Friday, May 14, 2010

Staying Safe in the Summer Sun

I am a skin care fanatic. I go CRAZY over making sure I follow the proper regimen for taking care of, what I consider, my packaging.

That's it really - my skin is the wrapping on this very special package. LOL

It blows my mind when I find out that very beautiful friends of mine do not take care of their skin. We are all lucky now, because time has been our friend - but as the southern women say, "We ain't gettin' any younger."

I noticed that I have a very large "reader" group of teen agers on the Facebook Fan page. I thought, well - this might be a great opportunity to discuss something I am so passionate about, and it is awesome advice as you get older.

This goes for girls AND guys - take care of your skin.

I feel as if I might have a tiny bit of authority in this area, I did sell Clinque at one time. LOL

Let's start with the most important piece of the puzzle, and I can admit - I fall short on this one..

DRINK WATER. Hydration is the key to glowing skin. How beautiful to see someone who looks like they are radiant and healthy?? It's water. That's what we use to 'feed' our skin.

The second thing I would recommend is DO NOT TAN. I know, I know.. I lost you at that. But it is important to stay out of the tanning bed. You don't believe me???

Here's the science behind it ( I will try to explain in elementary terms) :
The sun emits two kinds of UV light.
UVA and UVB.
UVB rays are a faster and much stronger radiation than UVA.
UVB rays are most responsible for skin’s burning.
UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and cause the pigment “melanin” to darken, which result in a longer lasting tan than with UVB rays.
Some tanning salons have switched from using UVB lights to UVA lights for this purpose.

It is important to ask your tanning salon how much of the UVB light is emitted from the tanning equipment, that is, if you do not want to burn.

The repeated darkening of the melanin can cause your skin to thicken. The result of these pigment changes may then cause premature aging of the skin.

The radiation from the UV rays can cause blood capillary damage and increase the chance of melanoma (skin cancer).

At one time tanning beds were considered to be safer than the sun. Numerous studies have shown that this is far from the truth. Using a tanning bed can be just as dangerous to your health as the sun.

Another thing - when you are in the sun this summer, USE a sunscreen. You will still get a tan, I promise you... but it is more important to protect yourself from the harmful rays. Let's talk about sunscreen.

Sunscreen should be applied every day to exposed skin, and not just if you are going to be in the sun.

UVB rays cannot penetrate glass windows, but UVA rays can, leaving you prone to these damaging effects if unprotected. For days when you are going to be indoors, apply sunscreen on the areas not covered by clothing, such as the face and hands. Sunscreens can be applied under makeup, or alternatively, there are many cosmetic products available that contain sunscreens for daily use. Sun protection is the principal means of preventing premature aging and skin cancer.

Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin 15 to 30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors. When using sunscreen, be sure to apply it to all exposed areas and pay particular attention to the face, ears, hands, and arms. Coat the skin liberally and rub it in thoroughly — most people apply only 25 to 50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen.7 One ounce, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly. Don't forget that lips get sunburned, too, so apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Sunscreens should be reapplied approximately every two hours or after swimming or perspiring heavily. Even so-called "water-resistant" sunscreens may lose their effectiveness after 40 minutes in the water. Sunscreens rub off as well as wash off, so if you've towel-dried, reapply sunscreen for continued protection.

Also, there are a number of combination cosmetic products, such as moisturizers that contain sunscreen, but it is important to remember that these products also need to be reapplied to achieve continued UV protection.

There are so many types of sunscreen that selecting the right one can be quite confusing.

Sunscreens are available in many forms, including ointments, creams, gels, lotions, sprays, and wax sticks. The type of sunscreen you choose is a matter of personal choice. Creams are best for individuals with dry skin, but gels are preferable in hairy areas, such as the scalp or male chest. Sticks are good around the eyes. Creams typically yield a thicker application than lotions and are best for the face. There also are sunscreens made for specific purposes, such as sensitive skin and for use on babies.

Ideally, sunscreens should be water-resistant, so they cannot be easily removed by sweating or swimming, and should have an SPF of 30 or higher that provides broad-spectrum coverage against both UVA and UVB light. Ingredients to look for on the sunscreen label to ensure broad-spectrum UV coverage include:




Menthyl anthranilate

Octyl methoxycinnamate

Octyl salicylate



Titanium dioxide

Zinc oxide

Unless indicated by an expiration date, the FDA requires that all sunscreens be stable and at their original strength for at least three years.

You can use the sunscreen that you bought last summer, but keep in mind that if you are using the appropriate amount, a bottle of sunscreen should not last very long. About 1 ounce of sunscreen, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered to be the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly.

