Sunscreens are an effective way of protecting your skin from the harmful Ultra-Violet (UV) rays of the sun. Even when wearing sunscreens, your skin will still tan. The American Medical Association recommends you wear at least an SPF of 15 on a daily basis, year around, to reduce the risk of sun damage and skin cancers. Recent medical guidelines recommend the usage of SPF 30 protection products from March through October in the northern hemisphere. Many clients prefer moisturizers and SPF in one product to make skin care quick, simple and effective.
SPF means sun protection factor and is an indicator of how much longer you can be in the sun before burning is seen with it than without it. Note the key words: “before burning or redness are visible.” This does not mean that you aren’t damaging your skin in the interim. Sun burns come from UVB damage. Long term this leads to skin cancers. While UVA rays are less likely to cause a burn they are considered the chief culprit behind wrinkling, leathering, skin discolorations and other aspects of “photo-aging.” Recent studies show that UVA exacerbates the UVB carcinogenic effects and may also induce some skin cancers including melanoma. Rubbing the area where the sun protection product is applied, sweating or exposure to water can cause the protection to be compromised. Some SPF products are water resistant but these can have a heavier feel to them.
Some physicians advise their clients that if you can see outside without a flashlight you need to be wearing SPF protection. This is a dramatic position change from 20 years ago when we only applied it when we were going to be out in the sun. Now SPF is part of morning care. Brush teeth, apply SPF. These habits will lead to maturing adults with younger looking skin and far fewer brown spots, white spots, textural changes and wrinkles. It’s a good thing.
Doctors say wrinkles are NOT normal - they are a sign of environmental damage - usually sun damage. Prevention is the best medicine.
How much SPF do you need? A Fitzpatrick guide tells you how at risk you are. Basically the paler your coloration the more sensitive to the sun you are. However all skins are subject to sun damage.
We women aren’t likely to remove our makeup and re-apply during the day just so we can refresh our SPF. We don't want to fuss with it. We want to do something simple in the morning and be pretty well set for the day. The good news is that It can be done without feeling like we are slathered with a heavy greasy product.
Traveling? Start wearing SPF around the clock about 3 days before departure. This will cause a build up in your skin and help prevent a damaging burn. The first burn will hurt and cause an immune reaction that leaves you open to infections and colds. The second burn sets you up for permanent cellular damage...prevention is much easier than repair. Some people think if they use a tanning bed to “jump-start” their tan this is safer. There are no studies that document this. UVA rays emitted in the tanning bed are more powerful than the UVA rays that occur naturally from the sun. What they are doing is expose their bodies at close range to intensive doses of UVA the aging ray as well as x-rays which are emitted from both ends of the bulb and EMF which is emitted from the magnetic ballast used by most tanning beds.
Want to know more about the UV danger level in your area today? Visit the Intellicast UV Report.