Every client that walks in my door is concerned with anti-aging. Everyone wants to slow down the aging process whether they are a man or a woman. Surprisingly, many still do not use sunscreen/sun protection on a daily basis! Sun protection is the first and foremost step one should take in protecting your skin from aging. The sun’s rays are stronger than they have ever been and the risk of getting skin cancer is growing at an alarming rate. Which is why it is vital to wear sun protection on a DAILY BASIS on your face and body.
Many of my clients will use the excuse that they don’t like to wear sunscreen on their face because it feels greasy and heavy on their face and they are worried about breaking out. Well, this can no longer be used as an excuse because there are hundreds of sunscreens out there that have wonderful lightweight, non-greasy formulas that do not clog their pores. (In future articles I will review different sunscreens-just check in on a regular basis!) What’s really important to know is that it is extremely important to look for sunscreens that have both UVA and UVB protection.
So what is the difference between the two and why is it important to have both? All sunscreens will have UVB protection. UVB stands for “Ultra Violet Burning” rays, so the SPF factor correlates with the UVB rays and the function of the sunscreen is to protect your skin from not burning. UVA stands for “Ultra Violet Aging” rays. These are the rays that everyone should be very concerned about because these are the rays that cause aging, fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation (brown spots). Not until recently have some manufacturers started to add UVA protection to sunscreens. You may be someone who wears sun protection every day, but if your sunscreen doesn’t contain UVA protection, your skin is not completely protected and you are still risking your skin from getting skin damage. How you will know if your sunscreen has both UVA and UVB protection is that it should be noted on the bottle by saying “UVA/UVB protection” or “Broad Spectrum protection”. If the bottle doesn’t mention anything, then it probably only has UVB protection and not UVA protection.
I personally recommend that when you purchase a sunscreen, you should get a minimum of SPF 30, especially if you have fair skin. The higher you go in SPF just means that you can wait a little longer before you have to re-apply. Even on cloudy days or if you are indoors all day it is still a good idea to wear sun protection because the suns rays, especially the UVA rays, can still penetrate through the clouds and through glass windows.
Many clients also say that their way of protecting their skin is through the makeup that they use (such as foundation, concealer, etc.). I give them kudos for trying to protect their skin, but usually makeup formulations don’t have enough protection in them to completely protect the skin and most likely they probably don’t have UVA protection added. I always think that it is a good idea to have protection in your makeup, but to use sunscreen separately.
Most importantly sunscreen is a way of protecting yourself from getting skin cancer, but if you are really concerned with aging, this is the most simple and best thing you can do for your skin. It may take time for you to find a formula that works well with your skin, but hang in there because your skin will reap the benefits.