Ask the Experts: What is the Best Way to Protect the Skin?

Ask the Experts: What is the Best Way to Protect the Skin?


In this MEGA exclusive, dermatologist Dr. Jarische Lao-Ang, MD, DPDS, and beauty content creator Bella Madamba shared their best sun protection practices

The dangers brought by prolonged sun exposure are no myth. “Unprotected sun exposure is the number one external factor that can damage the skin,” Dr. Jarische Lao-Ang pointed out. “Sun protection is the key to preventing UV damage, which is the number one risk factor for developing pigmentation, dark spots, sunburn, and skin cancer. Apart from that, it also accelerates aging of the skin, leading to fine lines and wrinkles.” 

RELATED: Ask the Experts: What is the Best Lip Care Practice This Summer Season?

What is the Best Way to Protect the Skin?

Let’s get one thing straight—the risk of sun damage is a year-round concern. But as luck would have it, beauty experts and enthusiasts like Dr. Jarische Lao-Ang and Bella Madamba detailed their best sun protection practices and some top-shelf products for the season and beyond. 

Education on sun protection 

The sun protection category is often daunting and confusing. However, Dr. Jarische Lao-Ang provided a short crash course on all the details to watch out for. Case in point: UVA and UVB rays. “UVA and UVB are the two types of UV rays that penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere,” she explained. “UVA composes 95% of UV rays reaching the Earth’s atmosphere and is mostly related to photoAging, while UVB composes 5% of the UV rays reaching the Earth, and is the main cause of sunburn.” 

What is the Best Way to Protect the Skin?

The dermatologist also thoroughly explained the concept of the Sun Protection Factor. “SPF is the measure of how well the sunscreen is in protecting against UVB rays. It measures the protection of the sunscreen against sunburn,” she clarified. “For sun protection, an SPF of at least 30 is recommended to offer maximal protection.” 

The best sun protection practice 

“We’re seeing a record of high heat indices this season, so we must get into the habit of daily sun protection,” Bella Madamba mentioned. The beauty content creator did not miss to indicate that sun protection doesn’t solely come from applying sunscreen. “I’ve learned from dermatologists that it can come from combining multiple sun protection measures.” 

What is the Best Way to Protect the Skin?

Her best sun protection advice? Reapply sunscreen every two to four hours. Bella added, “Avoid going out during the hottest time of day, if possible! Engage in protective behaviors such as wearing protective clothing, using umbrellas, and wearing hats or sunglasses.” Elsewhere, monitoring the skin for any changes in the size or shape of moles or spots and having consistent check-ups with your dermatologist is a non-negotiable on her list. 

Incorporating sun protection into one’s routine 

“I make sure that I choose a sunscreen that I like enough to use everyday,” Bella shared, and added that the key to reaping the benefits is consistent reapplication throughout the day. “If you don’t like the formula or the finish of the sunscreen, you might not use it. Skincare is personal—it’s up to you to find your perfect sunscreen.” 

What is the Best Way to Protect the Skin?

The beauty aficionado also reminded fans that sunscreen is applied last on skincare order and should go on before makeup. “And that explains why I love sunscreens that double as makeup primers. It minimizes the number of steps and layers I need to put on my skin,” she shared. “I usually opt for lotion, gel, or cream sunscreen as my base layer for protection. These formulas provide the best and most reliable protection out of all the sun protection products that’s available on the market.” 

“For a small top-up of sun protection or reapplication on top of makeup, I prefer a sun stick or non-aerosol sunscreen mist,” she added. “But if I know that I’ll be active on a certain day, I skip makeup to make reapplication easier.” 

What to look for in a product 

The quest for the perfect sun protection product may be challenging, but worthwhile. “A sunscreen must be at least SPF 30, and broad-spectrum,” Dr. Jarische Lao-Ang emphasized. The dermatologist also punctuated that a water-resistant formulation is an additional factor to the sunscreen checklist. “Still, the best sunscreen is the one that you will consistently apply and reapply daily.”

What is the Best Way to Protect the Skin?

As for the sunscreen format, she strongly recommends using a sunscreen gel or cream to form the initial layer of protection. “Sun sticks are ideal for reapplication. It is convenient and less messy. Another way of reapplication is by using sunscreen spray, but make sure to not spray outdoors if it’s windy to lessen the inhalation of the droplets. However, I don’t recommend using a spray format for people with known asthma as the droplets may trigger asthma attacks.” 

Meanwhile, we couldn’t help ourselves but ask if SPF-infused makeup actually works.  “Technically, if a cosmetic product comes with an SPF tag, it signifies that it has UV filters and can offer sun protection,” Dr. Jarische Lao-Ang explained. “However, the amount being applied and the overall formulation also matters. In terms of makeup, the recommended two finger rule of applying sunscreen is not strictly followed. So, in reality, there’s not enough sun protection from makeup. For me, apply a separate layer of sunscreen before applying makeup.” 

Take it from the expert

Of course, the beauty chat wouldn’t be complete without a look at their summer top-shelf. Bella Madamba’s top pick? Fairy Skin’s Premium Brightening Sunscreen. “It’s a steal price for the quality and great as a first sunscreen for beginners,” she revealed. “It’s lightweight, good for normal daily use as a hydrating sunscreen for oily, combination, normal skin. A bonus? It works great as a makeup primer.” 

The beauty content creator also showcased her curation of sunscreen products. Her rotation includes cult-favorites like Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen and Dermaction Advanced Sun Solar Barrier Water Drop Cream Gel. Notably, bottles like Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Essence Gold and Sun Bears Active Protect Milk are also her faves. “It’s really best to look for water-resistant formulations,” she noted. “Also, if you’re using it as your main sunscreen, please go for a lotion, cream, or gel format!”


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