If there is anything I know for sure it’s that getting a tan is never healthy.

The “color” of the skin after sun exposure is your body’s response to injury caused by UV rays .The American Cancer Society reports that more than 1 million non-melanoma cases of skin cancer diagnosed annually in the U.S. are sun-related. But the sunscreen use is at its highest ever and we follow advice from professionals and apply sunscreen diligently.

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Why such a grim statistic?

There has been a lot of confusion surrounding the subject. The FDA since 2007 has been working on the rating system for all the sunscreens, checking on stability of the ingredients used, researching the importance of using antioxidants.   The FDA’s fabled sun-protection monograph will come out in its most complete form in early 2012, it is rumored.

Among other things, this exhaustive document (290 pages currently) will address criteria for measuring and labeling UVA protection, as well as claims regarding the terms waterproof (“impossible,” say most dermotologists) versus water-resistant, and sunblock versus sunscreen.

For right now I will list few things we can do to best protect ourselves and still enjoyed our beautiful surroundings

READ THE SUNSCREEN LABELS

Choose a sunscreen effective against both ultraviolet-A and ultraviolet-B (UVA and UVB) light, typically identified as a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen. With the best intentions, most of us look at the SPF rating and not much else. But the SPF, or sun protection factor, relates solely to the degree of protection a formula provides against UVB rays. UVB known as the sunburn causing rays damage the superficial layer of the dermis (which may contribute to skin cancer) and generally result in a sunburn.

LEARN ABOUT UV RAYS AND THE WAY THE EFFECT OUR SKIN

UVA -rays account for 95 percent of the ultraviolet radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface, presents a subtle threat to our skin. Unlike UVB caused sunburn, it creates no discomfort and its impact. But UVA rays have a longer wavelength, allowing them to penetrate deeper into the skin, destroying collagen and elastin, which contributes to photoaging (sagging skin, wrinkles) and triggering cell mutations, which may initiate skin cancer. One more important factor about UVA rays, unlike UVB light, can also penetrate through most glass. As a result, your skin won’t get burned by sunlight coming through a window on the plane or a car, but you would be at risk for accelerated aging.

UNDERSTAND THE INGREDIENTS USED

The FDA so far has recognized 17 sunscreen ingredients as “Generally Recognized As Safe and Effective” (GRASE) against UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens absorb, reflect or scatter UV rays. Active ingredients in so-called “chemical” sunscreens (salicylates, cinnamates, oxybenzone, octylcrylene, et al.) absorb UV light and prevent it from impacting your skin.

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide physically reflect or scatter sunlight, directing it away from your skin. AVOBENZONE sometimes marketed under the name Parasol 1789, Helioplex and Meroxyl are liked by dermatologists because they are photo-stabilized meaning more stable so they won’t break down as quickly.

HOW MUCH SUNSCREEN SHOULD YOU APPLY?

The recommendation is one ounce for full-body coverage, an amount that would fit in a shot glass. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people should “generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin.” Be especially vigilant in treating thin-skin areas such as noses, ears and, for sandal-wearers, the tops of feet. Applying sunscreen too thinly could minimize its ability to absorb or reflect UV light.

WHEN SHOULD SUNSCREEN BE APPLIED?

On dry skin between 20 and 30 minutes before sun exposure begins giving your skin enough time to absorb it. Some skin care experts say as often as every 2 hours. Consider reapplying after periods of profuse sweating .One more important information sunscreen applied in the morning, by lunch several hours later pretty much ceased to be effective. Mineral powder foundations with the key ingredients physical blockers zinc oxide and titanium dioxide come to our rescue.

WHAT ABOUT ANTIOXIDANTS?

Unfortunately the use of sunscreen could expose us to formation of free radicals. 
We can protect ourselves by using topical antioxidants like vitamin C or 
idobenonon with high concentration found in Prevage MD.

We need to apply those products every morning under the sunscreen. 


So… as much as I strive to keep my ego in place these days I conclude that is OK to be a Sunscreen Snob. Not all sunscreens are created equal. We all need to stay informed and current about what is best for our skin and body.

Ask your trusted esthetician to be your guide in getting the best and most effective tools against UV rays. Armed with the right products and knowledge to go outside and just be. Then, you have done the best you could to protect yourself … and that is enough.

What do you think? Tell us in the comment field below.

Namaste,

Elzbieta Greene
Esthetician, 
Grand Beauty Spa