Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring/Summer Skin Care Lesson 101: Sunscreen

Most people who want to get a jump start on tanning for the spring and summer months have no idea how harmful and damaging the sun can be to their skin. When asked about skin protection, 3 out of the 5 students I spoke with weren't aware of why they needed to protect their skin or how to do so properly. Being the beauty buff that I am, I’m here to bring awareness to the importance of skin protection, but more importantly, to share with you ways to do so!

Reasons to protect your skin: Skin cancer, leathery skin and wrinkles! Oh my!

Studies show that exposure to ultraviolet light, UVA and UVB from sunlight account for 90% of the symptoms of premature skin aging such as skin cancers, wrinkles and leathery skin. Studies also show that the most important skincare defense against these signs of aging is sunscreen! If you don’t know what type of sunscreen to use or how, here’s sunscreen simplified:

  • Sunscreen ingredients can be divided into compounds that either block or absorb radiation. Dermatologists agree that a good sunscreen will be SPF 15 or higher and contain the following ingredients for optimal protection against harmful rays: avobenzone, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide.
  • Dermatologists stress using the FULLY RECOMMENDED AMOUNT stated in the directions rather than the typical 25% that people use on average. When applied, sunscreen should leave a noticeable film on skin. It also takes approximately 30 minutes for sunscreen to be absorbed by the skin so it should be applied at least ½ an hour prior to going out into the sun.
  • Reapply promptly: most labels suggest reapplying every 2-3 hours, however, studies show that skin gets the best protection when sunscreen is reapplied 20-30 minutes after going into the sun. It is likely that this is because the proper amount isn't applied initially, so a second application 20-30 minutes after the first provides the proper amount of coverage needed to protect skin. Also reapply after swimming, sweating excessively or toweling.
  • Use sunscreen daily to protect moisture from drying out of skin.

Following these simple instructions can help protect you and your skin from the sun’s harmful rays and allow you the luxury of enjoying the warmth and beauty the sun has to offer without getting burned (in more ways one)! Sunscreen is an inexpensive way to extend the life of youthful radiant-looking skin, with prices ranging from $3-$30. Three of my favorites are:

Coppertone Sport Sunblock SPF 30

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 30

No-Ad Sunblock Lotion SPF 45

For daily facial application, I use L’Oreal Active Daily Moisture Lotion SPF 15. It moisturizes and protects without making my oily skin feel oilier or cause breakouts.

So now that you have all the information you need, you are armed to protect your skin from harm! For more information on the effects of skin’s exposure to the sun and how to protect it, just click here.



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  1. Better ProtectedMarch 9, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    Thanks for the great info...I never knew sun block needs to be applied 30 minutes before going into the sun!

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