face cleansing is a must, as is a serum for skin transformation and a moisturizer for balance. But if you don’t have an SPF, you have bigger things to worry about!
Countless studies document the harmful effects of sun and UV ray exposure, not to mention the shocking anecdotes from individuals, like this truck driver who never wore SPF, or this video on ‘How the Sun Sees You.’ With so much evidence, I am surprised there isn’t a mandatory lesson in health classes that covers SPF and the importance of protecting the largest organ in our body.
With years of education and practice, estheticians like me and my colleagues agree that the general rule of thumb is if there’s any light anywhere, at any time of day, you need a daily SPF. So consider this your crash course on SPF!
What are UV Rays?
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are a type of radiation naturally and technologically found in our environment, although most commonly the sun. It damages our skin barrier and can speed up the rate of aging. Many signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots, we can attribute to UV ray exposure. The sun emits two kinds of UV rays: UVB and UVA. UVB rays are the rays we tend to be most familiar with and leave us with a pink or red burn that peels away. While the more burns we have in a lifetime can raise our risk for skin cancers later on, the burn itself is the most damage this kind of ray is capable of, and often only affects us in warmer environments and seasons.
Where am I exposed to UV Rays?
In short: Everywhere. Because, unlike UVB rays, UVA rays are much more dangerous and much more pervasive. These are the rays that age us and damage our skin in other ways, like weakening our skin and limiting its barrier function. Surprisingly to most people, the UV rays in our environment don’t just come from the sun. They are found in the blue light within our TVs, our phones, our computers, and every screen and light found within our home. The best way to protect ourselves? Always, always, always wear an SPF! No matter the season, the time of day, your activity, or your geography!
How can I protect myself from UV rays?
Thankfully, there are quite a few options to choose from!
- IMAGE Skincare has a full line of SPF products that cater to every preference and skin type. From hydrating to matte, daily wear and vacation wear, even tinted serums and primers for more of a makeup look.
- Jane Iredale makeup also makes it easy to pair with your daily sunscreen for reapplication throughout the day with tinted powders and serums to layer on the protection.
At Cole’s, we believe that it’s not just about finding any SPF, but finding the best one for you. One that you will use and reapply throughout your day!
As an esthetician, I am incredibly passionate about UV education and SPF protection. I believe it to be central to skincare knowledge and overall health, and it’s my responsibility to help my clients keep their skin healthy for years to come. My colleagues feel the same, so come see us soon to learn more!
Wesleigh D. is a senior esthetician at our Burnsville location. Follow her on Instagram @museonfleek.