Let's talk SPF. SPF stands for sun protection factor. Sunscreens are rated or classified by the strength of their SPF. The SPF numbers on the packaging can range from as low as 2 to greater than 50. These numbers refer to the product's ability to deflect the sun's burning rays (UVB).

The sunscreen SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin. For example, if a sunscreen is rated SPF 2 and a person who would normally turn red after 10 minutes of exposure in the sun uses it, it would take 20 minutes of exposure for the skin to turn red. A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 would allow that person to multiply that initial burning time by 15, which means it would take 15 times longer to burn, or 150 minutes. Even with this protection, sunscreen photo degrades (breaks down) and rubs off with normal wear, so it needs to be reapplied approximately every two hours.

Dermatologists strongly recommend using a broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB protection) water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater year-round for all skin types. This will help protect against sunburn, premature aging (e.g., age spots and wrinkles) and skin cancer.

The SPF number on sunscreens only reflects the product's screening ability for UVB rays. At present, there is no FDA-approved rating system that identifies UVA protection. Scientists are working to create a standardized testing system to measure UVA protection.

UVB protection does not actually increase proportionately with a designated SPF number. For example, an SPF of 30 screens 97 percent of UVB rays, whereas an SPF of 15 screens 93 percent of UVB rays, and an SPF of 2 screens 50 percent of UVB rays. However, inadequate application of sunscreen may result in a lower SPF than the product contains.

Whichever SPF you choose, wearing sunscreen should not provide a false sense of security about protection from UVB exposure. No sunscreen can provide 100 percent UVB protection. Using a higher SPF provides greater UVB protection than a lower SPF, but it does not mean that you should stay out in the sun longer.

Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, including melanoma.  You can have fun in the sun and decrease your risk of skin cancer. Here's how to Be Sun Smart:

Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all exposed skin. "Broad-spectrum" provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.

Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.

Protect children from sun exposure by playing in the shade, wearing protective clothing, and applying sunscreen.

Use extra caution near water, snow and sand because they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.

Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don't seek the sun.

Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you've been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.

Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

Just so you know - There is no safe way to tan. A tan damages the skin. Tanning occurs when ultraviolet rays penetrate the epidermis, the skin's outer layer causing the production of melanin as a response to the injury. Chronic exposure to ultraviolet light, both natural and artificial, results in a change in the skin's texture, causing wrinkling and age spots. Thus, tanning to improve appearance is ultimately self-defeating.

Every time you tan, you damage your skin and this damage accumulates over time. This accumulated damage, in addition to accelerating the aging process, also increases your risk for all types of skin cancer.

In case you forget to cover up and apply sunscreen, the resulting sunburn can be painful, as well as dangerous. Remember that you may not immediately see the effects of overexposure to the sun. It may take up to 24 hours before the full damage is visible.

There are several types of burns and burn treatments. The two most common sunburns are first-degree burns and second-degree burns.

First-degree sunburns cause redness and will heal, possibly with some peeling, within a few days. These can be painful and are best treated with cool baths and moisturizers or over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams.

Avoid the use of "-caine" products (such as benzocaine), which may cause sensitivity to a broad range of important chemicals. Anti-inflammatory oral medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen may lessen the pain and discomfort associated with sunburn.

Second-degree sunburns blister and can be considered a medical emergency if a large area is affected. Do not break the blisters, as they are a natural protective mechanism to heal the affected area and rupturing them delays the healing process and invites potential infection. A layer of gauze may be used to cover the area until healed.

When a burn is severe, accompanied by a headache, chills, or a fever, seek medical help immediately.

Be sure to protect your skin from the sun while it heals and thereafter.

Questions about Vitamin D - Unprotected UV exposure to the sun or indoor tanning devices is a known risk factor for the development of skin cancer. Sun exposure is responsible for vitamin D production in the skin, so wearing sunscreen will decrease the skin's production of vitamin D. Individuals who wear sunscreen and are concerned that they are not getting enough vitamin D should discuss their options for obtaining sufficient vitamin D from foods and/or vitamin supplements with their doctor.

Please think about your skin - and please take precautions. TRUST me.. you will care later.


Miel Abeille said...

Nicole, you are so full of helpful & needed information. Thank you for sharing & reminding us about the little things that make a big difference. Have a great day!

Nicole said...

Thanks so much. It's one of my many passions!

Wendy said...

Stopped by from Lady Bloggers - I like you! (The whole Clinique thing - lol! However I do love me some Clinique.) On a serious note, I live in Florida so the sun is especially strong. Lately I've noticed even with a high spf like 30 I still get fried, at least my face does which is scary because that's the part I'm trying to protect the most. Anyway, I like your blog! You have a new follower. :)

Nicole said...

Welcome Wendy!!


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