July 20, 2023

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REFERENCE LAB

The Science of Sunscreen: Understanding the Optimal Amount for Facial Sun Protection
Sunlight is essential for your well-being. From the production of bone-strengthening Vitamin D to boosting the immune system, sunlight plays a vital role in keeping you healthy. But sunlight also has a dark side. Prolonged and unprotected sun exposure can lead to premature skin aging and, perhaps even more concerning, skin cancer. The good news is you can shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays by utilizing the science of sunscreen.

_LEARN

/

REFERENCE LAB

July 20, 2023

The Science of Sunscreen: Understanding the Optimal Amount for Facial Sun Protection
Sunlight is essential for your well-being. From the production of bone-strengthening Vitamin D to boosting the immune system, sunlight plays a vital role in keeping you healthy. But sunlight also has a dark side. Prolonged and unprotected sun exposure can lead to premature skin aging and, perhaps even more concerning, skin cancer. The good news is you can shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays by utilizing the science of sunscreen.
The Sun and Its Impact on Skin Health
Acting as a protective shield, our skin plays a critical role in safeguarding our bodies from numerous threats. However, it often stands defenseless against one formidable adversary: the sun.
UVA rays (Ultraviolet A) and UVB rays (Ultraviolet B) are forms of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun. UVA rays have longer wavelengths and can penetrate deep into the skin, leading to premature aging, wrinkling, and can contribute to the development of skin cancer. UVB rays have shorter wavelengths and primarily affect the outer layer of the skin, causing sunburns and increasing the risk of skin cancer. Both UVA and UVB rays can damage the DNA in skin cells, leading to mutations and potential health problems including cancer. 1
When skin is exposed to the sun, it darkens due to melanin production, causing the "tan" familiar to beach-goers. As the tan fades, our skin rejuvenates, shedding the tanned layer and eventually replacing it with fresh skin. However, excessive sun exposure can result in sunburn, indicating deep UVA ray penetration and consequent skin damage. Furthermore, even without sunburn, sun exposure can be harmful as it disrupts and overwhelms the skin's natural renewal process. This process, known as photoaging, prematurely ages the skin, making it appear significantly older and more susceptible to cancer.
The Sun and Its Impact on Skin Health
Acting as a protective shield, our skin plays a critical role in safeguarding our bodies from numerous threats. However, it often stands defenseless against one formidable adversary: the sun.
UVA rays (Ultraviolet A) and UVB rays (Ultraviolet B) are forms of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun. UVA rays have longer wavelengths and can penetrate deep into the skin, leading to premature aging, wrinkling, and can contribute to the development of skin cancer. UVB rays have shorter wavelengths and primarily affect the outer layer of the skin, causing sunburns and increasing the risk of skin cancer. Both UVA and UVB rays can damage the DNA in skin cells, leading to mutations and potential health problems including cancer. 1
When skin is exposed to the sun, it darkens due to melanin production, causing the "tan" familiar to beach-goers. As the tan fades, our skin rejuvenates, shedding the tanned layer and eventually replacing it with fresh skin. However, excessive sun exposure can result in sunburn, indicating deep UVA ray penetration and consequent skin damage. Furthermore, even without sunburn, sun exposure can be harmful as it disrupts and overwhelms the skin's natural renewal process. This process, known as photoaging, prematurely ages the skin, making it appear significantly older and more susceptible to cancer.
The Consequences of Sun Damage and Photoaging
The sun is responsible for up to 90% of visible skin damage, according to data from The Skin Cancer Foundation. (02) Discolorations and wrinkles can develop because of a lifetime of sun exposure even if you keep the rest of your diet or overall health in check! Sunlight consists of both visible light and invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays, which come in the form of UVB and UVA rays. Prolonged exposure to UVB light harms the outer layers of the skin, while UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, damaging collagen fibers in the dermis.This damage triggers the production of abnormal elastin, resulting in the formation of metalloproteinase enzymes. While attempting to repair the damaged tissue, these enzymes can malfunction and cause further damage to skin cells. The common signs of photoaging include:
  • Fine lines and deep wrinkles
  • Discoloration or uneven skin pigmentation
  • Freckles
  • Telangiectasia
Telangiectasia refers to the dilation or enlargement of small blood vessels, particularly capillaries, resulting in the appearance of fine, red, or purple lines or patterns on the skin. These patterns are often referred to as "spider veins" or "broken blood vessels,” a noticeable sign of photoaging. Specific areas of the body are much more susceptible to photoaging than others. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable area is the one most exposed to the environment — your face.
