Be Sun Smart This Summer, 2013

Protecting your skin from the sun is more than just wearing sunscreen. Here are some tips to save your skin this summer and keep you looking young!

1. Even if you have damaged skin, it is never too late to start doing everything you can to protect yourself. Having the mentality that you have already done the damage so it doesn’t matter it not the way to go. Things can get worse!

2. Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. It should say it on the label on the glasses. Large-framed, close-ftting frames are best to provide ultimate protection to your eyes. The skin is much thinner therefore it needs to be extra protected. If you can, have an extra pair in your car so that you never are without.

3. Sunscreens that protect against UVB and UVA rays are most important. The sunscreen factor is only for UVB rays. Look for these ingredients to block UVA rays… avobenzone (Parsol 1789), octocrylene, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, oxybenzone and Mexoryl SX (also called ecamsule). Other clues on the bottle? Words like “broad spectrum,” “multispectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection.” Zinc oxide is my favorite and has definitely helped me avoid a burn when I haven’t been able to avoid the sun.

4. Make sure you are applying enough sunscreen. The recommended amount for an adult (average) is 1oz and 1/2oz for a child. Reapply every 2 hours. Or you can do the math… Take the SPF # and multiply (x) that by how long it takes for you to burn (be realistic). Example: 15SPF x 15minutes to burn = 225 (3 hours, 45 minutes) That is how often YOU should reapply.

5. Price doesn’t matter when it comes to sunscreen. Well, I say that with everything. 🙂 Buy cheap when it comes BODY sunscreen because as long as it does the job you need it to do, you’re good! When it comes to your face, buy what is good and healthy for your skin. Not all face sunscreens are created equal and some will feel greasy or heavy or whatever. Find one you like and one that you know you will use everyday.

My favorite! Click to order online.
My favorite!

6. You don’t need anything higher than SPF 30. Everything else is just chemicals.

7. Don’t just stop at sunscreen. Wear a hat, use an umbrella and avoid the sun when it is strongest (10-2).

8. Don’t rely on the labels. “Waterproof”, “water-resistant”, “sweat-proof”, “protects all day.” The meanings vary from bottle to bottle and it doesn’t matter anyway because once you are exposed to the sun, the active ingredients begin to break down.

9. 90% of suns aging effects is incidental and not from laying on the beach all day. The sun can penetrate through windows and more often than not, those who don’t wear sunscreen everyday, have more damage on their left side of their face than their right.

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If you still find yourself with a burn…

TRY THESE TIPS!

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Vitamin D for Your Skin

“Vitamin D is only manufactured in one place- the skin. As people age, the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D declines. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to chronic skin conditions, such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. Heavy wrinkling on the face and body results as people bone density due to lack of vitamin D.” Celeste Hilling, Skin Inc.

Now that we know how important vitamin D is, how do we get more of it? You’ll find it in foods like salmon, tuna, cheese and mushrooms. They add it to products like cereal, milk and yogurt. Here is the downside of that…less than 1% of what is ingested makes its way to the skin. So it seems that trying to get more of it internally is not the answer.

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The sun. This is the best way to get vitamin D but now you have to worry about the negatives of sun exposure. The body will make vitamin D when it is directly exposed to the sun. It does not work through windows and is less effective on cloudy days.

So find your balance. Wear appropriate clothing, apply SPF (at least 15) and enjoy the outdoors. We are very lucky in southern California, we get a lot of sun year round. Be responsible but get your vitamin D. It’s good for your skin. It’s good for your body.

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Skin Care Tips for Everyone

1. Be gentle with your skin. You’re in a hurry, I know, but rubbing and pulling vigorously will only age your skin and damage capillaries.

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2. Try to stay away from fragrances. It doesn’t matter what skin type you have, fragrances are usually not good for the skin. They smell nice but can do long-term damage, like break down collagen and elastin. If you have sensitive skin, it can do a lot more, like give you a rash or make you itch.

