Imagine a gorgeous beach bathed in the orange heat of the sun on a hot summer day. The waves are crashing, the margaritas are flowing and you and your new Marc Jacobs bathing suit look amazing in the sand. What you don’t see is the damage those rays of sun are doing to your skin, and how sunscreen can prevent serious health risks associated with sunburns. We spoke with Dr. Pearlman—women’s health expert at Pearl Rejuvenation Medical Vitality Clinic in Toronto—and Charmaine Cooper from Dermalogica for their expert tips on all things sunscreen and sun damage.
SUNSCREEN UPDATE: WHAT’S NEW WITH SPF
1. New sunscreen technologies
Wearing sunscreen is nothing new. It’s learning about what type of sunscreen is safe for your skin—and keeping an eye on sunscreen news—that have become essential. In the world of sunscreen, dermatologists are promoting Oleosome Technology—a revolutionary creation that acts as an SPF booster for safe and comfortable application using Vitamin E from safflower seeds. “With this technology, we are able to sustain good performance of SPF levels without higher chemical content,” says Cooper. This means that a sunscreen can be given a higher SPF factor without raising the level of chemical agents.
Dermalogica’s UV Smart Booster Technology is also making headlines in the world of sunscreen. “UV Smart Booster Technology helps prevent damaging effects of UV rays by adding an extra layer of protection from pigmentation and wrinkles,” says Cooper. Plus, this technology takes advantage of the natural protective qualities of antioxidant-rich Vitamin C and E so your sunscreen is activated only when exposed to the sun.
2. New sunscreen formulas
In previous years, sunscreen products have been labeled with only an SPF rating to indicate the level of UVB protection—the type of rays that produce sunburns and tans. However, you should now be on the hunt for products that also protect against UVA and sun damage. “It is UVA that leads to sun damage, aging and most importantly, melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. SPF ratings tell the consumer nothing about UVA protection,” says Dr. Pearlman. Check the label on your sunscreen for both UVB and UVA protection to fully shield your skin from the sun.
Find out the best ways to use and apply sunscreen on the next page…
What should you look for in a sunscreen formula? Dr. Pearlman advises her patients to choose naturally occurring ingredients such as titanium and zinc—both of which are known to block UVA and UVB rays, and help prevent sun damage. What should you avoid? “Consumers will want to avoid harmful ingredients such as parabens and benzones,” says Dr. Pearlman. Go for formulas with high concentrations of vitamins and minerals and steer clear of PABAs and hormone disrupters. “Key ingredients to look out for are new peptides, stable antioxidants and vitamins,” advises Cooper. The more natural the contents, the better!
SUNSCREEN BASICS: THE APPLICATION PROCESS
1. Choose the right type of sunscreen
Look for a natural, mineral-enhanced sunscreen in lotion or cream form. Cooper urges sunbathers to avoid sprays, wipes and sticks—including products that claim to be water or sweat proof—and to always choose sunscreen lotions as their best defense against the sun.
2. Apply sunscreen properly
According to both Cooper and Dr. Pearlman, here’s the most important rule to follow when applying sunscreen: A teaspoon of daylight defense product for the face and a one-ounce (shot-glass sized) dollop of sunscreen for the body should be applied every two hours when outdoors.
3. Get out there and enjoy the sun
After applying sunscreen, you’re ready to have fun in the sun, right? First, be sure you’ve covered any areas directly exposed to the sun with a generous dose of sunscreen. “Avoidance is key during peak UV hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when it is wise to adorn a broad-rimmed hat, polarized sunglasses and sun-protective clothing,” says Dr. Pearlman. Now get out there and soak up some rays the healthy way!