It is skin cancer awareness month and you may be seeing tons of social media post and promotions going on for sunscreen. Is it just a marketing ploy to get you to buy? No! While many companies do like to capitalize on "in the moment product needs", sunscreen is vital to be utilizing always and everyday. It doesn't matter if it is cloudy, snowing, or if you will be inside all day. UVA and UVB rays can come in through windows, penetrate through the clouds and even florescent light bulbs emit amounts of UV rays so don't think because you are in the office you are safe. Tanning beds are not safe they are high emitting UV ray bulbs. Multiple studies link the amount of times you get sunburned to multiplying your risk of skin cancer. Using a broad spectrum, mineral based sunscreen can greatly lessen your chances of developing skin cancers as well as keep your skin from being broken down which leads to fine lines and wrinkles.
What Do UV Rays Do?
UV stands for Ultra Violet Radiation. UVA has the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin and is the ray that leads to premature photo aging. Where as UVB doesn't penetrate as deeply into the skin but has a stronger energy and is mainly responsible for burning. Both aid in pigmentation of the skin, and are linked to skin cancer. Tanning of the skin is actually a defense mechanism because when the malanocyte receptors know they are exposed to UV rays and they expand to absorb the radiation and protect the skin and body from DNA damage. When these cells get damaged is when you start to see things like age spots and hyper pigmentation. When the DNA is damaged it can lead to overgrowth in the cells which is what causes cancers. For more information on how UV rays affect the skin click this link.
What Should To Look For In a Sunscreen
Not all sunscreens are created equal as far as SPF anything between a SPF 15-30 will block 92%-97% of UV Rays. Zinc Oxide is the only FDA regulated physical barrier that is broad spectrum, meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. As an esthetician for over a decade my personal opinion is using a zinc based sunscreen is the way to go. Make sure to apply 15 minutes minimum before heading into the sun. Using a physical block will not allow the UV rays to penetrate into the skin vs. a chemical sunscreen allows the UV rays to come into the top layers of the skin and then neutralizes them within the skin. To date my favorite sunscreens are Sanitas Solar Block it is light and doesn't leave a residue. This is great for my clients who say they can't stand grease or every sunscreen breaks them out. I also love the new tinted Beautycounter tinted body spray as well as the original. When I want a little bit of makeup coverage I use the Dew Skin.
Protect Yourself and Family
Sunscreen is essential to use to protect against UV damage. My professional advice is to make sure you are wearing a:
SPF 15 Minimum
Put it on daily no matter what activity you have coming up and when you are actively outside for multiple hours reapply every 2 hours.