The Importance of Wearing Sunscreen

I grew up a tomboy. I never cared too much for makeup. I only wore sunscreen during the summer or long periods outside. I had oily skin and some blemishes but never enough to peak my interest in skincare, either.

I was lucky that during my teenage years my acne healed quickly. I knew the sun was dangerous and could cause serious illnesses but because my skin healed quickly I took it for granted. I was young and foolish and didn’t protect my skin nearly as often as I should have. Little did I know that UV rays caused inflammation and stamped a permanent shadow of previous skin woes. I quickly learned my lesson when I went to college in Colorado.

All of a sudden my years of hidden acne scars came to the surface and during my freshman year, I was plagued by hyperpigmentation (dark spots). My entire forehead was two shades darker than the rest of my face! Who knows what caused it, probably a variety of factors: I broke out more frequently, I was older and I was now a mile closer to the sun. Whatever the reason, or combination, I needed to do something about it.

I started wearing sunscreen because of cosmetic reasons. I didn’t want those dark patches all over my forehead. I soon found out sunscreen was not just important in beauty but in health as well.

The skin has two major jobs: protecting the body and repairing itself. I helped my skin by applying sunscreen. I decreased its workload and protected it so it focused on repair. My hyperpigmentation faded faster, I had less acne and healthier-looking skin.

Being more diligent about skin protection

When I was diagnosed I became even more diligent about UVA/UVB protection. I was still concerned about my complexion but health became my bigger priority. I lived in a city so on top of the harmful sun; I had to contend with pollution and other grime. My skin was my largest organ and I was absorbing all sorts of nasty things that caused a lot more inflammation.

Each day I wore sunscreen and covered every exposed bit of skin I felt healthier and alert. Maybe that was the placebo effect. All I know for sure is that if I weren’t chronically ill I definitely would not be able to notice any difference.

I don’t get fancy or expensive with body sunscreen because I slather it on like a layer of seal blubber. A tried and true from the drugstore is just as effective as those high-end ones. I opt for a heavy cream one so I can see it before it absorbs into the skin and I can be sure I do not miss a spot.

Sunscreen gets a little tricky when it comes to the face. Since everyone has different levels of sensitivity, you may have to test different ones. My absolute favorite is from a luxury brand but I generally also opt for a drugstore oil-free made for the face version (I would recommend oil-free sunscreen to anyone since it is so thick).

However, there are days rubbing lotion into my skin is just bad news bears. On those days (and most others, because it’s so darn convenient) I use a simple spray sunscreen that I can easily run over my arms and legs without any extra application. On rough days, I use the same spray on my face (just a smaller amount so I don't get too oily) but

Do you wear sunscreen regularly? Have you noticed a difference? Let me know down in the comments!


By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

How does your pet support your RA journey?