3. Don’t skip the moisturizer. I talk to clients all the time with oily skin that are afraid of moisturizer. This product is your friend. I promise. Finding the right one is key. Moisturizer doesn’t penetrate the skin and it will protect you from everything coming at you all day…sun, pollution, smoke, makeup, etc. Your skin needs that barrier.

4. Wash your face every morning and every night. Be consistent with your products.

5. Wear sunscreen, rain or shine. No higher than SPF 30 is necessary.

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Sunscreen Ingredients Explained

Oxybenzone– There has been a lot of controversy about this chemical (as well as others) but the concern isn’t valid. Only a small percentage is even allowed in sunscreen and it is non-toxic, non-phototoxic (which means that it doesn’t cause skin reactions to the skin when exposed to sunlight) and it does not have hormone-disrupting effects.
It is great for blocking out UVB rays and some UVA rays.

Avobenzone– Some have said that this is unstable and cross-reacts with other sunscreen ingredients but the truth is, when any sunscreen ingredient is exposed to sunlight, the chemicals start breaking down. It has been around since 1981 and is the most used sunscreen ingredient in the world. It is safe for topical use and does not have a negative effect on skin cells.

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Retinyl Palmitate– A powerful antioxidant that is actually found naturally in the skin. A combination of vitamin A and palmitic acid, this does not pose a problem to the skin when properly formulated in sunscreens (meaning stabilizing ingredients are included, which is typical). It has also been shown to offer sun protection all by itself.

Titanium Dioxide– A natural ingredient found in nature but is usually polluted with potentially harmful contaminants such as lead and iron so therefore it is purified through a synthetic process. It protects skin from UVA and UVB radiation and is considered to have no risk of skin irritation. And since titanium dioxide is so gentle, it is an excellent sunscreen active for use on sensitive or rosacea-affected skin. It is also great for use around the eyes, as it is highly unlikely to cause stinging in this area.

Zinc Oxide– This is considered to have no risk of skin irritation. It can also be an anti-irritant and potentially an antioxidant. My favorite sunscreen has this ingredient.

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Read Other Posts About Sun Protections

Kids and Sun Protection

Pregnancy and Sun

Pregnancy and the Sun

I have often seen women on the beach or at the pool in a bikini while pregnant and this always surprised me. Now, I don’t have a problem with it (I actually think it can be pretty cute!) but there are reasons why a woman should be more covered up while pregnant.

1. Women are more sun-sensitive therefore it is much easier to burn. Increasing your chances of cancer.

2. Melasma is another reason to avoid the sun. Women’s estrogen levels are much higher and that stimulates the production of melanin (that is what makes you tan). It is very easy to get dark patches around the lips, chin, cheeks and forehead. Skipping one summer in the sun is worth it to avoid these undesirable dark patches that can take up to a year after delivery to fade.

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3. Sunbathing can also be dehydrating. Not having enough fluids for a pregnant woman can be dangerous and lead to pre-term contractions. Obviously this is a more extreme case but better safe than sorry!

4. UV rays also break down folic acid. Not worth it since folic acid helps to reduce the chance of birth defects.

5. There has been talk that inhaling the fumes from spray sunscreens is not healthy for anyone so this would be especially true for pregnant women.

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Acne Meds and Their Side Effects

Yesterday I discussed the dangers of Accutane but there are a lot more acne medications out there and they can do some damage as well. Not only that, like Accutane, you are not fixing the problem. The best solution (and safest!) will always be a good skin care regimen and patience. Be realistic and know that your skin will not be corrected in a week or even a month. Some get lucky and all their skin needs is good skin care products but others have hormones going crazy in their body so it will take longer to have better skin. It’s frustrating, I know. Below is some more information about other medications.

Clindamycin– Antibiotics like clindamycin can disrupt the normal bacteria in the digestive tract, allowing undesirable bacteria to overgrow. A serious problem known as pseudomembranous colitis may result and can occur while you are taking the drug or even weeks later. Make sure to watch for signs of this problem, which can become life-threatening, such as bloody diarrhea or severe diarrhea. Dries out your skin and you got to stay out of the sun.

