Wearing sunscreen is one of the best – and easiest – ways to protect the appearance and health of your skin at any age. When used regularly, sunscreen prevents sunburn, skin cancer and premature aging.
We all know how important it is to put on sunscreen before going outdoors. But did you know that it’s just as important – if not more so – to apply SPF even when you’re indoors? Or that you really should reapply every two hours?
Since the clear rules for UV protection are often unclear, we turned to dermatologists to find out what’s behind sun protection, when to apply it, and for how long.
Should I wear sunscreen at night?
We all know that sunscreen is the best anti-aging cream to start with. It protects your skin from UV rays that accelerate skin aging, and it protects the skin from producing too much melanin, which shows up in the form of pigmentation.
We also know that you should use sunscreen even in winter or indoors. Those pesky UV rays are everywhere! But what about at night? Do we need to use sunscreen at night?
I’ve been looking around for answers, and there is a small group of people who think you should use sunscreen at night too because of the UV rays coming from our lights, TV, or even computer screens.
Yes, the one you’re staring at right now. But that’s a very small minority. But their radiation is NOTHING compared to the radiation of the sun. It is so minimal that it does not really cause problems.
The majority believes that we don’t need sunscreen at night because: –
- UV radiation at night is negligible compared to the daytime
- Our skin needs to rest and rejuvenate and sunscreen can clog pores or dry them out too much
Personally, I don’t use sunscreen at night because it’s “sun” protection, right? And there is no “sun” at night 😛 So I use creams without SPF at night.
You don’t need to wear sunscreen at night. But let’s say you’re a paranoid type who wants to do it anyway. Will it harm your skin?
Some experts believe that wearing sunscreen at night is a recipe for pimples. They say that sunscreen clogs pores, so you need to take it off before bed.
There’s some truth to this. If you apply too much sunscreen, it will clog your pores. But if you remove it at the end of the evening and then apply a new layer, you’ll be safe.
Unless you have breakout-prone skin and use a sunscreen with comedogenic ingredients. Whether you wear it during the day or at night, you’re going to get the zits anyway.
There’s an even more serious reason why you shouldn’t apply your sunscreen at night. Your wallet.
Sunscreens are expensive. If you put it on when you don’t need it, it’s a waste. You’re throwing your money out the window.
Do You Need to Wash Your Sunscreen Off at Night?
Even if your sunscreen is no longer effective, be sure to wash your face before bed. Even if the active ingredients in your sunscreen are no longer as active, there is probably still sunscreen on your face. So at the end of the night, you still need to wash your face.
Cleanse and tone
Leftover sunscreen isn’t the only reason you should wash your face at night. Regardless of what products you used during the day, you should cleanse and tone your face to remove dirt, debris, and oil (and makeup, if you’re wearing any). This not only helps prevent clogged pores, but also prepares your skin for the active ingredients, such as glycolic acid. However, if you like the hydration you get from the moisturizer and sunscreen combination, you can also use it at night.
The sunscreen will only last a few hours, but the residue, along with dirt and debris, will need to be removed at the end of the day.
The Magic SPF Number is 30.
“The American Academy of Dermatology always recommends an SPF of 30 because it has been clinically proven to be sufficient to reduce or minimize the harmful effects of sunlight,” says David Colbert, a dermatologist practicing in New York City.
Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, adds that when used properly, there is little difference between a sunscreen with SPF 30 and one with higher protection.
“In the real world, however, we don’t apply and reapply sunscreen as much as we should,” Zeichner says. “Ultimately, that means the SPF value is diluted. Starting with a higher SPF serves as a safety net to ensure the highest quality protection for the longest period of time.”
Summarily, you could use a better night cream at night to repair the skin.
Regular sunscreen is a no no. A moisturizer with SPF is not bad if you use nothing else at the time, but it is more for protection and hydration – rather than a night cream with hydration and more useful properties.
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