Even though the summer is over it is essential to address the benefits of using the right sun protection.
In my skin care studio, I see clients with all kinds of skin care problems such as sun damage, acne, rosacea, sensitive and aging skin.
One of the first questions I ask all of my clients is, “Are you using sunscreen? If so, what kind and do you reapply the sunscreen during the day?”.
I found out that most people are aware of the necessity of applying sunscreen in the morning or at the beach and they think this is the sufficient amount to maintain healthy skin. That is merely a false assumption.
Since my role as a skin expert is to educate my clients, I first tell them about my own experience.
I grew up in Poland, a country you would not necessarily think of when one imagines an abundance of sunshine. However, I was born in the sixties when it was “in style” to have as deep of a tan color as possible. Every year my family went on vacation to the Baltic Shores where we would spend hours baking in the sun at the beach.
Being very fair complexioned, I usually ended up with a red burn rather than golden tan. However, this did not stop my friends or me from trying. We used baby oil, cocoa butter, and silver shields to intensify the sun exposure. We were young, and at that time the tanned skin made us look better (but had yet unknown adverse effects on skin pigmentation).
When I came to live in California, the abundance of sunshine became unlimited.
Everybody was sporting a “healthy” golden tan look. I still remember the ads for Ban de Solei tanning lotion with the picture of a beautiful tall and tan model lying by the pool. I wanted to look like her!
One day that presumption had changed for me.
I went to the beach with my friends during one of those “June Gloom” Summer days. There was not a ray of sunshine in the skies but the air was warm, and we ended up staying all day.
The following day I woke up in pain and when I looked in the mirror, I could hardly recognize my face. My eyes and entire face were bright red and enormously swollen. I had been sun-poisoned!
It took three days of cold compresses and numerous applications of vitamin A and D before I could go outside again. After that day I quit “tanning” and learned the real truth behind sun protection.
So this is what we need to know.
Ultraviolet light is invisible to humans, and that is why damage to the skin happens even when we do not see the sun. Thus sun protection is needed all day long. My dermatologist said that the only time you do not need that protection is at night.
There are two types of rays that can damage the skin cells and lead to damage and skin cancer. UVB rays cause sunburn and play a key role in developing skin cancer. A sunscreen’s SPF number refers mainly to the UVB-protection it provides. UVA rays cause skin damage that leads to tanning as well as skin aging and wrinkles.
Sunscreens are the easiest way to protect your skin from the suns’ dangerous rays, but they need to be the right sun protection and must be applied correctly.
The best is to use non-chemical, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide physical sunscreens with the most protective broad-spectrum ingredients.
There are numerous reasons for choosing non-chemical sun protection.
The current trend for many skin care companies is “micronizing” the zinc sunscreen particles, making the sunscreen easily applied and also giving the skin a more natural appearance.
WODA European Skin Care has a tinted zinc sunscreen, which evens out the complexion giving the skin a smooth and even look. This additive makes the sunscreen easy to reapply without the need to remove makeup.
Natural zinc sun protections are also made with cruelty-free ingredients.
The other benefit of using zinc sunscreen is that it will not clog your skin nor cause breakouts. The chemical sunscreens are irritating to the skin, therefore, creating inflammation of the skin, which leads to acne.
Also since zinc is a “physical” block, it works immediately after application. For chemical sunscreens, it takes about twenty minutes before they start to protect the skin from the sun’s rays.
New research has found that specific chemical sunscreen ingredients can cause harm to coral reefs. Mineral and zinc sunscreens are reef-friendly since they are biodegradable. According to the director of Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, chemicals in sunscreens cause damage to coral reefs “bigger than climate change.”
Studies have shown that oxybenzone, a common chemical found in sunscreens, is toxic to algae that live on corals and octinoxate chemical can cause viral infections in coral reefs that can lead to their bleaching.
Each year there is an alarming estimated amount of 14,000 tons of sunscreen deposited into the oceans. On May 1 of this year, Hawaii became the first state to pass a bill banning sunscreens containing octinoxate and oxybenzone chemicals. I truly hope we can duplicate that bill in other States.
Of course, it is important to employ other methods of sun protection that need to include seeking shade, donning wide-brimmed hats, wearing UV-blocking clothing and glasses. Reapplication of sunscreen at the very minimum of two to three times a day and more often at the beach is crucial.
So please be kind to yourself and our planet by using the right sun protection.
To your health!
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