Taking the Sun Seriously: Staying Educated About Sun Protection
We’re getting a jump start this year on preaching about what should be one of the most important steps in every skincare regimen- sun protection. We know it’s still only March, but during Portland’s dreary 8-month rainy season, it seems that clients like to remind us that they don’t need to use nor reapply their sunscreen! We’re here to educate the masses and counter with the following facts:
1) Clear skies or cloudy, one thing is certain- the sun’s powerful UV rays are taking a toll on your skin. Clouds are not nature’s sunblock, folks! UVA rays can penetrate down into our skin’s deeper tissues and are responsible for all signs of premature aging, including loss of elasticity and hyper pigmentation. UVB rays, meanwhile, cause damage to the outer layers of the skin (“B” is for “burning,” here!) The effects of both UVA and UVB rays can also lead to different types of skin cancers, including the deadliest, melanoma.
2) Applying sunscreen every morning and reapplying throughout the day is the best way to protect your skin against these harmful UV rays. Sunscreens can come in different forms, such as creams or mineral powders, but whichever you choose, make sure the SPF, or sun protection factor, is high enough for your skin type.
A sunscreen’s SPF rating measures how much longer (in multiples) the sunscreen will prolong burning compared to when you don’t wear any. For example, if it takes about 5 minutes of unprotected sun exposure for you to start burning, then an SPF of 10 will allow you to stay out 10 times as long, for a total of 50 minutes, before you begin to burn. Dermatologists recommend a broad spectrum (offering protection of both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF 30, reapplied at least once a day. Just know that after an SPF of about 50, a sunscreen’s strength plateaus, and won’t necessarily offer you longer, protection.
3) Also keep in mind a sunscreen’s wear-ability factor. Do you hate heavy, greasy creams? Not interested in reapplying them during the day over your makeup?
We’re HUGE fans of mineral powders, and are super excited to find an affordable brand from a local Portland distributor called Brush on Block, created by celebrity makeup artist Susan Posnick. It’s super lightweight, sheer enough to be worn on most skin tones, and very easy to reapply throughout the day, and we’ve finally got it available at our spa downtown and on LeFrenchSkincare.com
The main thing to remember is that UV exposure IS happening whether or not you think it is (walking to your car, sitting in a room with windows, etc.) so being educated is key! All of that brief exposure WILL add up over the years, so make sure you apply your sunscreen as the last step of your skincare regimen and reapply two to three times during the day.