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You guessed it: SPF. There are countless vitamins and acids in skincare that can help diminish the appearance of aging, but the most important step to take and maintain is sun protection, even when it’s cloudy or you won’t be out in the direct sun. As a quick science lesson, sunscreen has been proven to both reduce the risk of skin cancer, while also preventing photoaging, or damage caused by UV rays resulting in unpleasantries like fine lines and pigmentation.

SPF is particularly important when you do use heavy-hitting ingredients like Vitamin A and C or acids because you skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight, so although sun protection should always be a non-negotiable part of your skincare routine, you MUST use it when you use these ingredients. Your face and neck are the obvious places to apply SPF (there, and the rest of your body..), but don’t forget the tops of your hands! Your hands are exposed to harmful rays more often than you might realize, like when you’re driving, and are often one of the first places to show aging because they are commonly forgotten when applying sun protection.

SPF comes in all shapes and sizes, but the most important thing to look for (aside from a clean formulation) is ‘Broad Spectrum’ to shield your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. I have used many a SPF, and have a few favorites. I have talked about the Tatcha Pore Perfecting Sunscreen several times, most recently in my clean skincare blog post, because it’s a gorgeous SPF. It also works as a primer, so makeup applies beautifully over it. Another great SPF is the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen, which is easier on the wallet, but still very effective broad spectrum sun protection. Often my foundation also has SPF, meaning I have 2 levels of sun protection, but I will always apply sun protection as part of my skincare routine.

For the lips, Supergoop! makes a Mint SPF 30 lip balm that’s as cooling as it is protective, which makes for a nice product for those hot summer days. For the body, I have always been and always will be a fan of Sun Bum. And there are even steps you can take to protect your hair and scalp, like Aveda’s Protective Hair Veil that shields your ‘do from UVA and UVB rays.

There you have it! Every inch of your body is covered from the sun. If you have been looking for a new step to add to your skincare routine, or are feeling ambitious by setting some new goals for yourself in this new world we find ourselves in, make regular SPF use one of them!

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