Sunscreen Savvy, July 2011
Before you soak up, let these facts sink in
Several times a day Center MedSpa clients ask, “What can you do for these wrinkles?” pointing to the sides of their face and foreheads. Our first response is, “Tell me about the sunscreen you are using.” At first this question often generates looks of confusion, but answering it results in an educated client who is armed with the knowledge and use of a proper sunscreen.
To start out, we must continually remind ourselves that skin aging is not a process associated with the chronological number of years we have lived, but more directly related to the skin's cumulative exposure to sunlight and other environmental factors.
As much as 90-95 percent of what we perceive as inevitable signs of aging is sun damage, and it only takes casual exposure over the years to produce these changes. Most of this damage occurs before the age of 10, and at least 80 percent before the age of 18. Although it may take decades for this damage to show on your face, that should not deter you from protecting yourself now. Sun protection today helps prevent signs of aging in the future.
When your skin is subjected to these solar assaults it loses its ability to reproduce exact copies of healthy cells, prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin, repair tissue rapidly, and prevent the attack of lipids in cell membranes. Eventually, due to free radical damage, the skin gradually breaks down.
It has only been within the last hundred years that we have chosen to drastically increase our sun exposure, after tanning became fashionable in the 1920s. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. Malignant melanoma, the most deadly and often fatal form of skin cancer, is the second most frequently reported cancer in women in their 20s, and third only to breast cancer and thyroid cancer for women in their 30s. Malignant melanoma is one of the few forms of cancer actually on the rise, while other forms of cancer are starting to show a decline in occurrence. 90 percent of all melanomas are UV sun exposure related.
Ultraviolet light is split into three bands - UVA, UVB and UVC.
It is critically important for a sunscreen to not only protect against UVB (think You Vill Burn), but also protect against UVA (think You Vill Age). UVB leads to sunburns and is the band of light tested for SPF. UVA protection is closer to visible light and is not included in SPF ratings. This means a high SPF sunscreen may not provide protection against UVA light. This type of range causes free radical oxygen formation, leading to inflammation, sun damage and increased risk for certain types of cancer. UVC protection is not necessary as earth's atmosphere is extremely good at stopping this light, providing protection.
We know at Center Medspa that the amount of choices when if comes to suncreen can be very overwhelming. Should you buy sunscreen or sunblock? SPF 30or SPF 70? Water resistant or water proof? Broad spectrum or not? Have no fear, the FDA is here and is issuing new rules and regulations on the labeling of sunscreens. The experts at Center MedSpa promise it is a step in the right direction and are looking forward to sharing the news with you.