The Consequences of Sun Damage and Photoaging
The sun is responsible for up to 90% of visible skin damage, according to data from The Skin Cancer Foundation. (02) Discolorations and wrinkles can develop because of a lifetime of sun exposure even if you keep the rest of your diet or overall health in check! Sunlight consists of both visible light and invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays, which come in the form of UVB and UVA rays. Prolonged exposure to UVB light harms the outer layers of the skin, while UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, damaging collagen fibers in the dermis.This damage triggers the production of abnormal elastin, resulting in the formation of metalloproteinase enzymes. While attempting to repair the damaged tissue, these enzymes can malfunction and cause further damage to skin cells. The common signs of photoaging include:
  • Fine lines and deep wrinkles
  • Discoloration or uneven skin pigmentation
  • Freckles
  • Telangiectasia
Telangiectasia refers to the dilation or enlargement of small blood vessels, particularly capillaries, resulting in the appearance of fine, red, or purple lines or patterns on the skin. These patterns are often referred to as "spider veins" or "broken blood vessels,” a noticeable sign of photoaging. Specific areas of the body are much more susceptible to photoaging than others. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable area is the one most exposed to the environment — your face.
The Importance of Using Adequate Sunscreen on Your Face
While aging is a natural process for the skin, exposure to sunlight significantly speeds up this aging process. The skin on the face is particularly at risk for photoaging due to several factors.
The Importance of Using Adequate Sunscreen on Your Face
While aging is a natural process for the skin, exposure to sunlight significantly speeds up this aging process. The skin on the face is particularly at risk for photoaging due to several factors.
Why Your Face Needs Sunscreen
First, the face is more exposed to sunlight compared to other parts of the body, making it more susceptible to the damaging effects of UV rays. Additionally, the skin on the face is thinner and has fewer oil glands, which means it has less natural protection and moisture retention. This makes it easier for UV rays to penetrate and cause damage to the skin barrier and the cells below. Furthermore, facial expressions and movements contribute to the development of fine lines and wrinkles over time. Combined, all these factors make the skin on the face more prone to photoaging. Avoiding the sun entirely is neither practical nor beneficial for your health. While completely covering your face from the sun is impractical, using sunscreen is a simple and feasible way to significantly protect your facial skin from the sun’s destructive rays.
Why Your Face Needs Sunscreen
First, the face is more exposed to sunlight compared to other parts of the body, making it more susceptible to the damaging effects of UV rays. Additionally, the skin on the face is thinner and has fewer oil glands, which means it has less natural protection and moisture retention. This makes it easier for UV rays to penetrate and cause damage to the skin barrier and the cells below. Furthermore, facial expressions and movements contribute to the development of fine lines and wrinkles over time. Combined, all these factors make the skin on the face more prone to photoaging. Avoiding the sun entirely is neither practical nor beneficial for your health. While completely covering your face from the sun is impractical, using sunscreen is a simple and feasible way to significantly protect your facial skin from the sun’s destructive rays.
Finding the Right Amount: How Much Sunscreen Should You Apply to Your Face?
To fully experience the benefits of sunscreen, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommends incorporating a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen into your daily skin care routine as a layer of defense for your skin (03). Generally, you can choose between two types of sunscreen available for facial skin: mineral vs chemical sunscreen. Both chemical and mineral sunscreens offer effective sun protection for the face, but the choice between them ultimately depends on personal preference and skin sensitivity. Chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds that absorb UV rays, while mineral sunscreens use inorganic minerals like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to physically block and reflect the sun's rays. Mineral sunscreens are generally considered gentler on the skin, making them suitable for sensitive or acne-prone skin types. They also provide broad-spectrum protection and start working immediately upon application. Chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, often has a lightweight texture and can be more cosmetically elegant. Ultimately, choosing a sunscreen that is comfortable to wear and provides adequate protection for your specific skin type and concerns is essential. Whether you opt for a chemical or mineral sunscreen, using the appropriate amount of sunscreen and knowing which types of sunscreen ingredients to avoid is paramount.

