Why Sunscreen is Your Skin’s Best Friend: A Comprehensive Guide on SPF and its Benefits

SPF has made a huge comeback in the skincare industry over the past few years and for good reason – more and more people are taking the health of their skin and the damage the sun can do to it into consideration. While we all have been told to wear sunscreen, let’s explore why we should wear sunscreen, and the types of sunscreen we should opt for.

Sun Damage

The physical appearance of aging skin is 90% due to sun damage. Our largest organ, the skin, protects all of our other organs from environmental damage – this is equivalent to our skin taking quite the beating. The sun emits three different types of ultraviolet rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. We need to be particularly wary of UVA and UVB rays since the Earth’s ozone layer protects us from UVC rays. UVA rays are the longest of the ultraviolet wavelengths and account for the majority of the sun’s rays. UVA rays are long enough to penetrate and break down the skin’s dermis (where collagen and elastin live). UVB rays are shorter in wavelength than UVA rays and are responsible for sunburns. Both UVA and UVB rays are responsible for signs of photoaging on the skin and can cause cell mutations resulting in cancer.
In order to prevent as much sun damage as possible, it is important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, meaning it protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. It is also important to ensure that you’re using SPF 32 at the minimum. SPF 32 is the “magic number” when it comes to SPF – anything below SPF 32 is significantly less protective. We recommend sticking to SPF 32 or higher.

Physical vs. Chemical

There are two types of sunscreen to choose from: physical or chemical. Physical sunscreens are usually made from minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These minerals are large enough in molecular size to sit on the surface of your skin without penetrating it, and protect you from the sun by reflecting light away from your skin. Physical sunscreens are generally better for your skin and won’t damage the Earth’s environment. Chemical sunscreens are usually made from compounds such as oxybenzone, octisalate, and octinoxate. These active ingredients work by absorbing UV rays. Chemical sunscreens are more water resistant and are less likely to leave a white cast on your skin. However, chemical sunscreens are more likely to have toxic ingredients (like oxybenzone) and are especially damaging to the environment and coral reefs

Check out the SPF options at select B12 Love locations – find your nearest lounge here.

How Much and How Often You Should Apply

Making sure you apply the right amount of sunscreen is crucial to effective protection from the sun. Generally speaking, each small part of your body should receive a quarter-size amount of sunscreen. For example, your face should be receiving a quarter-size amount and your neck should be receiving a quarter-size amount as well. Sunscreen should be applied once every two hours unless the directions on the product instruct otherwise, or if you’re swimming or sweating. Sunscreen should also be used every day of the year – wintertime and cloudy days are no exception. UV rays penetrate through clouds and are just as damaging as days when it’s sunny and 95 degrees. It’s also important to have SPF on when you are indoors – UV rays penetrate through windows and can be just as damaging to the skin even when you’re not outside. UV rays are also present in fluorescent lighting. Some studies show that blue light (a light that shines through our technology screens) causes photoaging and skin cancer as well. Unfortunately, most SPFs don’t have the protection you need in order to shield your skin from blue light. If blue light is a concern for you, make sure your broad-spectrum SPF contains iron oxide in the ingredient list.
Visit select B12 Love lounges for SPF that contains zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron oxide. Find your nearest lounge here.

SPF and Vitamin D Production

There is much speculation that sunscreen prevents vitamin D synthesis. However, studies show that this is a myth. There is little evidence that vitamin D production is reduced by wearing SPF. If you are still skeptical, we recommend spending no more than 10-30 minutes in the sun before 10 am or after 5 pm. Protect yourself with a hat and sunglasses, and wear sunscreen between 10 am and 5 pm since this is when UV rays are strongest and people are most likely to burn.


We’ve all heard it: wear sunscreen as a preventative measure against skin cancer. It is true – skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. In fact, as stated by the Skin Cancer Foundation, 1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and 2 people die of skin cancer every hour. As previously mentioned, skin cancer is caused by UV rays breaking down the DNA in our skin and causing cell mutations which result in cancer. THE BEST preventative measure you can take to avoid skin cancer is wearing SPF on a daily basis and avoiding the sun during peak UV index hours.

Ready to pick up a Naturopathic Doctor recommended SPF? Stop by one of our Bay Area locations to speak with a licensed healthcare professional, or send us a message via EmailInstagramFacebookTwitter, and TikTok.

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