Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spa Girl loves the sun but not sunburns--what to do?

I'm definitely a sun goddess, but I don't like sunburns and I definitely want to take care of my skin and not look like a prune as I age.

Ask anyone who knows even a little bit about taking care of your skin and they will tell you the sun is the worst offender when it comes to skin damage, wrinkles, skin cancer, premature aging skin, and the list goes on.
With the new regulations in place, and new products coming on stream, selecting a good product has become much more complicated and finding the "one" that suits your skin type and textual appeal is so important.  Having a top of the line product and not wearing it daily, just doesn't cut it. 

Three decades in the making, new legislation has been put into place that requires a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect from the sun's radiation with both UVB (causes the skin to burn) and UVA (causes the skin to wrinkle). This legislation indicates sunscreen products must contain  both UVB and UVA with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher.  The rules will also ban sunscreen manufacturers from claiming their products are waterproof or sweat proof because such claims are simply not true.

Sunscreen products represent a $680 million+ domestic market which continues to grow as the boomers age and with alarming increases in the number of skin-related cancer.

So what does all this mean...

SPF which stands for Sun Protection Factor provides a measurement for how long you can stay in the sun using a sunscreen  product before getting burned.  SPF measures protection from sunburn caused primarily by UVB rays, but it does not effectively measure how well a sunscreen protects you from UVA rays.  It is the UVA rays that are present year-round that are the leading cause premature skin aging, including fine lines, deep wrinkles and uneven skin tone. When considering a sunscreen it is important to select one that has a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection. 
But don't get fooled, SPF 30 isn't twice as strong as SPF 15. While SPF 15 filters out 93% of UVB, SPF 30 filters out 97%, and UVA protection  begins to break down the moment your skin is exposed to the sun making you more susceptible to skin damage, wrinkles and premature aging.

My dermatologist recommended  Neutrogena which includes Helioplex, the first sun protection to effectively combine the ingredients avobenzone and oxybenzone for the greatest protection from ultraviolet light because of its photostable qualities.  It was specifically engineered to help provide stabilization in order to prevent the sun from breaking down UVB/UVA's effectiveness.  Neutrogena® developed the Helioplex™ technology in 2005. It was first introduced in the company’s line of Ultra Sheer® Sunblocks with SPF 55. Helioplex™ .  It was also voted #1 in texture by Canadian Dermatologists, something that appeals to me.  I like a sunscreen that is light and absorbs quickly and is not "gooey" or "heavy" on my skin.

There are however many other sunscreen products, and more hitting the shelves, which are incorporating stabilizing solvents such as Hallbrite TQ which researchers have determined when combined with UVA and UVB, help maintain their effectiveness.

And indeed there are several natural, organic sunscreens and zinc oxides to check out before deciding which one is right for your skin type and comfort level. 

Enjoy your summer, stay informed and remember sunscreen is only one of the tools to help care for your precious skin! 

WebMD asks... Wondering what to wear this summer? Get the latest facts before you buy your next sunscreen.


Sunscreen: Helioplex vs. Mexoryl

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