Are You Using Enough on Your Face?

When it comes to applying sunscreen on your face, the AAD also encourages using about a nickel-sized amount, or approximately a teaspoon (5 milliliters) of sunscreen. However, keep in mind that this is a rough guideline. The exact amount differs from person to person and may vary depending on the specific sunscreen's consistency and the size of your face. The exact amount needed may vary based on individual factors such as face size, facial hair, and personal preference.

How Much Is Needed for Optimal Facial Protection?

Some sunscreen is better than no sunscreen at all. Therefore, it’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to sunscreen. Enough coverage is needed to shield all areas of the face. The thickness of the layer plays a crucial role in providing effective protection against harmful UV rays. While there isn't an exact measurement for the thickness, the general recommendation is to apply a liberal, even layer of sunscreen.To ensure adequate coverage, it's important to massage the sunscreen into the skin, making sure to cover all exposed areas, including the ears, neck, and any other parts of the face that may be exposed to the sun. The goal is to create a uniform layer that effectively shields the skin. The thickness of the sunscreen layer is crucial because it determines the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) efficacy.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the sunscreen SPF indicates the level of protection against UVB rays, which are primarily responsible for sunburns. Contrary to popular belief, SPF is not directly tied to the length of time spent in the sun but rather to the amount of solar exposure. While solar exposure time impacts the amount of solar energy received, other factors are involved. 4
If sunscreen is applied too thinly, its SPF effectiveness can significantly decrease. Studies have shown that people often apply far less sunscreen than the recommended amount, resulting in a lower level of protection than expected5 Factors such as solar intensity, geographic location, and cloud coverage influence the amount of solar energy. Individual factors like skin type, amount of sunscreen applied, and reapplication frequency also play a significant role in the effectiveness of sunscreen.
The AAD emphasizes the importance of using enough sunscreen to achieve the intended SPF. They recommend using a sufficient amount to form a visible, even layer that adequately covers the skin. To ensure optimal protection, it’s better to be generous with your sunscreen application, especially on the face. Also, utilizing makeup or moisturizers infused with sunscreen can add additional shielding from sunlight. If you are deciding between tinted and untinted sunscreen, tinted sunscreen can be a great option as it combines the benefits of moisturizer and sheer foundation with sun protection.
Finding the Right Amount: How Much Sunscreen Should You Apply to Your Face?
To fully experience the benefits of sunscreen, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommends incorporating a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen into your daily skin care routine as a layer of defense for your skin (03). Generally, you can choose between two types of sunscreen available for facial skin: mineral vs chemical sunscreen. Both chemical and mineral sunscreens offer effective sun protection for the face, but the choice between them ultimately depends on personal preference and skin sensitivity. Chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds that absorb UV rays, while mineral sunscreens use inorganic minerals like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to physically block and reflect the sun's rays. Mineral sunscreens are generally considered gentler on the skin, making them suitable for sensitive or acne-prone skin types. They also provide broad-spectrum protection and start working immediately upon application. Chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, often has a lightweight texture and can be more cosmetically elegant. Ultimately, choosing a sunscreen that is comfortable to wear and provides adequate protection for your specific skin type and concerns is essential. Whether you opt for a chemical or mineral sunscreen, using the appropriate amount of sunscreen and knowing which types of sunscreen ingredients to avoid is paramount.

Are You Using Enough on Your Face?

When it comes to applying sunscreen on your face, the AAD also encourages using about a nickel-sized amount, or approximately a teaspoon (5 milliliters) of sunscreen. However, keep in mind that this is a rough guideline. The exact amount differs from person to person and may vary depending on the specific sunscreen's consistency and the size of your face. The exact amount needed may vary based on individual factors such as face size, facial hair, and personal preference.

How Much Is Needed for Optimal Facial Protection?

