Protect the Skin You’re In!

August 10, 2019

We all know that we’re supposed to use sun protection when we venture out. And that’s not just during the Summer months. Even when it’s overcast, the sun’s rays can do damage to our biggest organ… our skin. The unfortunate reality is despite this common knowledge, millions of people continue to venture outside without proper protection. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly 200,000 new cases of melanoma will diagnosed this year. Invasive melanoma is the fifth most common cancer for both men and women in 2019.

And the most interesting part about those numbers is that they don’t have to be so high. Sun protection is available everywhere, from local drug stores to high end department stores. So, for the sake of argument, let’s imagine that the problem is lack of education. Let’s assume that despite generations of advertisements urging us to protect our skin, we just can’t seem to grasp the habit. To make matters more confusing, the wide range of sunscreens available make it impossible to pick the one that’s best for our needs. What’s the difference between UVA and UVB anyway, and what product best protects from each, or both?

Jennifer Christie has been working with a wide range of skin tones and issues for years, and for her sunscreen is non-negotiable. “There’s simply no reason to leave your home unprotected. It takes seconds to apply sunscreen and prevent a lifetime of skin problems.”

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UVA & UVB? “UVA equals UV Aging. These are rays that cause tanning. They also cause skin damage and wrinkles. UVB equals UV Burning. These are rays that cause sunburn and potentially skin cancer. They may also contribute to deep blemishes on the skin.”

HOW TO WE PROTECT AGAINST BOTH? “To protect against both look for “broad spectrum” on the bottle.”

WHY DO WE NEED TO WEAR SUNSCREEN YEAR ROUND? “It’s important to apply sun protection even on cloudy days. Ultra violet rays penetrate through the clouds. We cannot see UV rays, because their wavelengths are shorter than the light we can see. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your neck, chest, hands and lips. They need SPF coverage just as much as the face does.”

DOES A HIGHER SPF (sun protection factor) MEAN BETTER COVERAGE? “The SPF number indicates how long the sun’s UV (ultra violet) radiation would take to redden your skin when using the product exactly as directed including reapplication – versus the amount of time without any sunscreen. So ideally, with SPF 30 it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. Products with high SPFs often create a false sense of security. People who use them tend to stay out in the sun too long before replying or go without reapplying. And they may think they don’t need to seek shade, wear a hat or cover up. They end up getting a lot more UV damage.  I can not stress enough the importance of applying sunblock 30 mins before going in the sun, every 2 hours or immediately after getting out of the water.”

“Chemical sunscreen will sink into your skin. It has active ingredients designed to absorb UV rays. It can, however, be irritating to your skin so if you have a sensitive or reactive skin type this might not be ideal for you. Physical (mineral) sunscreen sits on top of the skin. It typically contains ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to reflect UV rays away from the skin. This type is best for sensitive skin.”

Because different skin types have different needs, it’s important to pick a sunscreen formula that works best for your skin. No matter what, protect yourself. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, so take the time and apply protection. Your skin will thank you for it.