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CeraVe, derms and 'truth tellers' promote the use of SPF with 21-day challenge

Kelle Salle
05 May 2023

Although dermatologists recommend using SPF everyday, a study carried out in 2021 found that only 18% of people (globally) are applying SPF. To mark Sun Awareness Week (1-7 May), CeraVe are encouraging people to start wearing SPF daily, regardless of the weather, season or daily activities they are undertaking, with a 21-day challenge to form a new habit. The brand believes that the importance of using sunscreen every single day should never be underestimated.

We spoke to Dr Nkem Ugonabo, NYC Based Board Certified Dermatologist, Dr Alexis Granite, CeraVe Consultant Dermatologist and Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, CeraVe Consultant Doctor about the benefits of using SPF, the dangers of sun exposure and why CeraVe’s AM Facial Moisturising Lotion has one of the best formulations on the market.

We also spoke to Gizela Lascelles, General Manager CeraVe UK and Ireland, about the brand’s 21-day challenge and why they’ve partnered up with dermatologists to raise awareness of a very important cause.

Persistent sun exposure while failing to wear SPF can cause premature ageing with symptoms including wrinkling, changes in pigmentation (age spots and freckles), uneven skin texture and loss of skin tone and elasticity. “SPF stands for Sun Protective Factor. It corresponds to how much UV radiation is needed to produce sunburn on protected skin, compared to unprotected skin,” Ugonabo says. “The higher the SPF number, the higher the protection from sunburn. I recommend my patients use an SPF of at least 30 on the face and I always advise them to choose an SPF that is broad spectrum and water resistant.”


Dr Nken Ugonabo

Granite tells us that chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays and converting them to heat while mineral sunscreens provide a physical barrier from UV rays. “Broad spectrum sunscreens protect skin against ultraviolet (UV) light produced by the sun. The two main types of UV light that impact skin are UVA and UVB. Both are responsible for producing changes within the skin that can lead to suntan and sunburn, skin cancer and visible signs of ageing such as pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles.

To combat visible signs of ageing, consumers have to consider how the SPF they are using has been formulated. Both mineral and chemical sunscreens are highly effective. “Mineral sunscreens contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and they work by physically blocking the sun’s rays. Common chemical sunscreens include oxybenzone, avobenzone and octinoxate,” Granite says.

Dr Alexis Granite CeraVe

Dr Alexis Granite

According to Dr Granite, nearly 80% of the visible signs of ageing are due to UV exposure. While a daily routine that includes sun protection is essential, there are other ways consumers can incorporate sunscreen into their routines. “CeraVe offers a daytime moisturiser with SPF to protect and a night-time moisturiser to help restore the skin barrier overnight,” Ejikeme says.

For maximum protection, the recommended amount of sunscreen per application is the length of two fingers for your entire face and eyelids. The same amount should be applied for each skin type with the exact measurement being ¼ teaspoon. “A lot of people overlook the eyelids, neck and ears - sunscreen should always be applied on these areas,” Ejikeme says. For the full body, your sunscreen should be the size of a golf ball. It will also need to be reapplied every two hours when outdoors. Although sunscreen plays such an integral part in skin health, 23% of women aren’t using any products with SPF. Sun exposure on unprotected skin can have a negative impact on the skin barrier leading to increased irritation, peeling, sensitivity and inflammation. “Sun exposure is also associated with an increased risk of developing skin cancer as well as the worsening of conditions that are negatively impacted by the sun,” Ejikeme says.

Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme

To combat the negative effects of sun exposure, CeraVe added SPF to its AM Facial Moisturising Lotion in 2022. Not only does the lotion protect the skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation, it also contains skin strengthening ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. “The lotion is ideal for those who want to take a simpler approach to skincare - it reduces the number of steps in your morning routine without sacrificing any efficacy,” Ejikeme says.

For Sun Awareness Week 2023, CeraVe is encouraging people to start wearing SPF daily with their #FaceItLikeADerm campaign. As a brand that was developed with and recommended by dermatologists, CeraVe are vastly aware of how important it is to use SPF every day. “We created this campaign in response to the shocking statistics about sunscreen such as only ⅕ of people wearing SPF on a daily basis. #FaceItLikeADerm goes beyond traditional marketing to educate consumers on skin health and positively influence the creation of healthy skin habits,” Lascelles says.

The brand’s recent studies show that 100% of dermatologists surveyed worldwide recommend wearing SPF on a daily basis. To #FaceItLikeADerm means to apply SPF daily, regardless of the weather. They have partnered with top dermatologists across the globe to further help drive and empower consumers to make the best decisions for their skin. “From quizzes and self-assessments to a range of resources online and of course, offering expertly formulated products that not only provide optimal UV protection but are suitable for all skin types and tones - our aim is to help consumers understand their skin and choose the right products for their specific needs,” Lascelles says.


The inspiration behind the 21-day challenge is the idea that it takes 21 days of consecutive activity to form a new habit. From the 1 May, consumers are being encouraged to #FaceItLikeADerm with the 21 Day SPF challenge across all of CeraVe’s social platforms. “The challenge puts dermatologists’ advice into practice by committing to applying SPF every day for 21 days and sharing this on social media platforms to spread this positive message with the masses, in the hopes of encouraging healthy skin habits,” Lascelles adds.

To kick off the campaign and inspire consumers to take part in the challenge, two of the internet’s favourite truth tellers (Dude with Sign and Dudette with Sign) joined CeraVe and 50 of social media’s most-followed dermatologists in New Orleans for a takeover of Jackson Square (main image). “Both truth tellers shared signs with medically backed skincare and sun protection advice ahead of the annual American Academy of Dermatology Congress. They paraded around Jackson Square to take sunscreen education (and samples) to the streets,” Lascelles says.

SPF continues to generate buzz in the beauty industry, but with a lot of statistics highlighting consumers’ misconceptions and minimal concern for their skin’s health, could education around sun exposure be better? As part of their commitment to providing therapeutic skincare for all, CeraVe are making dermatological advice more accessible and digestible by educating consumers on the damage sun exposure can cause. “We aim to provide people with the tools to make better decisions for their skin. We also want to raise more awareness of the expert knowledge of dermatologists and warm people about the impact of sun exposure,” Lascelles says. With the #FaceItLikeADerm campaign, CeraVe hope to increase the number of people applying SPF daily by tapping into new communication tools and platforms such as TikTok to educate younger audiences on a very important topic.

For more information about CeraVe, visit the brand’s website.

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