The Importance of SPF

Written By: Ric Harrison and Belinda Stewart

Why is it so important? What happens to our skin if we don’t wear it while exposed to the sun?

You’ve heard it over and over again, wear sunscreen!  And… more importantly all year -round!   In past years, we use to believe that wearing a moisturizer with sunscreen was all we needed and we would be protected.  As new research and studies have developed, we have learned it is much more than just that.  Choosing the right broad spectrum SPF will protect you more and if you start combining it with antioxidants, you now boost your coverage and protection.  I personally use SkinMedica Total Defense & Repair with SPF34.  It provides that broad spectrum coverage with incredible antioxidants that boost the performance of the sunscreen.  Along with all these wonderful things I just described, it is anti-aging!  Who does not want that?   Even a tiny bit of sun exposure can do damage. You may not notice it now, but the damage is accrued over a lifetime. You only have one beautiful face, so in the name of protecting it for the long haul, wear the broad spectrum sunscreen with antioxidants.

Why is it so important?                                                                                                                                                  

Let’s face it! UVA, UVB, and Infrared rays play a significant role in the development of skin cancer and are responsible for premature skin aging due to sun exposure.  Why do we need to protect against Infrared?   Infrared rays change the structure of the developing cell by damaging cell membranes, changing the skin’s elasticity by breaking down collagen and elastin. Wrinkles and sagging, anyone? 

Even a moderate tan is an injury to the skin.  Ever heard the saying “tanned skin is damaged skin”.  Well, we know this because this change in color indicates a permanent change to the cell’s genetic structures.   As cells replicate and regenerate, they continue to produce copies with this genetic change.  Skin that is further damaged becomes less and less likely to maintain health over a lifetime.   I’m not willing to let sun damage dictate the future of my skin’s health.  It just not worth it. 

This is why sunscreen is kind of a big deal.   There are good, better, and best sunscreens on the market these days.  Make sure you research which provides the best broad spectrum protection and have been actually tested against varying sunscreens.  There is not a one size fits all, but making sure you are protected the best way your skin needs is definitely a priority.

If you’re going to wear sunscreen and you absolutely should—here are a couple of tips to make the most of out of it.

If you’re taking the time to apply sunscreen, you might as well get as much protection as you can. Apply liberally at least a half hour before going outside.  Cover up as much as you can, and aim to stay out of the direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., especially if you live at a higher altitude. If you’re on antibiotics, birth control pills or other hormonal medications, your skin may be more sensitive to the sun and you may need more protection.  Check with your doctor to see if you should up your sunscreen game further, either by finding a higher SPF or skipping the trips to the beach until your course of meds is finished.  Remember, it’s just not worth the consequeses.

We’re not trying to nag you (well, sort of)

We just like you and want you to have all the information to make the best decision for your skin. Knowing the why and the how can help make sense of an annoying, time-consuming habit, and if you have a good motivator, no sagging! no skin cancer! no spider veins! you may be more likely to slather on the ‘screen before you head outdoors. We promise, it’s worth it.

And on a last note, I spent my birthday in the Caribbean and did not get a noticeable tan at all! I wore plenty of sunscreen and found ways to not expose myself to as much sun. Here are some helpful idea’s to not get excess sun exposure;

(1) spend more time in the casino (BTW- they were good to me),

(2) if you rent a car, don’t rent a convertible (we rented an air-conditioned Jeep),

(3) were a hat to cover your face, and when you’re at the pool stay close to an umbrella!

Have a great summer and as always, Be Well & Be Beautiful!

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