Growing up in Florida, skin-health and sun-health were always apart of the school curriculum.
Pamphlets filled with photos of sun spots and moles that you'd definitely not want to look at twice were constantly thrown into our hands to be taken home, and read over carefully before making a trip to the local supermarket or drugstore to pick up sunscreen in BULK.
Although, as a young girl, I was traumatized for a good week or so about developing a weird growth, I still often found myself with a swollen forehead, red-tinged cheeks so tender to the touch and a nose that would more than often feel tight just to end up peeling.
None of that sounds appealing—and no my parents weren't (completely) oblivious to my Saturday beach days or after school hangouts in the sun—BUT it's clear I, nor did anyone else besides Jennifer Garners kids (idk why but I have some campaign with her and sun safety deeply ingrained in my mind), care about a sun burn here or there. In fact, a nice little tan was highly highly sought after.
Now, as I've gotten older, I've realized it's better just to turn to the evening spray tan or tan towel than lay out in the sun all day to achieve a healthy glow. However, I often forget that just because I'm not at the beach, doesn't mean I automatically don't need sunscreen. In fact, as long as I'm outside, or even by a window that's getting some light in, I should most definitely be wearing some sort of spf.
If you don't believe me, check out the answer to the question, 'When Should I Use Sunscreen?' from the AAD (aka American Academy of Dermatology):
"Every day if you will be outside. The sun emits harmful UV rays year-round. Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin. Snow, sand, and water increase the need for sunscreen because they reflect the sun’s rays."
Sunscreen is seriously one of the most forgotten, yet crucial steps in ones skincare routine. While the effects of this forgotten step aren’t as noticeable at first, in a few years-time, pre-mature wrinkles, permanent sun spots, and potentially cancerous patches could very well become an irreversible reality. I don’t mean to sound gloom, or like the queen of your ever-impending anxiety as you read this, but sunscreen—as you’ll start to understand—is important!
I think my reluctance to sunscreen has fully centered around the sticky, goopy + gloppy nature of it all. I still have uncomfortable memories of it getting splotched onto me at the beach and then having a white residue mixed with grains of sand that covered my legs and arms like glitter to glue. Though of course we’ve had upgrades with our sunscreen—spray and all—when it comes to my face, I’ve just always had nervous thoughts of an impending acne breakout riddled across my chin and cheeks.
To make up for this fear, I’ve always chosen to reach for bb creams or foundations that have some sort of SPF. While it’s true that it's better than nothing, it's still a pretty half-ass step when it comes to protecting your skin—especially on days when I don't even wear a foundation or bb cream some days.
As we're all big kids now, there's no reason why you shouldn't have a tried and true sunscreen in your skincare arsenal. To help ease you into things, I've rounded up some highly recommended sunscreens for you to peruse and purchase (your skin will thank you)!
Huge thanks to everyone who sent in their recommendations ☺︎
If you didn't get a chance to submit, let me know what sunscreen you love!
Happy Summer 👋🏼
Illustration is by the amazing Raúl Soria