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ESC: Doing it Wrong, Sunscreen

It's news to no one that sunscreen is important.

We're pretty on top of the daily-application rule, mostly because we have big plans to be forever young like Julianne Moore and Jennifer Aniston. However, we have to wonder, do new rules apply when it comes to lathering up for summer?

For instance, does more sun equal more product? Should we invest in a higher SPF? Or apply it more frequently? Should our makeup have SPF, too? All very valid questions since we're spending more time than ever basking in that sweet summer sun.

To get to the bottom of it, we asked two derms, Dr. Harold Lancer of Lancer Dermatology and Dr. Melissa Piliang of the Cleveland Clinic to answer all of our burning questions. 

Be Smart About What You Buy: Seek out a product with an SPF of at least 30 and look for coverage labeled as broad spectrum. "This means it will provide protection for both UVA and UVB rays," shared Dr. Piliang. You should also look for a sunscreen that's marketed specifically for the face. Sure, a regular formula you use on your body has the same active ingredients that provide the SPF. However, "sunscreens marketed for face often feel nicer on the skin and blend in better" suggested Dr. Piliang.

It's Less About the Number: You might think that if you opt for a high SPF, you're set for summer, but think again. "Do not let extremely high SPF numbers lull you into a false sense of security. The difference between an SPF 100 and SPF 30 is marginal," revealed Dr. Lancer. You also don't need to use a bunch of different SPF products. "A sunscreen is a sunscreen, one product is enough and applying multiple products does not improve the protection," shared Dr. Piliang.

The Verdict on Makeup With SPF: Sadly foundations and powders with SPF aren't going to cut it, especially during the summer. Sure, when it's winter and you're not coming in direct contact with the sun an SPF makeup product can do in a pinch, but even then it's not recommended. "The SPF in makeup can be considered added protection but should not be your primary source of sun protection for the day," shared Dr. Lancer. 

Follow the Two-Hour Rule: Regardless of SPF level, you need to reapply more often during summertime. Every two hours to be exact. "Very important for consumers to note: All sun-shielding products, regardless of the brand, whether they are creams, lotions or sprays absolutely need to be reapplied every two hours, even if the packaging says water resistant/waterproof or "all-day protection," urged Dr. Lancer.

Think of It As the Last Step in Your Skincare Routine: You already know you should lather up before going outside in the morning, but with all the products you're slathering on in the first place, at what point in your skincare routine should you apply it? Both pros agree: "You want to apply sunscreen on dry skin and it should be the last step in your skincare routine…and any makeup application should follow the sunscreen," elaborated Dr. Lancer. Why? "Applying products on top (of your sunscreen), limits their efficacy," noted Dr. Piliang.

Sunscreen is Not Skincare: Just because you are incorporating an SPF into your skincare routine, don't get it twisted. "Sunscreen is an absolute must and should not be thought of as an alternative to moisturizing or vice versa," explained Dr Lancer. It's a separate product that should be just one product in your overall skincare routine. Besides, those expensive serums, creams and lotions you're using? You're essentially throwing that money away if you don't use a sunscreen, too. "They cannot do their job if you continue to expose your skin to the sun without protection," explained Dr. Lancer.

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30, $38; Coola Face Sport SPF 50 White Tea Moisturizer, $32