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Ask The Makeup Diva
Welcome to Ask The Makeup Diva™! Our resident expert, The Makeup Diva, answers makeup and skin care questions sent in by readers just like you.

Q: With summer coming, I really want to protect my skin from sun damage. What should I look for when shopping for sunscreen?

A: First, I really want to emphasize how important it is to use a sunscreen all year round, not just in the summer or when you are in the sun. Why? Even when the sun is not shining, we are still bombarded every day by UV rays that can damage your skin. The UVB rays are responsible for those nasty sunburns, while the UVA rays are the ones that cause premature aging. These UVA rays are present every day whether the sun is out or not.

When it comes to shopping for the right sunscreen, these days you've got to read the ingredients to be sure you'll protected from both UVA and UVB rays. Most protect you from UVB but not UVA. Keep this in mind:

  • Any ingredient that ends in "-cinnamate" or "-salicylate" will only protect you from UVB
  • Avobenzone or Parsol 1789 blocks only UVA
  • Oxybenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide protect you from both

Before you stock up on sunscreen, make sure it will protect you completely. Here are a few other tips:

  • Always apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside for the best protection.
  • Always reapply after swimming, excessive perspiring, or toweling off.
  • Use more sunscreen than you think you need - the only way to really protect your skin is to apply the sunscreen liberally over your whole body.

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