I know, I know—it's weird to be talking about sunblock in January. And yet, when you think about it, there's no better time. The absolute best thing you can do for your skin this year is to start wearing SPF every single day. Don't believe me? Well, let me tell you a little story.
In high school, I worked at a beachside shop. One day, two sisters came in to try on swimsuits. One looked like a high schooler, and the other looked about 26. When they came to the checkout counter, the older sister opened her wallet. "That's really nice of you to buy your sister a swimsuit," I said. Both sisters started laughing, because they weren't sisters—they were mother and daughter. Crazy! When I asked the mother how she looked so young, she said, "Well, I've been wearing sunblock every day since I was a teenager."
Look, there's no other way to put it: The sun will make you look older. It won't if you wear sunblock. Wear it every day, and you'll prevent most of the spots and wrinkles associated with aging. And on a less frivolous note, you'll be maintaining the health of your skin by minimizing the risk of UV-related cancers such as melanoma. Summing up, then: Wearing sunblock keeps you looking young and prevents cancer. Skipping it... doesn't. Seems like a simple choice, right?
For tips on how to make wearing sunblock a habit you'll easily keep,
Read the label
Look for a sunblock with SPF 15 or 30, and look for a broad-spectrum product that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are the ones that cause your skin to age more quickly, while UVB rays are potentially cancer-causing. Also, look for ingredients like Mexoryl, octocrylene, titanium dioxide, Helioplex, and zinc oxide—all of which are ingredients that won't break down in the sun.
Use a sunblock that's also a moisturizer
Simplify your morning routine by using a combination product. I don't recommend relying on a SPF-infused foundation or a primer alone. Instead, look for a moisturizer that's also a sunblock. I've tried dozens, but I always come back to Anthelios SX ($29). The lightweight lotion sinks into your skin quickly, doesn't leave any weird white residue, and isn't greasy.
Try it for two weeks
If you're not used to wearing sunblock, stick a Post-It note on your bathroom mirror. (If you really want to be nutty, print out this picture as a reminder of why you're doing this.) After two weeks of daily sunblock application, I bet you'll find it becomes a habit.
Sunblock is one of those beauty products that doesn't reveal its full benefits immediately. But with constant use, it'll really begin to pay off when you're in your late 20s and 30s. And even if you're already at that age—or past it!—you'd be surprised to see what a difference it can still make into the decades to come. You'll have to trust me on this, but I promise you won't regret the sunblock.