Founder's Faves: Top 5 Essential Sun Protection Measures for Your Daily Routine

You're probably familiar with the short-term effects of sun damage to your skin. (Hello, painful sun burns.) But what you may not know is that even when you don't experience a burn, continued sun exposure over time can add up to dangerous levels of photodamage, aka sun damage, that cause your skin to age more quickly than it should. Here's why it matters, and the products I use as a dermatology professional to protect myself and my family from harmful sun exposure as part of our everyday routine.

What causes photoaging?

As confirmed by Yale Medicine, photoaging is caused by ultraviolet radiation that causes DNA changes in the skin, which in turn can cause premature aging or skin cancer. There are two kinds of UV light that cause damage:

  • UVA: This form of solar radiation damages skin at all levels—from the surface layer (epidermis) down deep into the dermis. This impacts collagen and elastin fibers, which give your skin its youthful glow and elasticity, as well as epidermal cells and tiny blood vessels called capillaries. 

  • UVB: This type of solar radiation irradiates the outer layer of the skin. UVB damages DNA in the epidermis and can cause photoaging, as well as precancerous cells.

How can you prevent photodamage?

By incorporating basic sun protection measures into your everyday routine, you can decrease your risks, and in some cases, start to correct the damage, too. Here are the tips I recommend to all of my patients- and use for myself any my family- and the products I suggest to get you started with your sun protection efforts. (I'm not receiving compensation for these recommendations, aside from the products you purchase here onsite. They're just genuinely great products that I've purchased and gotten good results with.)

1. The hard truth about sun protection and skincare. 

Before we dive in, I want to impress upon you how important it is to be incorporating sun protection into your daily routine, especially if you're someone who is investing in skincare. Why? The harsh reality is that whether it's in-office treatments or high-end skincare products, if you're not including sun protection in your daily maintenance efforts, you're wasting your time and your money on everything else. You won't be able to correct any existing damage in a meaningful way unless you stop your exposure to additional damage first.

2. Use sunscreen every day- no matter the weather.

The best sunscreen is the one you'll actually use. I find that my patients who are new to daily sunscreen adapt best to a clear, chemical sunscreen. If that sounds like something you'd prefer, I've researched and vetted the Revision IntelliShade Clear, and I recommend it to patients often. In a perfect world, I'd like you to be using something like my personal sunscreen of choice, an all-mineral tinted sunscreen like the Revision IntelliShade TruPhysical.

Sunscreen shouldn't just be limited to your face and neck, though. All of your additional high-risk areas- and really, any area that is exposed to direct sunlight- should be protected with sunscreen. 


For this, there are a couple of products that are great to always have in your bag. The first is a powder sunscreen that you can brush on. This is great for sunscreen touchups if you're in the sun for more than 2 hours at a time. One option is this product from Avene, a brand we love and carry that's known for being safe for sensitive skin. Another great alternative for spot protection is a sunscreen stick. (Both are favorites for my patients who are tennis players or golfers since they don't leave your palms feeling greasy or slick.)

3. Just decide that you're a hat person now.

A hat is an essential component to a holistic sun protection routine. We always recommend a nice wide-brimmed hat over baseball hats, but as always, go with something that you'll wear consistently. It helps to have one that you're really excited to wear, that works with a variety of closet staples. Here are my favorites:


Bespoke Hats from Holt + Hudson

Handwoven, sustainably sourced pieces that you can fully customize to suit your style and aesthetic. I love that it's a female founded brand that's local to me in Atlanta, GA- never mind all the compliments I get.

The Simone from Janessa Leoné

I love this hat because it's exactly what you want when you're on the go: lightweight and portable, but still maintains its shape. It's understated and neutral while stylish, so it's a go-to that can work with most of my wardrobe. 


Hemlock Hat Co.: The Santos

The Santos is a favorite of mine because it's a great unisex option that gives you added wind protection with the strap- perfect for beach days and lake days. 

The Rosita from Sunshine Tienda

Where our neutral options are great to be able to turn to without concern for color matching, if you're new to hats, you're in for a treat. They can be really fun ways to introduce color into your looks on their own! I love the Rosita Wide Brimmed Palm Fringe Hat for a pop of fun during a summer vacation.


Cotton Canvas Sun Hat from Jenni Kayne

Bucket hats are perfect for travel- no concerns about losing their shape in transit, machine washable, and they give great coverage whether you're in the garden or enjoying a pool day.

The Inca Bucket Hat from Lack of Color

Enjoy full face coverage with a more slender profile in this modern, neutral bucket option. I love that it's a vegan option with texture, made from the prettiest shade of raffia straw.

4. Invest in sun protective apparel.

UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor. And any garment that allows less than 2% of UV rays through is labeled UPF 50+, the highest available rating. In my opinion, if you're going to invest in protective clothing, it's worthwhile to look for 50+ options. 

Cleveland Health Clinic explains that UV light can penetrate through the micro holes in the weaves of regular clothes, or even through a light-colored shirt. With UPF clothing, you get much more protection from the sun, and will need less frequent sunscreen touchups throughout the day. Because sun protective clothing has a higher thread count, it also gets bonus points for feeling a lot more luxurious than your standard t-shirt. 

Solmate Sunwear

Our favorite UPF 50+ athleisurewear comes from Solmate Sunwear. It's simultaneously beautiful and luxurious, while still maintaining functionality for modern women on the go. Like Holt + Hudson, this brand is also local to me, and woman owned. I do my best to always have a long-sleeve protective shirt on when I'm outdoors, and use sunscreen to protect the areas that are still exposed (face, neck, and hands). 

I also suggest finding a UPF 50+ sarong you love for the lake, beach, or pool. They make great cover ups for your legs (or your kids) if you're getting extended sun exposure. 

5. Add Vitamin C to your skincare routine for more protection- and correction.

If you've been here long, you know which product is coming next: my absolute favorite Vitamin C product on the market today, Revision C+ Correcting Complex. It can increase your sensitivity to sunlight when it's used alone, so be sure you're always following it up with sunscreen. But like Baylor Medical reports here, Vitamin C is a powerhouse- it not only adds an extra layer of sun protection for your skin, it also helps improve your texture, improve fine lines and wrinkles, and restore a youthful glow. (It's worth noting that not all Vitamin C products are created equally. You can learn more about that in this post that dives deep into my recommendations for daily skincare products.)

 Shop our favorites and get more tips in person at The Art of Sun Protection on April 17.

I'm so excited to be teaming up with two brands whose products I use daily, and whose founders I admire deeply, on The Art of Sun Protection. This immersive shopping experience will include shopping across my favorite sun protective skincare products, sun protective apparel from Solmate Sunwear, and bespoke hats from Holt + Hudson. By RSVPing, you're automatically entered to win a prize package valued at ore than $700. Learn more and register here.


Laura Beacham, MMSc, PA-C

Laura Beacham, MMSc, PA-C

Laura is a dedicated Physician Assistant at Dermatology Associates of GA, where she brings expertise across the Medical, Cosmetic, and Pediatric dermatology fields. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Laura's educational journey led her to Atlanta, where she earned her Masters in Medical Science from Emory University School of Medicine's PA Program, one of the top five in the nation. With a commitment to personalized patient care, Laura utilizes an extensive range of treatments including medical grade and prescription topical and systemic medications, neuromodulators, soft tissue fillers, biostimulators, and numerous laser therapies. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, Laura plays an active role in medical education as an Adjunct Clinical Lecturer and Preceptor at Emory School of Medicine. She is also credited with developing the Dermatology modules for the residency program of COPE Health Solutions.


Back to blog