How I Started Loving Sunscreen
SPF always seemed like a chore. Here’s how one Ourself user began incorporating it into her daily routine.
Growing up in sunny, hot Texas during the 1980s and 90s, applying sunscreen every day was simply not a thing. Sure, it was common enough for diligent mothers to slather it on their children for special occasions like being at the beach or pool, but the idea of daily SPF as a lifestyle choice didn’t really exist yet. Back then, before American society adopted a more diverse array of role models, the standard “beauty icon” was tan and blonde. Like Barbie. Or Christie Brinkley.
As a teenager, getting a summer tan was a ubiquitous goal and even a rite of passage. No matter what shade of white, Black, or brown my friends were, we all sunbathed together, with some ill-advised and convoluted intention of “evening out” our skin tones. (Ironic, because sun damage does the exact opposite.) Again, sunscreen was for little kids on summer vacation: not a cool or necessary health and beauty practice anyone really adopted on a regular basis.
I seemed to tan easily as a young adult—and yes, tanning oil was most definitely a thing—but the older I got, my pale skin didn’t seem to tolerate those harsh rays so well. Sunburns became painful. I started to learn to avoid the sun as much as possible and wear hats for protection. Still, creating an actual daily SPF habit didn’t occur to me.
In my 20s, I became a beauty editor and worked at prestigious glossy magazines. I had access to the top dermatologists on the planet, and interviewed literally dozens of them over the years. The number one “beauty tip” these experts always but always suggested was that anyone, at any age, should be wearing sunscreen every single day—and generously reapplying consistently—as the single best preventative measure to both thwart skin cancer and as a general anti-ager. Did I listen? Yes. Did I impart this knowledge to my readers? Absolutely. Did I follow this advice in practice? Not a chance.
I think a lot of people, especially if they have combination and/or acne-prone skin, erroneously assume that SPF will clog their pores or make their skin look extra greasy. Certainly, there are plenty of old school formulas that just don’t make a great marriage for those with complexions that walk on the oily side. But fast-forward to 2022, and there are now a stunning variety of formulas in say, matte finishes and silky, serum-like textures that make using sunscreen seem downright sexy.
In the end, I became convinced by good old-fashioned vanity. When I discovered Ourself Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, I realized that not only was it the crucial cherry on top of an entire skincare regimen, but that using it consistently actually made my skin look better. Because it is packed with extra nourishing ingredients like skin tone-evening niacinamide and Intides™ (a patent-pending peptide complex), after only a few weeks of using it as part of a trio— Daily Dark Spot Intercept, Daily Renewal Cream,and Mineral Sunscreen last—I could visibly see a difference in my skin.
Using this product every day is easy because it’s nothing like the florescent zinc oxides and sticky, coconut-scented SPFs of my apparently misspent youth. The texture has great slip and once you massage it in, leaves no tell-tale white cast. It’s an elegant solution, and now, I almost feel naked if I happen to walk out of the door without it.
Do I have a disadvantage in terms of being so appallingly tardy to the sunscreen party? Sure. But now I’m older and wiser enough to truly appreciate the benefits, and as they say (in both falling in love and quitting smoking), it’s never too late.