“I wish I had known then what I know now!” These are the most common words I’ve heard from my clients and students in my over 20 years as an esthetician. “Why did no one tell me?” they say. Well, now I am!
Q. How much sunscreen should I use on my face?
A. Generally, sunscreen is used on top of moisturizer. So, unless your moisturizer contains sunscreen already, you should not be using it to MOISTURIZE your skin. ¼ tsp is adequate for a moisturizer containing a sunscreen, and depending on the viscosity of the sunscreen, probably ¼ tsp on TOP of the moisturizer if sunscreen is used separately. It will also depend on whether you are including your neck and decolletage in the application. If so, you would apply up to a ½ tsp on the face and decolletage. Remember to apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside.
Q. How much sunscreen is too much?
A. Hmm, if you look like a ghost then you've used too much. But in all honesty, the amount will depend on the texture or viscosity of the product, your skin type, and the area included in application. With regards to frequency, you will have to take into consideration the SPF of the product to work out the frequency of application. To figure frequency, the amount of minutes it takes your skin to burn needs to be multiplied by the SPF number. That gives you the minutes of protection you have in the sun before you need to reapply. For example, if your skin takes about 10 min to start burning, when you are in the sun, without sunscreen, you would take 10 and multiply that by the SPF. So if you are using a SPF 15 product, you would have 150 minutes when exposed to the sun directly before you needed to reapply. This is just a rough guideline and you still need to be aware of your own skin’s ability to tan or burn. If you are out and about and are perspiring or swimming, you would of course need to reapply more often.
Q. Why does sunscreen burn my face?
A. That stinging sensation is usually associated with sensitivity or dehydration. Skin that is more sensitive should use a physical sunscreen (that will sit on the surface of the skin). A chemical sunscreen will absorb rays from under the skin.
Q. Why does my face burn when I reapply sunscreen?
A. Usually because of a sensitivity issue, but if the action of reapplication is painful, you may have already exposed your skin to too much sun. If you apply sunblock to sunburnt skin, it would definitely sting. But I would say applying ANY product to sunburnt skin would be uncomfortable. COOLA's Radical Recovery with its Aloe Vera and nurturing Lavender oil can help with the discomfort. If the skin was not sunburnt prior to reapplication, then try a physical sunscreen instead of a chemical one.
Q. What is the best sunscreen for my face?
A. It varies from person to person, but usually a sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 is best. If you’re looking for a physical barrier, COOLA’s Full Spectrum 360 Mineral Sun Silk Creme Organic Face Sunscreen SPF 30 or Full Spectrum 360 Mineral Sun Silk Moisturizer Organic Face Sunscreen SPF 30 are both great options. Bonus? Both formulas contain COOLA’s Full Spectrum 360 technology, which helps mitigate the effects of skin stressors like blue light, infrared and pollution. Opting for a sunscreen that soaks into the skin? Try COOLA’s Classic Face Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30. Made with an antioxidant-rich Plant Protection Complex, this silky sunscreen for the face provides light-as-air protection that is amazing on its own or layers perfectly under makeup.
Q. How should I remove sunscreen from my face?
A. It will depend on whether you are using a chemical or physical block. Chemical sunscreen actives will simply expire since they have previously been absorbed into your skin. Just cleansing your face with a product like COOLA’s Glowing Greens Detoxifying Facial Cleansing Gel in the evening will take care of that. The physical sunscreen may still be sitting on the skin, depending on how many times you reapplied and how active you’ve been throughout the day. You would need an oil-based cleanser usually. Again, it depends on the ingredients in the sunscreen, but oil attracts oil. Using a water-based cleanser may not get the skin squeaky clean. You could use your exfoliator as well like COOLA’s Pacific Polish Gentle Seas Salt Facial Exfoliator, but you do not want to fall into a pattern of exfoliating every day simply to remove your sunscreen. This will have other repercussions like over-stimulation of the oil glands, which can lead to breakouts and dehydration.
Q. How should I apply sunscreen to my face?
A. Technique varies person to person. I love to dot my forehead, cheeks, chin and neck and then gently spread it over my face. This way you have less of a chance to skip an area. And don’t forget your neck and decolletage! An upward motion towards the chin and face work best here - any opportunity to fight gravity is always a bonus in my book!
Q. What’s the best way to apply sunscreen on my face when I’m wearing makeup?
A. Your sun protection should go on prior to applying makeup. The correct steps are: moisturizer, sun protection, and then makeup.
Q. What is the best face sunscreen for sensitive skin?
A. physical sunblock, with ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. It does not absorb into the skin, but rather, acts as a barrier on the surface of the skin.
Ready to make SPF protection a part of your summer (and every day) facial routine? Here are a few of my favorite COOLA products.
- Refreshing Water Mist SPF 18
- Rosilliance BB + Sunscreen SPF 30
- Mineral Sun Silk Moisturizer SPF 30
- Day SPF 30 & Night Eye Cream Duo
- Liplux Original Formula SPF 30
- Classic Sunscreen Stick
- ALL the Classic Sunscreen Sprays but my favorite is the Pina Colada
Lynille Steffenhagen is a licensed Esthetician as well as a licensed Massage Therapist and Brand Educator with over 20 years of experience in the spa and wellness industry. Her skills and knowledge have brought her expertise around the world and she currently lives in Chicago, Illinois.