Why This Is The Ultimate Anti-Aging Product

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Something I’ll never stop preaching is that sunscreen is the absolute best anti-aging product in the world. However, this is only true when it's worn correctly, which means daily application 365 days a year rain or shine, indoors or outdoors. This is essential if you truly want to stop the DNA damage that happens deep within the skin from UV light.

Because these rays DO penetrate through the windows, you’re not even protected in your home or office. As an aesthetician, I've been educating my clients about sunscreen for over two decades, because without it they won't get the long-term benefits from the skin procedures I’m doing on them.

I’ve also done my own independent research by asking them to show me exactly how they're applying sunscreen. One thing I've noticed: It's not being done correctly. While they are applying it to the face, they're simply not applying enough of it — and sunscreen is definitely not the product to skimp on.

After all, it’s not so much the number of the SPF (15, 30, 45) as it is how generously it’s applied. Here are my expert tips for proper SPF application to keep your skin protected and looking youthful.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Step 1: After cleansing and using toner and, ideally, an antioxidant serum with vitamin C, take a quarter-size amount of sunscreen and first apply it to the neck area. (If you’re wearing a bathrobe, you’ll want to remove it because the collar will interfere with proper application on the sides of the neck.)

Step 2:
Apply to the neck in upward strokes, starting in the front, then working sideways to the sides of the neck, all the way to the hairline in the back of your head. This will ensure that you're covering the area well.

Step 3:
Apply a dime-size amount to the chest area if you’re going to be wearing a V-neck shirt or any clothing that allows the chest to be exposed. Let dry.

Step 4: Next, apply a nickel-size amount to your fingertips, rub it together in your fingers, and, starting from the sides of the nose outwards to the ears, apply it generously. Then, apply to the forehead, nose, chin, and upper lip. You’ll want to make sure that you’re very thorough in your application by extending it all the way up and out to the hairline. If you need to apply more to ensure a thick coat on the face, be sure to do so.

Note: The reason why it's best for you spread the sunscreen in your fingers first, versus putting on dollops onto the face and then spreading, is simply that you’re more likely to get an even application.

Step 5:
Use whatever's leftover on your fingers and apply some to the tops of your ears and earlobes — especially necessary if you have a short pixie cut.
Step 6: Proceed with makeup, preferably a mineral-based one that will offer additional sun protection. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, look for lightweight formulas that don’t have a greasy feel, so you can apply generously without worrying about a breakout or clogging the pores.

Look for sunscreens that use micronized zinc oxide, as these are the most compatible with all skin tones, since they generally don’t leave a whitish cast. (Titanium dioxide sunscreens can be too light for medium and dark skin tones.)

If you follow these tips and you still get a sunburn or suntan when outdoors, it’s most likely because you didn’t reapply sun protection throughout the day, or you didn’t apply enough to the skin to fully provide the protection it needs.
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Preventing your skin from getting exposure to the sun is essentially about how generously you apply your sunscreen and how many times a day you are applying. Sunscreens wear off both from direct light and, surprisingly, from oils produced on the skin. Many skin professionals will say to reapply every two hours, but if you’re really serious about protecting your skin from the sun, every hour is best, and it's what I do. I'm not about to take any chances with my skin.

The above sunscreen guidelines apply even if you spend the majority of your day inside. But, to reapply, you dust an SPF-infused mineral powder over your makeup a few times throughout the day.

Start using sunscreen correctly today — your skin will definitely be better off for it.

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