Summer is winding down and the kiddies are headed back to school. For some, that means the SPF gets put away on a shelf somewhere until next summer. DO NOT DO THIS.
We are exposed to ultraviolet light ALL YEAR ROUND. This means we should be protecting our skin from sun damage 24/7 365 days a year. Driving in the car, walking into the store and sitting by a window are all sneaky ways that photo damage can occur.
Many people think that if they don't get a burn, they don't get damage. That's NOT true. UVB rays cause the burn but only reach the skin's surface. UVA rays penetrate all the way down into the dermis (deepest layer of skin) and cause hyperpigmentation (brown spots) and the breakdown of collagen and elastin. This leads to wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin and uneven skin tone.
Did you know that the SPF rating on your bottle, jar or can of sunscreen is ONLY for UVB rays? The SPF doesn't account for UVA rays. The FDA is currently working on regulation for a system to rate sunscreen's effectiveness against UVA rays.
Most over-the-counter sunscreens contain chemicals such as oxybenzone and avobenzone. Chemical sunscreens ABSORB the sun's rays and scatter them within the body. Also, chemical sunscreens begin to breakdown as soon as they are exposed to light. They need to be applied 20-30 minutes PRIOR to sun exposure and they need to be reapplied frequently to be effective. Don't be fooled into thinking that an SPF 50 is BETTER than an SPF 30. The amount of increased protection between the two is only about 2%-4% , yet it takes tons more chemicals to make an SPF 50. You don't need all of those additional chemicals getting into your body. Stick with an SPF 30 and look for one that states "BROAD SPECTRUM PROTECTION".
In my opinion, the best sunscreens are those with physical blockers such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These prevent the sun's rays from getting into your skin- the rays literally bouce right off. They can applied as soon as you are exposed to light and they don't have the tendency to breakdown. Plus, zinc and titanium don't cause sensitivies like chemical sunscreens can. Unlike the formulas of days gone by (think lifeguards with white goo smeared on their faces), today's physical sunscreens are more sheer and made to go on smoothly without leaving all of that ugly residue.
My favorite SPF product is by a company called IMAGE. Their sunscreens are all physical blockers plus they are chock full of good-for-your-skin ingredients such as vitamins, antioxidants, skin hydrators and green tea. Plus, they are all paraben-free. IMAGE is a professional-only product but you can contact them directly to find out which salons in your area carries the line.
So, there you have it. Be sun smart ALL YEAR ROUND not just in the summer months. You'll be glad you listened to me. 😉
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-Kelley (a.k.a The Mineral Makeup Coach)
Licensed Esthetician & Owner/Formulator of PRIIA Mineral Cosmetics