Sunscreen 101!

Sunscreen 2

Different seasons bring a host of new trends in the beauty industry- think pastel washes of color, orange lipstick, the coveted au naturale look- but what’s one trend we should implement and follow all year-round?

Sunscreen!

Whether you are male or female, have a skincare regimen in place or not, sunscreen should be a staple product in your arsenal.  The immense danger of exposure to UV radiation is skin cancer, however skin cancer is almost entirely preventable if you choose the right sunscreen and apply with slavish devotion.  The sun is also a main culprit in the causes of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and saggy skin-even going out for a quick walk or running an errand in your car exposes you to the sun’s damaging rays!

While there is a plethora of sunscreens to choose from, you don’t have to spend a fortune to protect yourself.  Here is a brief insight into sunscreen.

Broad-spectrum

Make sure that your sunscreen offers broad-spectrum coverage, which will protect you from UVA and UVB rays.  UVA rays cause premature aging and UVB rays are known as the tanning and burning rays; both cause cancer.

Sun Protection Factor

The term “SPF” is the abbreviation for a product’s Sun Protection Factor.  The level of protection is not proportionate with SPF rating, meaning a higher SPF doesn’t mean more protection.  In fact, an SPF of 15 provides protection from 93% of the sun’s rays, SPF 30 protects from 97% of the sun’s rays and an SPF 60 protects 98%.  No sunscreen can block 100% of the sun’s rays and it is important to reapply every 2 hours during outdoor activities, sweating or swimming.

Types: Physical and Chemical

Physical sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and reflect or scatter UV radiation before it can reach the epidermis. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide compose this category.

Zinc oxide is a great option for those who have sensitive skin or rosacea.

Chemical sunscreens have a strong ability to effectively absorb UVB radiation before they can damage the skin. Look for:  Octisalate, Oxybenzone, Homosalate, Octyldimethly PABA (Padimate O), Octocrylene, Octinoxate, Avobenzone (Parasol 1789), and/or Ecamsule (Mexoryl).

Bonus: Antioxidants

Sunscreens formulated with antioxidants can further protect against harmful UV rays and damaging free radicals.

Caffeine, silymarin (from milk thistle), genistein ( a soy isoflavone), epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), resveratrol, and vitamin C (ascorbic acid)  are examples of common added antioxidants.

Application

According to the FDA, the correct amount of product to use is a teaspoon for the face and a shot glass for the body. Apply 30 minutes before sun exposure.  Remember, constant reapplication is key, even with sweat and water resistant sunscreens!  Also, avoiding prime sun hours (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) if you can, and covering up with shades and a hat helps.

Overall

Physical sunscreens are typically a good option for sensitive skin types and offer UVA and UVB protection.  Chemical sunscreens offer adequate protection from UVB rays but frequently don’t offer favorable protection against UVA rays. Blended sunscreens (physical and chemical) with the addition of antioxidants are ideal, however the type of sunscreen that will work best depends on your skin and how it reacts. Sometimes, it takes a couple of trial and error sessions to figure out what the best formulation is for you.

I hope you found this post helpful.

Feel free to comment or ask a question!

The Teas Have It!

green-tea

Chances are at some point in the day, we treat ourselves to a comforting sip of tea, especially when the weather outside is cold. Green tea seems to be a popular drink of choice but what exactly is it that makes this ingredient so stellar? Polyphenols.

Green tea, harvested from the Camellia sinensis plant, contains polyphenols which are antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative damage. Specifically, the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) naturally found in green tea, is what makes green tea extremely effective as an antioxidant and also an anti-inflammatory.  Research has shown that green tea polyphenols are potent suppressors of carcinogenic activity from UV radiation.  As a result, it protects skin from UV-induced damage such as sunburns and photoaging.

As a topical ingredient in skincare, green tea is ideal for common skin concerns.  In acne and other inflammatory conditions, it can be used as an anti-inflammatory; in aging, it provides excellent antioxidant properties against sun damage.

So what about white tea?  The same benefits from green tea apply, except white tea is said to have a higher concentration of polyphenols.

Happy Tuesday!