Some sunscreen is better than no sunscreen at all. Therefore, it’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to sunscreen. Enough coverage is needed to shield all areas of the face. The thickness of the layer plays a crucial role in providing effective protection against harmful UV rays. While there isn't an exact measurement for the thickness, the general recommendation is to apply a liberal, even layer of sunscreen.To ensure adequate coverage, it's important to massage the sunscreen into the skin, making sure to cover all exposed areas, including the ears, neck, and any other parts of the face that may be exposed to the sun. The goal is to create a uniform layer that effectively shields the skin. The thickness of the sunscreen layer is crucial because it determines the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) efficacy.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the sunscreen SPF indicates the level of protection against UVB rays, which are primarily responsible for sunburns. Contrary to popular belief, SPF is not directly tied to the length of time spent in the sun but rather to the amount of solar exposure. While solar exposure time impacts the amount of solar energy received, other factors are involved. 4
If sunscreen is applied too thinly, its SPF effectiveness can significantly decrease. Studies have shown that people often apply far less sunscreen than the recommended amount, resulting in a lower level of protection than expected5 Factors such as solar intensity, geographic location, and cloud coverage influence the amount of solar energy. Individual factors like skin type, amount of sunscreen applied, and reapplication frequency also play a significant role in the effectiveness of sunscreen.
The AAD emphasizes the importance of using enough sunscreen to achieve the intended SPF. They recommend using a sufficient amount to form a visible, even layer that adequately covers the skin. To ensure optimal protection, it’s better to be generous with your sunscreen application, especially on the face. Also, utilizing makeup or moisturizers infused with sunscreen can add additional shielding from sunlight. If you are deciding between tinted and untinted sunscreen, tinted sunscreen can be a great option as it combines the benefits of moisturizer and sheer foundation with sun protection.
How Often Should You Reapply Sunscreen to Your Face?
Many people wonder “how long does sunscreen last?” The prevailing recommendation from the AAD regarding the reapplication of sunscreen is to reapply sunscreen to your face every two hours or more frequently if you are sweating heavily or swimming. Sunscreen can wear off or become less effective over time due to factors like sun exposure, sweating, wiping your face, or rubbing against clothing. Regular reapplication helps maintain consistent protection against harmful UV rays. Ensuring proper coverage and following the recommended reapplication frequency can help safeguard your skin from sun damage and reduce the risk of sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer.
How Often Should You Reapply Sunscreen to Your Face?
Many people wonder “how long does sunscreen last?” The prevailing recommendation from the AAD regarding the reapplication of sunscreen is to reapply sunscreen to your face every two hours or more frequently if you are sweating heavily or swimming. Sunscreen can wear off or become less effective over time due to factors like sun exposure, sweating, wiping your face, or rubbing against clothing. Regular reapplication helps maintain consistent protection against harmful UV rays. Ensuring proper coverage and following the recommended reapplication frequency can help safeguard your skin from sun damage and reduce the risk of sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer.
Dos and Don'ts: Tips for Properly Applying Sunscreen to Your Face
Properly applying sunscreen to your face is essential for effective sun protection. Here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind:

Do’s:

  1. Select a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, which shields against UVA rays and UVB rays.
  2. Opt for a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher to provide adequate protection against UVB rays. Use a stronger SPF (preferably SPF 30) when spending time outdoors or on especially sunny days.
  3. Apply sunscreen to your face at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. This allows time for the sunscreen to be absorbed and provides optimal protection.
  4. Ensure that you apply sunscreen to all exposed skin of your face, including the ears, temples, neck. Also be sure to know the difference between face vs body sunscreen and apply body sunscreen to any other parts that may be exposed to the sun.
  5. Apply a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen, but adjust the amount based on your face size. Remember that using too little may result in inadequate protection.
  6. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if you are sweating heavily or swimming. Regular reapplication ensures continuous protection.
  7. If using a mineral sunscreen, apply as the last step in your skin care routine to ensure you don’t dilute the physical sun-shielding barrier created.

Dont’s:

  1. Avoid neglecting commonly forgotten areas, such as the lips, hairline, and eyelids. Use lip balm with SPF, wear a wide-brimmed hat, or use UV-blocking sunglasses to protect these areas.
  2. While sunscreen is crucial, it shouldn't be your only defense against the sun. Seek shade, wear protective clothing, and wear sunglasses and hats for additional protection.
  3. Avoid rubbing or wiping your face too vigorously, as this can remove the sunscreen or irritate the skin. Gently massage the sunscreen into your skin using upward motions. Use facial sunscreen formulated for all skin types or targeted to your skin type, like oily skin or dry skin.
  4. Avoid using expired sunscreen. Check the expiration date on your sunscreen bottle before applying. Expired sunscreen may be less effective in providing protection.
  5. Applying sunscreen should not be seen as a green light for prolonged sun exposure. Remember to limit your time in the sun and practice appropriate sun safety measures, especially during peak hours when the sun's rays are the strongest.
Following these dos and don'ts will help ensure that you properly apply sunscreen to your face, providing effective protection against harmful UV rays and reducing the risk of sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer.
Dos and Don'ts: Tips for Properly Applying Sunscreen to Your Face
Properly applying sunscreen to your face is essential for effective sun protection. Here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind:

Do’s:

  1. Select a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, which shields against UVA rays and UVB rays.
  2. Opt for a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher to provide adequate protection against UVB rays. Use a stronger SPF (preferably SPF 30) when spending time outdoors or on especially sunny days.
  3. Apply sunscreen to your face at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. This allows time for the sunscreen to be absorbed and provides optimal protection.
  4. Ensure that you apply sunscreen to all exposed skin of your face, including the ears, temples, neck. Also be sure to know the difference between face vs body sunscreen and apply body sunscreen to any other parts that may be exposed to the sun.
  5. Apply a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen, but adjust the amount based on your face size. Remember that using too little may result in inadequate protection.
  6. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if you are sweating heavily or swimming. Regular reapplication ensures continuous protection.
  7. If using a mineral sunscreen, apply as the last step in your skin care routine to ensure you don’t dilute the physical sun-shielding barrier created.

