THE SKIN CARE ARENA
by Madeleine Arena, B.S., M.B.A.*
Summertime & the living is easy, but what you don’t know CAN hurt you!
A sun-kissed bronze tan looks great, but it results in skin damage: wrinkles, brown skin discolorations, dull-looking skin, and potentially even skin cancer.
If you want healthy, younger-looking skin, and who doesn’t, you must practice good sun sense; because without it no other skin care product will matter.
The Sun Sense Essentials
* There is no such thing as a safe tan. Whether it is from the sun or a tanning bed the
result is still damaging.
* UVB rays from the sun cause sunburn.
* The primary cause of skin cancer is UVA rays from the sun. They also cause wrinkles and a weakened immune system. Because you don’t feel them they are called the “silent killers.” UVA rays even penetrate through clear glass windows that do not have a UV coating.
* Your skin is in jeopardy of being damaged even on a cloudy or hazy day since all the sun’s rays are present.
* Sitting in the shade or wearing a hat only protects against a portion of the sun’s rays.
* Your skin gets a double dose of exposure from surrounding surfaces such as water, sand, cement, and grass because they reflect the rays from the ground to your skin.
* Altitude is a sun enhancer: For every 1,000-foot increase in altitude, the sun’s potency increases by 4%.
* A product’s SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number is a basic indicator of how long you can stay in the sun before getting burned.
* While SPF is important, it’s only a measurement of sunburn (UVB) protection. You also need to protect your skin from the sun’s UVA rays as well. Make sure your sunscreen contains the active ingredients that provide the necessary UVA protection. The active ingredients to look for are either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide,
avobenzone (may also be listed as butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane), Mexoryl SX (ecamsule), or Tinosorb.
* Even if you’re using a sunscreen with an SPF 50 or greater, it still has limitations and can let approximately 3% of UV rays penetrate your skin.
* No sunscreen provides 100% protection. So sitting directly in the sun, even with sunscreen on, is unwise.
* For best results, apply sunscreen at least 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure.
* Apply sunscreen generously.
* Re-apply after swimming.
* Layering sunscreen products is beneficial. While the two sunscreens do not add up to one SPF number, you are getting more protection than just using one product.
* Sunscreens that only use titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as the active ingredient are completely non-irritating and are best for sensitive skin, those with rosacea, or for use on babies and children.
* Any part of your body exposed to the sun, such as your hands, neck, ears, and chest, must be protected. Aging skin on your body is no different than your face. The best way to prevent sun damage is the daily use of sunscreen.
It’s up to you to protect your youthful good looks, so learn more about what the sun is doing to your skin and how you can prevent it.
Madeleine is the author of the chapter on skin care which appears in the book,
Tick Tock, Stop the Clock ~ Getting Pretty on Your Lunch Hour