Skincare Basics 101: AM Routine with Sunscreen and Antioxidants: The Ultimate Duo for Enhanced UV Protection -Kristin Scord, PA-C

Want to start a well-rounded skincare regimen and not know where to begin?
This is what this mini-series is about!
This series will start with the “Basics” for some great starter regimens for most skin types.
In later posts, more specific problem areas will be touched on and recommendations for those concerns! We’ll start with the foundational pieces and build from there with each series!
Skincare Basics 101: AM Routine with Sunscreen and Antioxidants:
The Ultimate Duo for Enhanced UV Protection

One of the best things you can do for your skin is to protect it first and foremost. Where does this fall in your regimen? First thing in the morning as part of your AM routine!
In general, a great AM routine starts with washing your face (removes any natural oils or overnight products for better penetration of actives), followed by a topical antioxidant serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen.

So let’s begin with skincare foundational piece #1!
1. Sunscreen
Of course, this seems obvious for a dermatology office to say, but it’s true! Sunscreen addresses EVERYONE’S concerns and has multiple benefits. It helps prevent skin cancer, it protects against unwanted hyperpigmentation, slows accelerated skin aging, and works to fight wrinkles!
Sunscreen should be worn EVERY day. We are always bombarded with UV rays and other environmental factors, even when at home or in the office with sunlight from windows, driving, and even HEV blue light from our screens! A great rule of thumb is to apply sunscreen daily to the face, neck, ears, and hands. If you have a high sun exposure job or hobby, apply to sun-exposed areas, wear hats, sun protective clothing and consider a sun-protective supplement like Heliocare (I’ll briefly touch on this in a bit)!
In this post, we’ll cover some of our favorite mineral sunscreens that we love here at NBDPS to help you pick the one best suited for you!
Let’s hit on some highlights:
Mineral vs Chemical
I personally recommend mineral-only protection, meaning the active protective ingredients are zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide and excluding chemical sunscreen actives.
Mineral sunscreens are often referred to as “physical sunscreens” because the mineral base sits on top of the skin and creates a shield to reflect UV radiation. Because it remains on the surface and is not absorbed by the skin, it is often very well tolerated by all skin types, even those who are sensitive!
Chemical sunscreens include a variety of chemical actives that have to be absorbed by the body, (studies have shown to actually be able to find elements of this in the bloodstream) and then convert the UV rays to heat which the skin then gives off. Seems a little backward! We have to absorb the chemicals, to have a chemical reaction, after having absorbed UV rays? Why not just block it right off the bat?
Mineral sunscreens work as a barrier-like defense immediately on the skin and don’t get absorbed. Yay!
Just as mentioned above, as much as we care about what’s IN our sunscreen that can help us, we also should check and make sure certain things are NOT in our sunscreen that might hurt us.
Check out this comprehensive blog by NBDPS Dermatologist Dr. Robin Lewallen regarding the recent studies on toxic ingredient Benzene in common sunscreens and make sure your favorite is in the clear!
Another source to check out sunscreen safety is’s Skin Deep Sunscreen Guide:
Sun Protection Factor
The next part of picking your daily sunscreen is the SPF or Sun Protection Factor. This relates to the time that your skin will be protected from UVB rays (that cause burns and skin cancer). Side note: UVA rays are also absorbed, but deeper and are more responsible for premature skin aging and wrinkles.
A general rule for this is, if your skin would burn in 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure, the SPF should protect you for 10 x amount of SPF = in minutes. For example: 10 x SPF 30 = 300 minutes of protection.
It is recommended to wear SPF 30 or greater daily and reapply as needed as defined by your type of sunscreen. SPF 30 is expected to protect against 97% of harmful rays, SPF 50 against 98%.

The Extras
So which sunscreen will be your favorite? There are a lot of different categories for sunscreens to fall under such as tinted/untinted, oil-free, fragrance-free, good for sensitive skin, water-resistant, anti-aging, or moisturizing skincare extras, and more! To help you decipher your options, I put together a quick cheat sheet link below with our current lineup of mineral sunscreens! We have these in-store and online so you can try a new one today or stock up on your favorites at any time!
Here’s a link to my more in-depth Guide to NBDPS Mineral Sunscreens for more details:
Sunscreen as a Supplement?
OK, there is NO replacement for topical sunscreen; however, there is a supplement that helps protect your skin from the sun from the inside out that you can do in addition to sunscreen!
Enter: Heliocare!
Heliocare is a once-a-day supplement that uses powerful plant antioxidants in the Polypodium leucotomos extract (PLE) to fight free radicals from UVA, UVB, and visual HEV blue light by helping the skin maintain its structure and immune response against sun damage. The idea is fewer sunburns, less long-term damage, and 365-day protection that won’t get washed away with sweat and water!
We love to recommend this to people who have jobs or hobbies with high sun exposure, going on vacation to sunny (and even snowy!) areas, or even those with sun-sensitive conditions like melasma or sun allergy. But it’s safe for anyone to take!
For those with a history of sun-damaged skin and/or skin cancers, we recommend Heliocare Advanced which has additional Vitamin B3 (nicotinamide) which has been shown to reduce the risk of new Basal Cell Carcinomas and Squamous Cell Carcinomas!
HelioCare at NBDPS Store

Learn more at:
2. Antioxidants
While sunscreen is actually the last step in the AM skincare routine, your antioxidant serum comes in second, right after washing your face.

Skin cells continuously make oxidative by-products called free radicals as a result of natural metabolism and various external aggressors. The topical application of an antioxidant can help mitigate these free radicals and help keep skin cells healthy! There are many types of antioxidants and some are more potent than others! Here are our favorites and their additional benefits!
Our favorites:
Alumier EverActive C&E + Peptide serum
A serum form is the most potent. This is a high-strength vitamin C and vitamin E serum that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, revitalizing skin. The antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin E neutralize free radicals and protect against UV damage, while vitamin C and MATRIXYL® Synthe’6® (peptide complex) strengthen and brighten skin. Many vitamin C serums oxidize in their bottles, turning a brownish color while they are on the shelf or at home. When oxidized, vitamin C is no longer beneficial to the skin. EverActive C&E™ + Peptide stays fresh because its unique delivery system ensures the 15% vitamin C complex is always optimally active. The vitamin C crystals are kept separate in a unique cap and only mixed into the bottle of serum when you are ready to use it! Genius!
Alumier Everactive C & E + Peptides at NBDPS Store

MD McNeill Daily Antioxidant Cream
For patients who cannot tolerate Vitamin C or have more sensitive skin, this is an excellent potent and soothing alternative. Three powerful antioxidants combine in this moisturizing formula clinically proven to calm and soothe skin, visibly reducing the appearance of redness, fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness and pore size. Great for sensitive skin types like rosacea!
• 90% Green Tea Polyphenols (the highest purified form available) help to reduce the potential for irritation and calm skin redness
• Resveratrol, an extremely effective antioxidant found in red wine known for its anti-aging properties, protects against free radical damage
• Caffeine USP enhances the antioxidant properties of the green tea
M.D. Antioxidant Cream at NBDPS Store

Finding the right skincare that’s good for your skin type and that you enjoy using daily can be fun and rewarding! Come visit or call our office and we can help! Keep an eye out for our next blog to help you set up your PM routine!

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