Tretinoin (Retin-A)– This has been around for a long time and they have found that not only was it helping with acne but also wrinkles so doctors are now prescribing it to those who want to fight aging. My biggest problem with this is that most people (at least the ones I talk to) don’t seem to be properly educated on this drug. It makes you sun-sensitive so wearing SPF every single day is vital. It can also thin your skin and make you sensitive to anything you put on your face. That means it limits what you can do for your skin. Also very drying.

Adapalene (Differin)– The consensus on this one is that it is more of a starter acne med but it still has all the wonderful (sarcasm) side effects that the others have too. Other possible side effects include hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

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Tazarotene (Tazorac)– You may experience some skin burning, warmth, stinging, tingling, itching, redness, swelling, dryness, peeling, or irritation. Why would you want to use this with those side effects??

Here is a list of things you have to avoid while on any acne medications:

Sun, Waxing, Strong Skin Care Products (each person is different)

Here is a list of things you may (most likely) experience:

Dry Skin, Sensitive Skin, Peeling or Flaking, Irritated Skin

 

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Dairy and Acne

UV Rays Damaging Effects

This is the perfect example of why sunscreen is so important even when you are not directly in the sun. This truck driver spent years driving and the left side of his face shows the damaging effects of UV rays. Wear sunscreen. Everyday.

PS He didn’t realize the damage until it was too late. It takes about 10 years for the evidence to start to show.

Sun Damage Man

 

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Replacing One Problem for Another??

Doesn’t it look like her face hurts in that picture?

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Why can’t products just fix the skin without causing another problem? Why are so many Dermatologists and Estheticians prescribing methods that aren’t healthy for the skin? Over use of products can be just as damaging as the skin issue itself. I always knew the acne medications and OTC acne products dried out the skin but let me give you a list of problems my clients have traded…

1. Softer fine lines and wrinkles using Retin-A for many, many years- Now has thin skin and is super sensitive to a lot of products limiting her ability to fix or stop any other issues. (this is a VERY common one)

2. Keeping acne/breakouts to a minimum by using salicylic acid on her skin, overnight and Renova (Tretinoin)- Now has red, raised bumps on her face from the reaction of using the two together…she hasn’t been told to stop yet! (well, I suggested she did 🙂 )

3. Using a cleanser with Glycolic Acid in it once and sometimes twice a day for clearer skin- Now has thin skin and reacts to pretty much everything unless it is SUPER mild. And with this one, you may not know you are reacting until you have the side effects.

4. Applying straight Benzoyl Peroxide to the skin, every night, and leaving it on to help get rid of acne- Now has super dry skin and acne!

These ingredients/products also make you more sensitive to the sun. Well, if you live in southern California, that is a pretty hard thing to avoid. If you live an active outdoor lifestyle, it is even harder to avoid. Sunscreen is never an option but when using this stuff, you CANNOT go a day without it.

All of the above will force your skin to AGE FASTER. It will BREAK DOWN THE COLLAGEN AND ELASTIN (you know, the stuff that keeps the skin firm). I don’t blame my clients or the customers at Target for doing the wrong thing or choosing the wrong products. I blame the industry for misleading them. Retin-A can be fine, for a short time but not for the rest of their life. And, it seems, most are not educated on what these ingredients can do long-term. Clients should know what a product is going to do, good and bad, so that they can decide if it is worth it.

I don’t think I know everything about skin and skin care ingredients but I do care about my clients and their skin. I just want their skin to be healthy without misleading them and without making them spend a fortune. I am very honest. If someone asks me how they can get rid of their age spots on their face, I ask about their outdoor activity level first. If the sun is your friend, that’s ok, but that means you probably have to live with those spots. I will not age someone faster so that I can fix something. I only want to help the skin improve.

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