November 29, 2010

SUN Bad... SPF Good...The 411 on Sun Protection

I can't stress this enough. THE SUN IS YOUR NUMBER ONE ENEMY!! It is one of the reasons for skin cancer, it depletes the collagen and elastin, and causes discoloration and trauma to the skin. Most of the sun damage that shows up on our bodies is done before the age of ten. While it's fun to lay on the sand or by the pool with no sunscreen, hat, or umbrella many of us won't be laughing when we look like prunes. So it's important to protect your skin from the sun to prevent further damage. Here are some facts about sunscreens when to wear them and how they work.

One thing to remember is that sun rays are extremely strong. Even when your out at 6am for your morning run, the sky may be cloudy but sun rays are still present and although they aren't causing a suntan, they are still effecting your skin.

UV Rays = Ultra Violet Radiation. There are two types of ultraviolet rays that are projected from the sun and actually touch the earth: UVA Rays and UVB Rays. Ultra Violet Aging Rays damage the collagen and elastin from the skin. This is very harmful because collagen and elastin are very difficult for cells to regenerate. Ultra Violet Burning Rays are the rays that actually burn skin and cause a tan or that orange leathery look in more mature individuals (years and years of damage). Some sun damage can be reversed thru chemical peels and microdermabrasion.

SPF = Sun Protection Factor. The sun protection factor is the amount of time you can remain under Ultra Violet Radiation before getting physically sun burnt. Scientists have found that humans can stay in the sun a total of 10 minutes before burning. This means that if a product has a Sun Protection Factor of 15 you can stay in the sun 150 minutes before you have to re-apply your sunscreen. So an SPF of 30 would mean:


So you can stay in the sun for up to 300 minutes before you have to re-apply your sunscreen. The reason we have to re-apply our sunscreen is because it absorbs into the skin. 

Physical sunscreen vs. Chemical Sunscreen These are the two types of sunscreens that can be purchased. A Physical sunscreen contains ingredients like "Zinc Oxide" and "Titanium Dioxide" which are anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Physical sunscreens are best for sensitive and acne prone individuals because they are less likely to irritate the skin. This type of sun-screen reflects and scatters both UVA and UVB rays before they hit the skin. Chemical Sunscreens contain "avobenzone", "oxybenzone", and "octinozate" Work different than physical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens still protect against both UVA and UVB Rays. Chemical sunscreens can be a bit more irritating to the skin. They have a sun-screening chemical that is absorbed into the skin and soaks up UV Radiation before it can harm the skin. 

There are differing opinions about which type of sunscreen is better. I believe that physical sunscreens are more beneficial to sensitive and acne prone clients along with young children. Chemical sunscreen is better for normal to dry skin individuals and mature clients. Most chemical sunscreens are moisturizers as well. Sunscreens are available in a lotion, cream, spray, and even foundation form. Whichever form you choose be sure that you are re-applying at least every two hours! Here are some of my favorites!

Thanks you for reading! Please ask as many questions as you like :)


  1. I've been using a chemical sunscreen and it does kinda make me break out. This article was very informative Thanks!!

  2. wow! informative, indeed! i am gonna pass this info along to everyone i know!! thanks Alexis, for posting this info!