There's an ideal sunscreen for every occasion. Here's how to find yours!
• During the day, skin fights off damage-causing pollution and UV light
• At night, skin repairs daily damage and regenerates itself
• Choose products that work with skin’s natural rhythms to achieve your healthiest skin
Need UV protection? No problem! Use this easy-to-follow guide to find the right sunscreen for any occasion.
by Dr. Claudia Aguirre
For a star that’s been around for billions of years, the sun sure knows how to stay in the news. A recent headline claimed that sunshine can prevent cancer. This sort of news may seem paradoxical to our understanding of the sun as a carcinogen- but it is based on recent scientific findings that Vitamin D, made in the skin with the help of UV rays, may help prevent colon, breast, even skin cancer. So does this mean that you should ditch the sunscreen this summer?
The answer is a resounding no! The truth is most people do not apply the recommended amount of sunscreen, and even fewer reapply thereafter. Combined with the fact that sunscreens do not prevent 100% of UV rays, it’s safe to say that most people will inevitably get some rays directly on their skin.
The key is balance- spending time in the great outdoors can be greatly beneficial and fun, but be smart about daylight defense. Use sun protection throughout the year to ensure your skin gets the proper protection while you worry about other things, like running, biking or playing outside.
The Low-Down on D
The Vitamin D Dilemma is no new topic. Health experts have praised its benefits for decades, even calling it the “sunshine vitamin.” But it is recent discoveries on the correlation between D deficiency and cancer risk that has made it a hot topic again.
Thousands of people have been found to be deficient, but there are many reasons behind this. Skin color, geographic attributes, even exercise and age are all factors. The U.S. government is currently looking into updating the recommended daily amount before the end of summer.
So what to do this summer? Don’t hibernate, get out there and enjoy it! There are sophisticated formulations that prevent UVA and UVB damage, while providing enhanced photoprotection with anti-oxidants and soothing and hydrating botanical extracts.
Thinking about sun protection doesn’t have to be confined to the odd beach trip. Anytime there is daylight, there are UV rays, even on cloudy days.
UVA penetrates deep into the skin and is the major contributor to skin damage and wrinkles. Both UVA and UVB can contribute to the development of skin cancer – so it’s important to find broad-spectrum coverage for full protection.
Most UV blockers do not prevent sun-induced free radical formation, leaving skin vulnerable to inflammation and premature aging. Antioxidants in sunscreen formulations may help absorb those free radicals, fighting potential damage that results in photoaging.
Of course, vitamins themselves may be susceptible to breaking down with UV rays. Look for ingredient technology that addresses this issue. Encapsulated vitamins are one way around this - the vitamins are stabilized within a capsule until subjected to UV radiation, after which these antioxidant vitamins are released to work alongside the sunscreens and provide enhanced photo protection. Vitamin D can be acquired through many means. Recently I started buying mushrooms exposed to UV, making them a Vitamin D powerhouse.
So remember, while Vitamin D is essential for health and immunity, don’t skimp on the sunscreen which has a proven track record of preventing skin cancer. A healthy diet, exercise, spending time outdoors and preventing sun damage will yield happy skin all year-round. Consider yourself D-briefed!
• A sunburn is skin’s defensive response to severe UV damage
• The best treatments are hydration and protection
• A single sunburn may result in skin cancer years later
We’ve all done it: paired too much time in the sun with too little sunscreen, ending the day with a red, sore sunburn. (Oops.) You’re probably well aware that a sunburn equals skin damage, but let’s take a closer look at what that means – and what you should do next.
What exactly is a sunburn?
A sunburn is the skin’s response to ultraviolet (UV) exposure – and an indicator of severe damage. Just 10 minutes of intense UV exposure can set skin’s defense system in motion, ultimately causing any of the following signs:
Why is my skin peeling?
Peeling after a sunburn is one of skin’s self-defense mechanisms: it’s your body’s way of getting rid of the damaged cells that are at risk of "losing control" and becoming cancerous. This mass death of cells results in whole layers of damaged skin peeling off, to be replaced by other cells underneath those layers.
I have a sunburn. What do I do now?
First of all, get out of the sun – and don’t risk further sun exposure until your skin has healed.
Most importantly, give sunburned skin time to heal! For the next couple weeks, stay out of the sun whenever possible and cover sunburned areas with clothing or sunscreen if you must risk exposure. Plus, remember that skin is a great record keeper. Even if you can’t see the damage, UV exposure can cause skin cancer years down the road – so prevention truly is the best medicine!
• Hydration and UV protection are the keys to maintaining healthy skin during the summer
• Sun-damaged skin needs extra hydration and nutrients to help it get back to normal
Between soaring temperatures and the sun’s rays, skin takes a beating during the summer. But it doesn’t have to: follow these easy guidelines to maintain hydrated, healthy, protected skin all summer long.
1. Exfoliate for smooth, clear skin
Exfoliating removes dead, dulling skin debris to prevent congestion and help improve the performance of your other skin care products.
When: Perform in the mornings prior to toner, moisturizer, SPF and make-up application.
(Pro tip: exfoliating helps your make-up last longer!)
