SUMMER GUIDE: Skin Care Protection
While we all love the feel of the sun's warm rays on our skin, it is important to remember that we need to take precautions to ensure that our skin is protected from harmful UV radiation. Like me, I am sure many of you had parents who consistently scolded you to wear sun screen. For a long time, I tended to be resistant to using sub screen because I never got a sun burn. In my life time, I can count on one hand the number of sun burns I have had. All of them happened after I moved to Southern California from Minnesota.
However, as I got older, I started to get more and more worried about protecting my skin from the effects of aging. I am incredibly stressed individual at all times but I do not want to look like I am 60 when I am 40. That would be terrible. My mother is fortunate that she has almost no lines or crows feet. She would always tell me that it was because she was diligent about using sun screen every day so I decided it was time for me to start.
We have established the 2 good reasons why you should wear sun screen: to avoid unsightly sun burns and because it helps to keep your skin youthful. The third and probably most compelling reason is that it reduces your risk of skin cancer. Seriously. It takes 10 seconds to apply and can be a part of your normal daily moisturizer or make up routine and it reduces your risk of cancer (specifically melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma) by 50-73 %.
Some common myths about sun screen:
Increases risk of cancer:
- We just established that it reduces the risk of skin cancer. The specific study that is commonly cited is from 2011 and was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. They used 1600 participants in a randomized, double blinded study to evaluate the effects of sun screen with an SPF of 15 or higher. This particular study demonstrated a significant reduction in the risk of skin cancer prevalence when compared to the control.
Prevents Vitamin D Absorption:
- Vitamin D is produced in the skin following sun exposure. It is important in Calcium absorption in bones as well as aiding in preventing certain cancers. There are multiple ways that humans obtain Vitamin D but the two most common are through small amounts of sun exposure or through your diet. Previous Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that the use of sun screen does not decrease your Vitamin D absorption.
Titanium DiOxide and Zinc Oxide nanoparticles damage the skin:
- These are both molecules that absorb UVA radiation and therefore provide a stronger defense against cancer and aging effects associated with the sun. There damaging effects are related to their ability to reach the skin. Current research indicates that neither Titanium DiOxides or Zinc Oxides are capable of reaching the skin.
Sun Screen Use
When you are looking for sun screens, the recommendation is that you use one with an SPF 30 or higher and broad spectrum so that it protects against UVA and UVB sun rays. UVA is the longer of the two wavelengths and closer to the visible light spectrum. UVA is more prevalent than UVB but it is weaker. It also leads to tanning and can cause melanoma through damage to the keratinocytes in the skin. UVB radiation does not penetrate the skin as deeply but it is what causes reddening and sun burns. It is strongest between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. There is also a UVC that is a shorter wavelength but for the most part it does not penetrate the ozone layer.
When looking for sun screens, they can be either physical sun screens, meaning they reflect the suns rays, or they can be chemical sun screens, meaning they absorb the damaging UV light. The sunscreen that you buy in the store will not have this listed so do not worry about it. When you are looking for sunscreens, look for those that are SPF30 or higher and broad spectrum. SPF is a sun protection factor. It is a myth that you need SPF 100 +, especially when pale skinned, because it is not offering enough additional protection to warrant the added caution. If it makes you feel more comfortable, then certainly go for it, but it is not necessary.
We also try to choose products that were not tested on animals. However, sunscreen is something that was tested on animals previously for a long time. It has also been extensively tested on humans and is completely safe for both. If you are looking for some cruelty free versions, check out our previous cruelty free post here.
I used both of the Pacifica products during my recent trip to Southern California and they worked wonderfully. Despite many long days in the hot sun, I managed to not get a sun burn and neither did my husband (I made sure he was also protected). I also use the Kiehl's ultra facial cream daily before I apply my make up and that also works well throughout the summer months.