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The Case for Sunscreen


In the world of aesthetics, filled with so many exciting products, treatments, gadgets, and general awesomeness, talking about sunscreen can feel like a real buzzkill. We all know the importance of sunscreen but do we really believe it? Like, wholeheartedly believe it... tell the truth.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a client tell me that sunscreen breaks them out, or they don’t like the way it feels, or they don’t like the way it looks under makeup, or they don’t think they need it, or 1000 other excuses. I get it. Growing up I literally looked like Casper the friendly ghost and I can’t count the number of times I had painful sunburns because I couldn’t be bothered to apply sunscreen (despite my mother reminding me ten million times before I left to go to a friend’s house where I could ruin my skin in peace). But we’re adults now, y’all. Adults that care about our skin. We care so much that we will peel it with acid, hit it with lasers, inject it with filler, buy all the products, and make major investments to look and feel our best. Our skin matters to us. And the number one most important thing we can do for our skin (for both health and beauty) is to protect it. Sunscreen is a non-negotiable. Period. End of blog.

Not really. There is a lot more.

We are not just talking about looks (although the aesthetic implications cannot be overstated). Sunscreen is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy body. Here are some facts from the Skin Cancer Foundation that will scare you straight to the sunscreen aisle.

  • An estimated 1 in 5 Americans will get skin cancer by the age of 70 (1).

  • More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined (2).

  • 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun (3).

  • Daily use of SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (the second most common form of skin cancer) by 40% (6) and reduces the risk of developing melanoma by 50% (7).

  • 1 person dies from melanoma every hour (2).

  • 86% of melanoma cases are caused by exposure to UV radiation from the sun (8).

  • On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than 5 sunburns (9).

Brutal facts right there. I especially cringe when reading that last one and remembering the poor blistered shoulders of my youth. Then I think about the poor sun damaged shoulders of my adulthood and I cringe some more. We can’t talk about sunburns and not talk about those aesthetic implications (we are SkinCrushers after all!). Here are some more facts from the Skin Cancer Foundation.

  • 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun (4).

  • People who use SPF 15 or higher sunscreen daily show 24% less skin aging than those that do not use sunscreen daily (5).

I am here for anything that helps to show less skin aging, especially by a whopping 24%! How about you? Are you ready to commit to official BFF status with an SPF? Maybe give your sunscreen one of those cute little best friend necklaces… or get matching tattoos... However you choose to express your affection, what matters is that you choose a sunscreen that you love and will enjoy wearing so that you always include it in your morning routine, rain or shine. Every. Single. Day.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends choosing a sunscreen that has three key features:

  • SPF 30

  • Broad spectrum

  • Water resistant

When it comes to choosing the right sunscreen for you there are many things to consider. It’s best to start with these three key features and not let yourself get overwhelmed by the amount of information and number of choices available. Remember, the right sunscreen for you is the one you will wear every single day. It really is as simple as that. Keep these things in mind and you can’t go wrong!

There are many, many, MANY exciting things to talk about in the world of aesthetics (and we are going to cover them all!) but first we are going to dive deep into sunscreen (that’s how important it is!). SPF is my BFF is a blog series that will include blogs exploring all things sunscreen. Future blogs will include details on the three key features, types of filters, ingredients, controversies, and the origin of SPF. It’s everything you need to know to make the right sunscreen choices for you!


1. Stern, RS. Prevalence of a history of skin cancer in 2007: results of an incidence-based model. Arch Dermatol 2010; 146(3):279-282. 2. Cancer Facts and Figures 2018. American Cancer Society. Accessed May 3, 2018. 3. Stern, RS. Prevalence of a history of skin cancer in 2007: results of an incidence-based model. Arch Dermatol 2010; 146(3):279-282. 4. The Lewin Group, Inc. The Burden of Skin Diseases 2005. Prepared for the Society for Investigative Dermatology, Cleveland, OH, and the American Academy of Dermatology Assn., Washington, DC, 2005. 5. Hughes MCB, Williams GM, Baker P, Green AC. Sunscreen and prevention of skin aging: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 2013; 158(11):781-790. 6. Green A, Williams G, Neale R, et al. Daily sunscreen application and betacarotene supplementation in prevention of basal-cell and squamous-cell carcinomas of the skin: a randomized controlled trial. The Lancet 1999; 354(9180):723-729. 7. Green AC, Williams GM, Logan V, Strutton GM. Reduced melanoma after regular sunscreen use: randomized trial follow-up. J Clin Oncol 2011; 29(3):257-263. 8. Parkin DM, Mesher D, Sasieni P. Cancers attributable to solar (ultraviolet) radiation exposure in the UK in 2010. Br J Cancer 2011; 105:S66-S69. 9. Pfahlberg A, Kölmel KF, Gefeller O. Timing of excessive ultraviolet radiation and melanoma: epidemiology does not support the existence of a critical period of high susceptibility to solar ultraviolet radiation-induced melanoma. Br J Dermatol 2001; 144:3:471-475.

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