Dont’s:

  1. Avoid neglecting commonly forgotten areas, such as the lips, hairline, and eyelids. Use lip balm with SPF, wear a wide-brimmed hat, or use UV-blocking sunglasses to protect these areas.
  2. While sunscreen is crucial, it shouldn't be your only defense against the sun. Seek shade, wear protective clothing, and wear sunglasses and hats for additional protection.
  3. Avoid rubbing or wiping your face too vigorously, as this can remove the sunscreen or irritate the skin. Gently massage the sunscreen into your skin using upward motions. Use facial sunscreen formulated for all skin types or targeted to your skin type, like oily skin or dry skin.
  4. Avoid using expired sunscreen. Check the expiration date on your sunscreen bottle before applying. Expired sunscreen may be less effective in providing protection.
  5. Applying sunscreen should not be seen as a green light for prolonged sun exposure. Remember to limit your time in the sun and practice appropriate sun safety measures, especially during peak hours when the sun's rays are the strongest.
Following these dos and don'ts will help ensure that you properly apply sunscreen to your face, providing effective protection against harmful UV rays and reducing the risk of sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer.
Using OS-01 FACE and OS-01 EYE to Combat Photoaging
Help counter the effects of sun damage with topical skin care products like a peptide sunscreen, peptide moisturizer and peptide eye cream. OneSkin’s OS-01 FACE is clinically validated to improve skin’s barrier function (+15% on average, shown by analyzing trans epidermal water loss in a 12-week clinical study performed by a third-party research organization). With a stronger skin barrier, your skin can fight photoaging and be better equipped to retain moisture, keeping skin healthy and hydrated. OneSkin’s OS-01 EYE serum has been shown to increase a key biomarker associated with collagen production, COL1A1, in lab studies on human skin samples. This could enable the skin around the eyes to produce and retain higher collagen levels, which may bolster its ability to retain moisture and slow the signs of photoaging. Fight the sun’s dark side and incorporate OS-01 FACE and OS-01 EYE with your favorite facial sunscreen.
Using OS-01 FACE and OS-01 EYE to Combat Photoaging
Help counter the effects of sun damage with topical skin care products like a peptide sunscreen, peptide moisturizer and peptide eye cream. OneSkin’s OS-01 FACE is clinically validated to improve skin’s barrier function (+15% on average, shown by analyzing trans epidermal water loss in a 12-week clinical study performed by a third-party research organization). With a stronger skin barrier, your skin can fight photoaging and be better equipped to retain moisture, keeping skin healthy and hydrated. OneSkin’s OS-01 EYE serum has been shown to increase a key biomarker associated with collagen production, COL1A1, in lab studies on human skin samples. This could enable the skin around the eyes to produce and retain higher collagen levels, which may bolster its ability to retain moisture and slow the signs of photoaging. Fight the sun’s dark side and incorporate OS-01 FACE and OS-01 EYE with your favorite facial sunscreen.
Key Takeaways
  • Because sun damage accounts for up to 90% of photoaging, adding sunscreen to your daily skincare routine is essential. You may not be receiving the full benefit of your skincare routine without sunscreen protection.
  • Facial skin is most vulnerable to sun damage due to a variety of factors unique to facial skin. Damage results in photoaging and injury to the skin barrier, causing accelerated skin aging.
  • The recommended amount of facial sunscreen is about a nickel-sized dollop, but that amount is a rough guideline. The appropriate amount of sunscreen allows for an even layer with adequate coverage for all areas of the face, neck, and ears.
  • Reapply sunscreen as needed, typically every two hours or more on sunny days or if you are perspiring.
  • Incorporate facial sunscreen with OneSkin’s OS-01 FACE and OS–01 EYE to help fight photoaging.
Key Takeaways
  • Because sun damage accounts for up to 90% of photoaging, adding sunscreen to your daily skincare routine is essential. You may not be receiving the full benefit of your skincare routine without sunscreen protection.
  • Facial skin is most vulnerable to sun damage due to a variety of factors unique to facial skin. Damage results in photoaging and injury to the skin barrier, causing accelerated skin aging.
  • The recommended amount of facial sunscreen is about a nickel-sized dollop, but that amount is a rough guideline. The appropriate amount of sunscreen allows for an even layer with adequate coverage for all areas of the face, neck, and ears.
  • Reapply sunscreen as needed, typically every two hours or more on sunny days or if you are perspiring.
  • Incorporate facial sunscreen with OneSkin’s OS-01 FACE and OS–01 EYE to help fight photoaging.

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

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