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Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's Hot Outside and You Might Be Cool But...

Now that it's summer, our clients are outside more on vacation, with the kids, and are attending more activities outside. Because of this shift of environment, one of the concerns is how to avoid those pesky sunburns or how to get the best bronze look. Sunscreens are now flying off the shelves and your esthetician and other medical professionals are shaking their heads...if you only knew how much you needed these products all the time and not just in the summer! The Environmental Protection Agency  claims that 90% of signs of aging are caused by the UV rays emitted by the sun. So we all are being told about melanomas and the possibilities of skin cancer but not only that, the rays can make you look OLDER?! If cancer didn't scare some people, premature lines and wrinkles might.So what's going on the in market that people are buying sunscreen more now than ever, yet we are having more cases reported health challenges (check out the EPA link for more) caused by overexposure to the sun?

UVA & UVB Rays

This is a pretty great illustration of what's going on with the skin and UV. There are three types of rays that the sun emits- UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA and UVB are the ones that affect us the most- UVC (Ultraviolet COOKING rays) are blocked by our ozone. This is pretty good for us considering we would be burned to a crisp, hence the "cooking". Now UVA, stands for Ultraviolet Aging rays...which you guessed it, causes us to age.  UVB stands for Ultraviolet Burning rays and can be associated with sunburns. The table shows a great view of which rays affect the areas of our skin. So UVB is the strongest because it has a shorter wavelength and works more superficially on the skin. UVA rays are longer wavelengths, penetrate deeper, but take longer to cause damage. Don't make the mistake by thinking that it doesn't do damage since you can't visibly see it...it's there..breaking down your collagen and elastin. GASP! Sunscreen can be used to help protect from both rays, it's just finding the right kind and ingredients.

 New FDA Sunscreen Regulations

With more and more melanoma cases and the sunscreen business is still so profitable, what's the problem? Apparently the marketing and packaging of these products have been misleading consumers and not giving clear instruction.
The changes that have been made are:
  • final regulations that establish standards for testing the effectiveness of sunscreen products and require labeling that accurately reflects test results
  • a proposed regulation that would limit the maximum SPF value on sunscreen labeling to “SPF 50+”
  • a data request for safety and effectiveness information for sunscreen products formulated in certain dosage forms (e.g., sprays)
  • a draft guidance for sunscreen manufacturers on how to test and label their products in light of these new measures
For more information from the FDA click here

To summarize, the FDA has made it so that a product that states that no matter what the SPF (sun protection factor) is that it has to be reapplied every two hours. It's also recognizing that any SPF over 50 is ineffective. They are also requiring that sunscreens have better testing before being released to the public. Any products that say "sunblock" is to be relabeled because these products do not block UV rays. Also,"water proof" or "sweat proof"  advertising no longer to be used because all sunscreens can be removed with water and/or sweat. Look for a BROAD SPECTRUM label, this signifies that it has gone through the adequate testing for protection from both UVA and UVB rays. 
It's recommended to use at least a shot glass full for the entire body.

Sunscreen Checklist

So are you choosing the correct products and protecting yourself?

  • Is your sunscreen a broad-spectrum sunscreen?
  • Are you using a minimum of SPF 15 on your face? 
  • Are you reapplying every 2 hours?
  • If your sensitive, are you using a physical sunscreen?
  • If you are using a chemical sunscreen, are you applying at least 20-30 minutes before going out into the sun?
  • Are you using a lotion cream? (Spray sunscreens have been the least effective and are going through more testing)
  • Does your sunscreen not have any fragrances and perfumes? (these can actually cause pigmentation problems!)
  • Are you wearing sunscreen every day?


If you can answer these questions and can reply with a "yes" then you are on your way to better health and beautiful skin!
Interested in more? Try another article here.