Sunscreen: Your Questions Answered


May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a topic that is quite personal. I briefly posted my own skin story on Instagram. The takeaway points were to scan your body for any abnormally shaped or discolored moles, have a yearly checkup with a dermatologist, and don’t skimp on SPF, even if you think you don’t have the typical risk factors for skin cancer!

I had four surgical excisions on regions that were never even exposed to the sun! Pay attention to your skin's appearance not just for pesky blackheads and breakouts. Skin is our barrier, first line of defense, and protector.

Know that abnormal moles can be safely removed when caught early.

My goal is not to instill fear about moles turning into cancer, but rather to bring accurate information in one place about sun protection and shine awareness on the importance of being diligent about your skin’s health.

With the sun shining brighter and people itching to get outside more than ever, I wanted to round up some SPF and sunscreen facts. The conversation on health and safety is centered around washing hands, not touching our faces, and keeping distance. These are undeniably important, and as we are bursting at the seams to get out for a walk, bike ride, or lounge in our own backyards, let’s not forget about other environmental factors that can be harmful if your skin isn’t protected.

So let’s break it down to simple, straightforward answers about common questions regarding sun damage risks and sun protection.

What is the difference between UVA vs UVB?

  • UV stands for ultraviolet radiation. It is the energy emitted from the sun.
  • The longer unprotected skin is exposed to UV rays, the higher the risk of developing damage.
  • We can’t see UV rays, but our skin certainly feels it.
  • UVA and UVB have varying extents of biological activity.

What is SPF and what do the numbers mean?


What is the difference between physical and chemical sunscreens?

  • The difference lies in the product’s ingredients and activity.
  • Chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin to dissipate UV rays, while physical sunscreens, also called mineral sunscreens, sit on the skin's surface and deflect UV rays.
  • Products can contain a combination of ingredients to provide broad spectrum protection (UVA and UVB).
  • Which one to go with is a matter of preference, but make sure the product is BROAD SPECTRUM.
  • Most recently in January 2020, the FDA released a brief on studies that active ingredients from certain chemical sunscreens absorb through the skin and into the body. Further studies are needed to determine the long-term effects, and the FDA did not deem these sunscreens as unsafe.

When should I apply sunscreen?

Every single day! UVA and UVB rays are present throughout the day, although the intensities can vary based on the time of day, geographic location and even altitude. UVA can even penetrate glass, so protect yourself from rays when driving.

Apply 15 minutes before heading outside.

Don’t forget the tops of your ears, and even consider a lip balm with SPF to protect your lips.

Check out some of my favorite sunscreens and makeup products with SPF below.



Amaro-Ortiz A, Yan B, D'Orazio JA. Ultraviolet radiation, aging and the skin: prevention of damage by topical cAMP manipulation. Molecules. 2014;19(5):6202‐6219. Published 2014 May 15. doi:10.3390/molecules19056202

Dale Wilson B, Moon S, Armstrong F. Comprehensive review of ultraviolet radiation and the current status on sunscreens. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012;5(9):18‐23.

D'Orazio J, Jarrett S, Amaro-Ortiz A, Scott T. UV radiation and the skin. Int J Mol Sci. 2013;14(6):12222‐12248. Published 2013 Jun 7. doi:10.3390/ijms140612222

US EPA. 2020. Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation And Sun Exposure | US EPA.  Available at:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2020. Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation. Available at:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2020. Sunscreen: How To Help Protect Your Skin From The Sun. Available at:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2020. Shedding More Light On Sunscreen Absorption.Available at: <

Sisley Brand Review: A $2,000 Skincare Routine

luxury skin

Luxury skincare is about the texture or feel of the product, the expensive packaging, and spa-like fragrances. You'd expect that with a hefty price tag, there will be mind-blowing results. But that is not always the case, and sometimes you find that out the annoying way: by shelling out the cash and the product does nothing for you.

On the flip side, the product can be so good that it's almost painful to have to keep re-purchasing it to maintain those results. Luxury products are nice to have, but BY NO MEANS do you have to spend so much to achieve good skin.

Sisley is one of the most high-end, luxurious brands on the market. There is something so elegant about using their products, and almost ritualistic. I came across the Sisley Paris Spa while in Paris and was lured in by the sophisticated facade, soft lights, and the chic French aestheticians. I left with some gems, but also acquired products over several months.

Sisley range

As a whole, their products are gentle and comfortable to have on. Sisley is for "good skin." Meaning, if you have major skin concerns (blackheads, texture, acne), Sisley ingredients aren't potent enough. Their composition are mostly botanicals and extracts. One thing that I found that Sisley EXCELS in is their anti-aging products. They certainly deliver plump, fresh, glowing, youthful looking skin.