Don’t forget: After exfoliating, always apply moisturizer to seale in hydration – and of course, always shield freshly exfoliated skin with a Broad Spectrum SPF.
Our top picks: Daily Microfoliant, Daily Superfoliant
2. Keep skin hydrated
Hydration is more than just moisturizer! For optimal hydration, customize your regimen:
• First, find the daily moisturizer that’s right for your skin condition.
• Add a toner like Antioxidant HydraMist for an added boost of hydration. This is also great for travel!
• Up your regimen’s level of hydration with an intensive masque once or twice a week.
3. Make friends with H2O
Rising temperatures + time spent in the sun = dehydration, not just for your skin but for your entire body! Fortunately, the old adage holds true: eight glasses a day of plain, filtered water (more when you’re physically active) helps maintain hydration levels for your skin and body.
4. When in doubt, apply more sunscreen
Most people don’t apply nearly enough sunscreen. Here are some guidelines to staying safe and protected:
• Use a tablespoon of SPF for your face and neck. For body, apply enough to fill a shot glass.
• Reapply every two hours when you’re out in the sun.
• If possible, avoid direct sun from mid-morning to late afternoon, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
Fortunately, today’s sophisticated sunscreen formulas let you choose sun protection that works with your skin condition!
Our top picks: Prisma Protect SPF 30 or Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50.
5. Soothe over-exposed skin
Forgot to reapply sunscreen? Don’t fret! The sun damage is already done, but soothing and hydrating sunburned skin can help prevent peeling and reduce redness. Hydrate irritated skin with a spritz of Multi-Active Toner (pro tip: keep it in the fridge for a cooling effect)!
6. Repair and treat sun damage
What causes it: UV light causes photoaging in the form of brown spots, coarse skin and wrinkles – even when you don’t get a sunburn. Exposure to sunlight triggers a cascade of skin-damaging effects, resulting in inflammation, production of reactive oxygen molecules that affect healthy cell growth, and stimulation of collagen-destroying enzymes.
What to do: First and foremost, opt for a fake tan rather than risking sun damage! Nourish skin with damage-fighting treatments like BioLumin-C Serum, MultiVitamin Power Recovery Masque and Overnight Retinol Repair.
• Not all sunscreens are equal. To find the best formula for you, pay attention to the labels.
• Your body is exposed to UV radiation every day, whether you're indoors or out. Wearing a generous amount daily helps protect your skin from premature signs of aging, as well as skin cancer.
Healthy, smooth, even-toned skin – and good health – are the trade-offs for golden tans and too much time in the sun. Surprisingly, many people who think they are protecting themselves are following outdated, inaccurate advice that is jeopardizing their long-term skin health. Let's go over some of the things you should know.
Not all sunscreens protect against both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays.
Many people think that applying any old SPF will keep us safe from both kinds of the sun's harmful rays. Unfortunately, this is not true. To understand why, look closely at the labels, ingredients and physical forms of the products you are buying.
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) indicates how long it will take for UVB rays – the main cause of sunburn – to redden the skin. For example, SPF 15 means it will take 15 times longer for skin to redden with the product on than without it. This has nothing to do with UVA rays, which are the same rays emitted by tanning booths. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply, and play a major part in accelerating the signs of skin aging and generating skin cancer.
To protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, don't just buy a product with an SPF of 15 or higher. Make sure it is labeled "Broad Spectrum," which means it contains a combination of ingredients known to protect skin against both types of UV rays. These could be chemical or physical sunscreens or a combination thereof. Chemical sunscreens (e.g., Avobenzone, Oxybenzone), work by absorbing ultraviolet (UV) radiation and physical sunscreens (e.g., Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide), reflect or scatter UV radiation.
Chemical or physical sunscreen?
It's a matter of preference. Chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin and are usually more popular because they feel lighter and look less noticeable. They use active ingredients like Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Oxybenzone and Helioplex.
Physical sunscreens, or mineral sunscreens, sit on the surface of the skin. They can feel heavier and look more noticeable, but they provide added coverage and are more resistant to sweating and swimming. Look for active ingredients like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to identify them.
A base tan does not protect you from the sun.
There is no such thing as a safe tan. By definition, a suntan is your skin's defense to being harmed by UV exposure. Your cells respond to the affront by producing more melanin (pigment), and your skin darkens as a result. There is nothing healthy or preventive to be gained from trying to acquire a base tan.
Sunscreen isn't just for the summer.
Sun damage doesn’t just happen during the summer months or while at the beach. Photo damage or UV exposure (which causes aging) can occur from exposure to daylight through clouds, rain, glass and even fluorescent indoor lighting. This is why protecting the skin every day is imperative. Roughly 90 percent of photo aging is preventable by wearing SPF daily, so slather up!
You're probably not using enough sunscreen.
As a general rule, creams and lotions tend to deliver better protection than spray formulations, which most people don't apply enough of to get adequate coverage. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a "liberal use" of SPF 30 (picture a shot glass full of lotion) for the body, and reapplying every two hours (or after swimming or exercising). For the face, the rule of thumb is one teaspoon of sunscreen to deliver the SPF protection on the package.
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