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Sunscreen 101

// June 14, 2018

Who doesn’t love the long bright sunny days of summer? But, unfortunately, there is a dark side to the sun. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) has been identified both from the sun and from tanning machines as a known cause of cancer in humans. UV exposure causes DNA damage in cells involved in the development of skin cancer. More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined.

Therefore, along with other sun safety strategies such as clothing, wide brim hat, sunglasses, and seeking shade; sunscreens serve an important protective function. One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence doubles the risk of melanoma later in life; five sunburns by any age doubles the risk as well

There’s no question: Sunscreen is the most powerful anti-aging tool there is! 80% of all aging comes from UV exposure. But how do you navigate the hundreds of choices to pick the right one? Here is a simple guide to help.

Step 1: Full-spectrum UV Protection

I recommend using at least SPF 30 every day and when outdoors, reapplying every 2 hours. To determine if a sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB radiation, check the label, which should note full or broad-spectrum UV protection. UVB radiation causes sunburns, pigment, brown/red spots, and skin cancer. UVA rays are even more dangerous because they have relativity equal intensity all year long; they penetrate through clouds, rain, snow, windshields and windows. UVA radiation reaches deep into the dermis and causes aging and DNA changes that can lead to deadly skin cancer.

Better still, check the label for some combination of these FDA-approved actives, which have been shown to protect against at least part of the UVA spectrum: avobenzone, ecamsule, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone and zinc oxide. The only two ingredients that can by themselves protect against the full UV spectrum are stabilized avobenzone and zinc oxide. We highly recommend our Skin Ceuticals sunscreen options.

Step 2: Chemical vs Physical

There are 16 FDA-approved sunscreen actives categorized into two types of sunscreen active ingredients; chemical and physical. Chemical ingredients absorb UV radiation that enter the skin; and physical ingredients physically block UV rays by remaining on the skin’s surface and reflects away the sun’s rays. Some of those 16 ingredients are controversial, such as PABA, and should be avoided along with synthetic colors and fragrances especially if you have sensitive skin. Physical sunscreens are recommended to avoid many of the common side effects seen with sunscreens such as irritation to the skin, stinging and allergies. Look for sunscreens listing active ingredients of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Our Image sunscreens are a great product for dry or oily skin conditions.

Step 3: Matching Skin Type

Choosing the wrong formula may result in breakouts or worse and could make you reluctant to use any sunscreen products at all. If you live in a sunny climate, look for added ingredients such as antioxidants and enzymes to layer under your SPF. If you battle dry skin, look for creamier, more emollient formulas. If you fear break-outs, be sure to stay with light, noncomedogenic formulas made just for the face. Mineral-based, powdered sunscreens are great options for acne prone clients who want to avoid chemical sunscreen ingredients. Sunscreen actives most commonly associated with skin reactions are PABA, avobenzone, oxybenzone and octocrylene as well as fragrances, dyes, and preservatives. For those with sensitive skin, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the least allergenic actives. We love our Jane Iredale powder sunscreen options and they are recommended by the Skin Cancer Association.

Bottom Line: The best sunscreen is the one you are willing to use every day of the year.

We carry the following pharmaceutical lines of SPF products:
Skin Ceuticals
Jane Iredale

Call Excel Cosmetic Surgery to schedule a consult or treatment with our licensed Master Aesthetician, Pamela.

Pamela Howard, LME
Excel Cosmetic Surgery
1735 N State St
Provo, UT 84604
801 379-2900