Here's a tip: if you are interested in ANY of Sisley's products, know that they DO GO BAD. The products are good for about 3-6 months. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Their ingredients are natural, and have limited preservatives. So make sure to use it if you invest!

Read on to see my full brand review of products that have become staples in my routine, and ones that I wouldn't recommend (and actually prefer more affordable alternatives).

Botanical  D-Tox - $250

Instructions state to use every night to detox the skin. After multiple consecutive uses, my pores appeared smaller. Once I stopped, results reversed. Keep in mind, results are only contingent on repurchasing this pricey product.

Would I repurchase? No. I much prefer chemical exfoliators and stronger toners to brighten my skin and help with texture and help with dark spots. This wasn't a stand out product.

Hydra-Global Serum - $275

This is one of the better anti-aging products Sisley has to offer. The combination of extracts truly delivers. I have less fine lines around my eyes. My skin is firm, and lifted. It is a smooth gel texture, with no fragrance. This one is great for any skin type that needs extra revitalization.

Would I repurchase? The price is preventing me from repurchasing after I finish it. I'll see how long the results last until I can't go without it any longer!

Express Flower Gel - $144

The instructions say to tissue off the remainder, but I leave it and let it sink into my skin. The results were nice. My skin did look even in the morning, and definitely moisturized and soft. It is thin, gel-like, non-sticky, and has no fragrance. This isn’t my top Sisley mask. It is incredibly hydrating, but doesn't do anything that a more affordable moisturizer wouldn't.

Would I repurchase? No. I wasn't enamored with the results. A comparable product is the Belif Aqua Bomb.

Buff and Wash Facial Gel - $123

This is one of the most gentle physical exfoliants I've used. It has a fresh, slightly citrus scent that deeply cleans congested pores. It is gritty, but soft because of the soothing gel vehicle. 

Would I repurchase? Yes, already have! I enjoy a physical exfoliant for days that I need an intense wash. It doesn't feel like sandpaper, doesn't strip your skin, and doesn't feel dry after use. It is gentle enough for a morning exfoliation.

Cleansing Milk with Sage - $155

I am always looking to find a cleanser that isn’t stripping, doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight and dry, makes me feel CLEAN, and doesn’t burn my eyes. I use 2 pumps and it removes remaining mascara without stinging my eyes. It is soft and perfect for a double cleanse routine. It's great for the sensitive type. I don't recommend using it with a cleansing device. 

Would I repurchase? Yes. This cleanser hits all the marks for me. It has a baby powder-like scent, but fancier.

Black Rose Cream Mask - $166

This is Sisley's hero product. It is my absolute favorite item from the brand. I leave it on as a thick, overnight mask. The scent is divine. I woke up looking glowing, refreshed, healthy, moisturized, etc. I wish there was much product, but I like that it is in a tube (more hygienic).

Would I repurchase? Yes. Definitely. This doesn't resurface your skin and doesn't target breakouts or texture. It's perfect for anti-aging and to help the look of sallow, dull, tired uneven skin.

Restorative Facial Cream with Shea Butter Day and Night - $195

Good for night use, not for morning. It is too thick for a day moisturizer for me. My makeup would melt off. But, it really is restorative. If I had marks or scabs from a breakout (or me picking at my skin), they were less red and raw in the morning. Using this during my nighttime routine gave me that “at home spa” that I indulge in. It has a gentle scent and a buttery feel. 

Would I repurchase? No. I could achieve these benefits from a less expensive product with shea butter as an ingredient. There are similar face moisturizers that are just as nourishing and affordable.

Black Rose Precious Facial Oil - $240

You can’t find gravity...signs of aging will occur. This is another product that you need to consistently use to see actual results. For an oil, it is lightweight and absorbed nicely. The scent is rich, and the glow is instant after application. However, when it comes to anti-aging, lifestyle, reducing stress, sleep, and water prevents a tired, sallow look more than any facial product. 

Would I repurchase? I don't like facial oils, and this is strictly a matter of preference. I have oily skin and would never use an oil in the morning. When used in the evening, it is like a luxurious ritual.

Eye and Lip Contour Balm - $144

Although it is moisturizing under the eyes and my concealer glides right on after use, the texture is like petroleum jelly. It almost felt like water, and went bad real quick. It really did nothing for my lips. It was slippy and faded so quickly.

Would I repurchase? This one is a hard pass. The price is insane for a moisturizing jelly. It smells like nothing. I am certain there is a product out there that is a fraction of the price, and performs way better.

Moisturizer with Cucumber - $179

This is a very thick moisturizer. I prefer a gel texture based on my skin type. It took a while for it to sink into my skin and I wouldn’t wear it before makeup (again, oily skin woes). It sits on the skin, but of course smells lovely. 

Would I repurchase? No. Too expensive and too heavy/rich of a texture. This would be better for very dry, dehydrated skin. Not my favorite.