Spring is here and now is the time we want to be outdoors enjoying the sunshine and activities. Let's have that fun in the sun, and let's protect our skin while doing it!

Here are answers to common questions I get in my treatment room about using sunscreen, what type to use, and the concern for getting sufficient Vitamin D.
Won't I miss out on getting enough Vitamin D if I wear sunscreen?

This is a question I hear all the time. The answer is NO. There is actually no safe dose of the Sun that provides Vitamin D without putting your skin at risk for skin cancer and accelerated aging.

It's Spring and we all need to physically and emotionally be outside. But we must understand why we need to protect our skin 365 days a year, in all climates, and whether it is overcast or sunny.

You have likely heard me say that protecting your skin from the sun is the first line of skin defense and that using sunscreen is a necessary part of our daily routine. You can spend money on great anti-aging serums, but you must also protect your skin from the sun to get the best benefit.

The Skin Cancer Foundation states: "It has been proven that the sun's UV light damages the skin's cellular DNA and can lead to skin cancer. Both the US Dept of Health & Human Services and the World Health Organization have identified solar UV as a proven human carcinogen with studies linking it to about 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers and about 86% of melanomas, as well as premature skin aging. UV radiation also harms the eyes and can cause cataracts, eyelid cancers and ocular skin cancers."
  • So don't forget about also using sunglasses!

Both UVA and UVB rays can lead to skin cancer. I am seeing more and more clients diagnosed with skin cancer and am really trying to educate about the necessity of daily sun protection. Make it a daily habit with your children and teens. Educate them early on about the importance of protecting their skin from the sun. This early lesson will definitely benefit them long-term.

UVB rays are primarily the Burning rays and cause DNA damage. Yet they are the ones that are required by your skin to synthesize Vitamin D.

UVA rays are the Aging rays. They cause fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, pigmentation and loss of elasticity. They can penetrate through window glass even on a cloudy day. This is another reason I recommend wearing sunscreen even when working from home or with incidental driving and errands.

So how do I get enough Vitamin D?

You can get your Vitamin D from your diet but also from supplements. Ask your doctor about the best dose for your body. Below is a picture of some Superfoods to also enjoy eating to help that UV defense.

I am using a topical form of Vitamin A at night. Can that still make my skin sensitive to the sun during the day?

Absolutely! If you are using the prescription form of Vitamin A such as Retin-A, Tretinoin, Refissa, Tazarotene or a product with Retinol in it, your skin is more sensitive to the sun's rays. It is even more important that you use daily spf. I highly recommend one that provides a physical barrier as will be explained vs. a chemical one.

The Vitamin A serums we carry at the salon contain only the natural form of Vitamin A called Retinaldehyde (retinal with an "a" for short). It works very similarly, is gentler on the skin and does not cause sun sensitivity because of the technology used. (You can usually also receive facial waxing services with this form of Vitamin A where you cannot with the others.)

How much sunscreen do I need?

Most adults need about one ounce which is enough to fill a shot glass for the entire body. Please don’t forget the ears, scalp if balding, tops of the feet and the back of the neck. 

When outdoors, reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, or after swimming or sweating. Some people, like myself, need to reapply more often.
Chemical Sunscreens include active ingredients like:
Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octisalate, Homosalate, Octinoxate.

They are absorbed into your skin to protect against UV rays but can also make their way into your bloodstream and may be hormone disruptors.

*Oxybenzone is the most harmful chemical sunscreen and is also deadly to coral reefs.

Mineral (Physical) sunscreens contain the active ingredients of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. Both sit on top of the skin and deflect UV rays. They stay out of your bloodstream and are deemed safe by the FDA. In the past, mineral filters used to leave a white residue on the skin, but today’s mineral filters perform better.

Some differences:

  • Physical sunscreen protects from the sun quickly after application, while chemical sunscreen takes approximately 20 minutes.
  • Physical sunscreen lasts longer when in direct UV light, while chemical sunscreen stops working much more rapidly and must be applied more frequently.
  • Physical sunscreen is gentle on the skin and less likely to clog pores, making it better for sensitive skin, while chemical sunscreen is much harsher.

Are all Mineral (Physical) Sunscreens equally good?

Zinc Oxide has an edge over Titanium Dioxide as it better protects your skin from long UVA rays.

What kind of sunscreen should I use?
Look for a mineral/physical based sunscreen that only contains the active ingredients of Zinc Oxide alone OR Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. I prefer an SPF of 30. You do not want anything less. Select a sunscreen where the Zinc Oxide is a higher percentage than the Titanium Dioxide as the Zinc Oxide is more protecting.

Know that some sunscreen packaging can be confusing. They appear to be physical/mineral sunscreens, but then they also contain active chemical ingredients. Read the label for active ingredients before buying and also check out the listed percentage of physical sunscreen.

At the salon, I use and retail mineral sunscreens by Suntegrity (tinted and untinted for the face and body), Hale and Hush (face), and Osmosis MD (face). They all only have Zinc Oxide and are an SPF 30. They range from 13%-20% Zinc Oxide so are very protecting of the skin. One of these is perfect for your skin.

What if I am undergoing cancer treatments or have had radiation therapy?

I strongly suggest only using a physical barrier/mineral sunscreen and reapplying very often. Your skin is definitely more sensitive to the sun than prior to treatment.

Where can I get skin cancer statistics and information?

Click on the link below for the latest info about skin cancer facts and access to a variety of resources from the Skin Cancer Foundation:

Questions? Contact Me:
As always, I am only an email, a phone call, or an instagram away! Please feel free to contact me!

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