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We're cruising into summer here in the Pacific Northwest, and we are excited for a season of outdoor fun under blue, sunny skies. While we wear some form of sunscreen all year, we definitely step up our sun protection game during the summer when the days are longer and the sun is stronger. Beyond protecting your skin from sunburn, using sunscreen daily dramatically reduces the chances of developing skin cancer and slows down signs of premature aging from ultraviolet exposure. There's no doubt that daily sunscreen use will help maintain healthy, glowing skin, so let's take a closer look at different types of sun protection and offer our best tips for practicing safe sun all summer.


Chemical Sunscreens vs. Mineral Sunscreens

There are two main types of sunscreens: those that protect the skin by absorbing the sun’s rays (commonly called chemical sunscreens) and those that reflect the sun away from your body (referred to as physical or mineral sunscreens). If the term chemical sunscreen has you cringing, you’re not alone. These formulas use chemical compounds that, after absorbing into your skin and bloodstream, create a reaction that converts radiation into heat, which is then released from the skin. Chemical sunscreens are effective sun protectants but do so unnaturally and at the cost of your health and our environment. The most common active ingredients in chemical sunscreens are suspected endocrine disruptors for humans and have been shown to cause long-term damage to coral reefs and other marine life when washed off our skin.

Whatever happened to sitting in the shade or covering your skin to avoid overexposure to the sun? Enter mineral sunscreens. These sunscreens use natural minerals to create a physical barrier on the skin, with minerals like zinc oxide acting as a filter that reflects sunlight away from the body before it can be absorbed. Unlike chemical sunscreens, mineral sunscreens are not absorbed into the skin or bloodstream, posing no threat to human health. In addition, mineral sunscreens have no known connection to coral bleaching or other adverse environmental impacts. Every sunscreen we carry uses non-nano zinc oxide as its active ingredient to form a chemical-free sun barrier on the skin, safely scattering the sun’s rays away from your body. Non-nano zinc oxide is a beautiful broad-spectrum sun protectant (broad-spectrum means it protects from UVA and UVB sun rays). According to Tricia Trimble of Suntegrity, it can even soothe skin irritation and help with acne.

Apply Early & Reapply Often

When it comes to mineral sunscreens, less is not more. Because these sunscreens protect by forming a physical barrier on the skin, be thorough in your application to ensure adequate protection on exposed areas. Apply your favorite mineral sunscreen to your face, neck, and decolletage after your daily moisturizer has been absorbed. Give the sunscreen around 15 minutes to set before applying makeup or heading outside into the sunshine.

The FDA recommends reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours or every hour if swimming or sweating. Use your best judgment when it comes to sunscreen and sun exposure. Paddleboarding on the river at high noon? Reapply every hour. Brunching with friends on a covered patio under your chicest floppy hat? You’re probably good to get through the afternoon without another dose of SPF.

Beyond applying sunscreen, there are plenty of other ways you can safely enjoy the sun this summer. Accessorize with hats and sunglasses and get creative with your summer fashion, opting for pieces that cover the skin with lightweight, breezy fabrics. Limiting sun exposure between 11:00 and 3:00, when the sun’s rays are the most intense, will also go a long way in protecting your skin. 

Makeup That Acts Like Sunscreen

Looking for an all-star multitaskers? We've got year-round favorites (and W&W bestsellers) that serve as makeup, skincare, and sunscreen all in one and will have you sunkissed and glowing every day. Glow, correct, and protect your skin with SuperNatural Radiance Serum from RMS Beauty, clean SPF 30 that brings out-of-this-world results. Suntegrity's Impeccable Skin with SPF 30. This medium-coverage formula combines sun protection, makeup, and beauty-boosting skincare in one product. Odacité has taken their hero product, SPF 50 Mineral Drops, and tinted it perfectlyIlia's Super Serum Skin Tint is an all-time favorite, a light-coverage, nourishing serum that leaves your skin looking like your skin but super!

Whatever this season brings, we have sunscreen to keep your skin perfectly protected and always looking vibrantly beautiful.