We protect our skin from sun damage by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Sunscreens are chemical agents that help prevent the suns ultraviolet rays from reaching the skin. The term broad-spectrum means that the sunscreen protects us from both UVB and UVA rays. Many cosmetic companies have products that claim to have anti-aging benefits. The truth however is that the best defense against wrinkles is a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, be it in your moisturizer or foundation.

Daily application of sunscreen prevents new wrinkles from forming or existing ones from deepening. The basics to look for are a product rated SPF 15 or higher, and containing one of these ingredients listed as active to ensure adequate protection from UVA rays: avobenzone (also known as Parsol 1789 or butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane), titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide. The best sunscreen is one that not only protects you from the sun but also prevent damage to the skin. So look for a sunscreen that is loaded with anti-oxidants

Sunscreens absorb reflects or scatters UV light. There are 2 types:

  • Inorganic or “physical” sunscreens form a film that reflects or scatters UV light before it penetrates the skin. These sunscreens include zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  • Organic or “chemical” sunscreens absorb UV rays before they can cause damage. Examples include avobenzone and oxybenzone, which protect against both UVB and UVA rays.

Sunscreen should be applied liberally. Apply a thin even coat approximately one teaspoon to all exposed areas of your body, paying particular attention to the face, neck, ears, arms, upper chest and legs. Let the sunscreen soak into the skin and dab the excess amount with tissue.

Sunscreen also comes in the form of moisturizers, eye creams, foundations and lip balms. If you decide to use a foundation be sure to also use a sunscreen. This is because make up does not provide enough coverage. You would have to use at least seven times the normally used amount of foundation to get the recommended Sun Protection Factor. Use an eye cream with at least SPF 15 for the delicate area around your eyes. Do not forget to protect your lips against the sun.

So what is the order of applying all the products that we use on a daily basis. Always be sure to apply the products on a clean face. Apply the moisturizer first, assuming of course that it does not contain a sunscreen. Next apply a sunscreen. If your moisturizer already contains a sunscreen, then skip this step. It’s important to note that a moisturizer for example with an SPF of 30 is just as good as a sunscreen with an SPF of 30.. The advantage of using a moisturizer with SPF is that it does double duty – moisturizes as well as protects from the sun.

Finally apply foundation, powder and blush. Choose a foundation with an SPF of between 8 and 15. It does not hurt to add another layer of protection against the sun because most people do not apply enough sunscreen to protect them or even if they do, it’s applied unevenly.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, when applying powder use the compressed variety, and apply with a sponge. The benefits of powder are twofold. The tiny pigmented talc particles it contains provide a certain amount of protection on their own, and applying a layer of powder will help both your sunscreen and your moisturizer to stay put through the day.

As mentioned earlier in the article lips need to be protected. Lips are susceptible to sunburn as they lack melanin, the pigment that helps shield skin from the sun. A colorless lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher will do the job. If you like to use lipstick, use an opaque lipstick and top it off with a gloss for shine. Lipsticks that are glossy with little pigmentation act like baby oil for the lips, directing damaging UV rays right to the area you’re trying to protect. An opaque lipstick will provide better protection.

Caution: If you are going to be in the sun for a long time, then use a sunscreen with a higher SPF and reapply it after every two hours.

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Prisca Mwangi is a Beauty Consultant at The Color Palette Company. She can be reached at