Winters in Oregon can be long and gray, and when the sun starts to make a more regular appearance in the summer, you head outdoors to soak it in. The effects of the sun on your body are both good and bad, so to reap the benefits while protecting your skin, choose your sunscreen wisely.

As skin care experts, Marcea Wiggins, ND, and our team here at Santé Aesthetics and Wellness understand the rocky relationship between the sun and your skin.

Here, we explore this relationship and how you can take steps to keep your skin in the pink of health this summer.

The sun and your skin

The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) rays of different wavelengths of radiation, and the ones we’re most concerned with are UVA and UVB rays. To protect itself, your skin contains a pigment called melanin, which is designed to absorb the potentially harmful UV rays so that they don’t enter your body.

If you overexpose yourself to the sun or you’ve had years of sun exposure, your melanin breaks down and the UV rays can penetrate your skin more deeply, where they kill skin cells and break down collagen fibers.

The end result, cosmetically speaking, is that your skin loses elasticity and tone and begins to wrinkle and sag.

As if that weren’t reason enough to protect your skin, you can also develop age spots as melanin begins to cluster, and facial veins can appear as a result of sun exposure.

Of course, aging plays a role in some of these processes, but researchers have found that exposure to UV rays are responsible for 80% of the visible signs of aging in your face.

Protecting yourself with sunscreen

As we mentioned, not all sun exposure is bad because your body relies on the sun to manufacture vitamin D, which promotes bone health.

So if you want to head outdoors to soak in a little sun, perhaps grab a hat and do so in a way that also protects your skin, which is where sunscreen comes in.

To choose the best product, there are a few things to consider. First, choose a sunscreen that offers broad spectrum protection, which means it protects you against both UVA and UVB rays.

Second, choose a sunscreen that has at least a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. We recommend selecting an all natural SPF 50, micro mineral-based sunscreen. The minerals provide a barrier on the surface of your skin that keeps the sun’s rays from penetrating into the tissue, rather than using a chemical sunscreen that sends chemicals, like oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, homosalate, octocrylene, and paraben preservatives deep into the tissue through transdermal absorption. The SANTE Essentials line of sunscreens also contains green tea polyphenols and other powerful antioxidants that help protect the tissue from damaging oxygen free radicals created by sun damage. We have formula options that contain hyaluronic acid to deeply moisturize the tissue or a mattifying BB cream style that is light and airy on the skin. The tinted options magically blend into all skin tones once applied, especially great if you like to avoid makeup in the summer and prefer something light. All without leaving that white residue that other mineral-based sunscreens can leave behind. Consider the grade of skincare that the product is. All SANTE Essentials products are pharmaceutical grade, the best quality possible, prepared with stringent pharmaceutical standards and testing, even though we use all natural components.

Third, re-apply the sunscreen periodically throughout the day, every two hours optimally, because it can be absorbed or washed away by water or sweat. Look for water or sweat-resistant formulations.

Now that you better understand what you should look for to protect your skin, let’s spend a moment on the health of your skin. Not all sunscreen products are created equal, and many simply provide protection and nothing else.

If you want to protect your skin against the sun while nourishing it at the same time, turn to us at Santé Aesthetics and Wellness. We’ve done our research and offer a line of sunscreen products that do double duty. We also offer fantastic facials that keep your skin healthy and glowing throughout the summer.

Make your first step toward great-looking skin this summer by contacting our office in Portland, Oregon, to set up an appointment or shop our sunscreens at