Our guest blog writer for this post is Beverly Brending. She has over 32 years of experience as an electrologist, advanced practice esthetician, and permanent make-up professional. She’s also the owner of Brending Electrolysis on Grand Avenue here in St. Paul, MN.
Aging & Burning Rays
Let’s start with the basics, the difference between the rays.
Sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays that reach the earth – UVA rays and UVB rays. Overexposure to either can lead to skin cancer. In addition to causing skin cancer, here’s what each of these rays do:
- UVA rays (or aging rays) can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots and can pass through window glass.
- UVB rays (or burning rays) are the primary cause of sunburn and are blocked by window glass
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the WHO’s International Agency of Research on Cancer have declared UV radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds as a known carcinogen. With every sun exposure, you damage your skin. As this damage builds, you speed up the aging of your skin and increase your risk for all types of skin cancer. Everyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, gender, or race. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
Wearing sunscreen daily protects your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. But sunscreen is just a filter – it does not block all UV rays. Sunscreen should not be used as a way to stay out in the sun longer, have darker skin color, or as a way of getting vitamin D, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreens should not be thought of as your first line of defense. Consider sunscreen as one part of your skin cancer protection plan, especially if staying in the shade and wearing protective clothing aren’t available as your first options. If possible during the hours between 10 and 4 pm, seek shade, dress to protect yourself from the sun such as wearing sunglasses, long sleeves, pants & a wide-brimmed hat. Use extra caution near water and light-colored surfaces such as sand or cement that reflect sunlight.
The best type of sunscreen is the one you will use again and again. Sunscreens are manufactured to last 3 years, check and make sure yours has not expired – don’t use if expired or if it has degraded. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use Broad-spectrum protection (UVA and UVB) of at least SPF 30 or higher and is water resistant. The one you choose is a matter of personal choice and may vary depending on the area of the body to be protected. Available options include lotions, creams, gels, ointments, wax sticks and sprays.
What's the Right Sunscreen for the Job?
- Creams are best for dry skin and the face.
- Gels are good for hairy areas, such as the scalp or male chest
- Sticks are good to use around the eyes and lips
- Sprays are sometimes preferred for ease of application, especially on children
- Children’s and babies sunscreens for sensitive skin
Sunscreen products need to be reapplied to achieve the best sun protection, you may wish to take this into consideration when selecting your moisturizer, make-up, or insect repellent that is also a sunscreen. Estheticians often recommend applying specific products separately for the best protection. It’s especially important to apply sunscreen to your face every morning, as it is the one part of your body that’s constantly seen by the sun. Apply approximately one ounce of sunscreen, about the amount of a standard shot glass, to cover the entire body and approximately 15 minutes before going outside so it has time to take effect.
Chemical or Physical Sunscreen – What about the SPF?
Chemical sunscreens work like a sponge, absorbing the sun’s rays. They can contain one or more of these ingredients: Oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, andoctinoxate. These formulations tend to be easier to rub into the skin without leaving a white residue.
Physical sunscreens work like a shield, sitting on the surface of the skin and deflecting the sun’s rays. They contain the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. These ingredients are better for sensitive skin.
An SPF of 30 blocks 97% of the sun’s UVB rays, higher numbers block slightly more, but no sunscreen blocks 100%. A high SPF number lasts the same amount of time as a low SPF number and does not allow you to stay out in the sun longer without reapplication. Reapplication should be every 2 hours even on cloudy days, after swimming, or sweating. Definitely read and follow the directions on the product label.
To protect against UV induced skin cancer, dermatologists recommend a comprehensive sun protection plan that when outdoors includes seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher. Remember for year round protection try including sunscreen in your mourning routine for face, neck and décolletage after serums, and moisturizers. (I’ll talk about cleansing in another blog!)
I would enjoy knowing you found some benefit in reading my “first blog”, and that you may be inspired and dedicated to come up with your own sun protection plan, maybe even a community, family and friends role model! It is important to remember what you do now, and what you don’t do, will have an impact later in life.
I hope you have a wonderful summer!
Looking for a skincare professional for electrolysis, permanent make-up and more? Contact Beverly at 651-642-1374, or visit her website