Rodan + Fields / Blog / Doctor's Notes

Let’s Talk Sun Damage + Sun Protection

Young woman in a bikini top lying at pool side in the sun.

Summer is finally here! Skin care enthusiasts already know that when it comes to summer skincare, it’s all about sunscreen, covering up with protective clothing, hats and avoiding the sun. Especially during the hottest, sunniest months of the year. After all, sun exposure is your skin’s worst enemy when it comes to aging. Here, we’ll share info about UV rays, tips to help you avoid sun damage, hacks for sun protection and anti-aging, after-sun care and how to find the right products for your skin type and climate.  

UV Rays 

There are two main types of rays that are responsible for damaging your skin: UVA and UVB. UVA, because of their long wavelength, penetrate deeper into the skin and trigger the breakdown of collagen. This ultimately causes fine lines and wrinkles to appear. The second type, UVB, is less penetrating and tends to cause the feeling of burning on the surface of the skin, resulting in redness (sometimes called solar erythema).  UVA is much more common year-round because the atmosphere’s ozone layer, and clouds prevent a lot of the UVB from reaching the ground. “Whether it is cloudy, rainy, or bright, you need your sun protection every day because every day is ‘sunday’ as far as your skin is concerned,” says Dr. Katie Rodan.  

Hacks for Sun Protection 


The best defense for sun exposure is to avoid going out in the sun, especially between 10am and 2pm when the sun is most intense. Cover up by wearing a hat, sunglasses, long sleeved shirt and long pants or skirt.  

Remember to apply your sunscreen in the morning as the last step in your a.m. skincare routine. Apply a generous amount of product to your entire face, including your ears and neck. You want to use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.  

Keep Sunscreen On-Hand 

Stash spare sunscreen bottles around your home, at your desk, and in your bag. This ensures you’ll never be without a bottle when it’s time to reapply. It can help to keep extra sunscreen in areas that are in sight, such as your bathroom counter, as a reminder to apply. When you stick to a skincare regimen, sunscreen naturally becomes part of your daily routine. 

Tip: Check expiration date – if expired throw it away and buy a new product. If you see any sign that the product has separated (a lot of clear liquid on the surface or texture like cottage cheese) or looks weird it was probably exposed to high temperatures and should not be used. 


Reapply your sunscreen every two hours. Touch-ups are vital, because even if you’re inside most of the day and even if it’s cloudy, sun damage can still occur. No matter what kind of formula you use for daily SPF, make sure to top it off throughout the day to avoid sunburn and skin damage.  

Protective Clothes + Hats 

Clothing with long sleeves and high necklines are helpful for sun protection, which is why you should consider wearing them on even the sunniest days! Technology-driven fabrics with UVA and UVB protection are often lightweight and super comfortable around the house and when exercising. Wide brim hats and baseball caps are fashionable options when planning for a day out in the sun.    

After-Sun Care 

After a long day in the sun, it’s all about a little self-care for your skin. Indulge in a moisturizing mask to impart hydration. Slather on a rich body cream before bed to keep your skin soft and smooth. Give your skin a little extra love if you got a lot of sun and make sure you don’t skip your nighttime routine. The more moisture, the better. Don’t forget to stay hydrated on the inside as well by drinking lots of water. 


Choose the right products for your skin type and climate. If you live in a dry climate, you may want to use a serum with hyaluronic acid before applying a rich moisturizer. If you live in a hot, humid climate, a Vitamin C serum and a lotion texture moisturizer is the way to go.  

Sunspots and Sunburns 

What should you do if you’ve developed a sunburn? Cool baths or showers can help relieve your skin. Pat dry post-bath or shower but leave a little water on your skin. Then, apply a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or another calming ingredient to help soothe your skin. Avoid products with benzocaine, as these may irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction. If you’re really sunburned, taking an aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce swelling and discomfort may help. When it comes to facial skin care, avoid actives, that is, acids, Vitamin C and Retinol while your skin heals for a few days.  

If you’re dealing with a post-sun sun spot, you want to use a vitamin C serum during the day to help fade it. At night, incorporate a retinol cream into your evening skincare routine. Be consistent with it and continue to wear your sunscreen every day and the spot should fade. Be diligent about wearing a hat and staying under an umbrella when you’re at the pool or beach.  

Remember: Wear Sunscreen — Everywhere, Every Day.  

When applying and reapplying your sunscreen, you want to be careful not to skip often-overlooked areas. You want to apply your SPF to your skin at home, before you put on your swimsuit to get the best coverage. It also helps to have it set in a bit before you take a dip in the ocean or the pool. You want to make sure you bring waterproof sunscreen with you if you’ll be in the water.  

Always apply it to your hands, neck, feet — and even along the part of your hair to protect your scalp from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. Enlist the help of a friend or family member to assist with applying sunscreen to places you can’t reach, like your back.  

Wishing you a safe, fun-in-the-sun summer!

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