Unveiling the Secrets of Dermaplaning

Unveiling the Secrets of Dermaplaning

Dermaplaning has been around for over 40 years, but has gained immense popularity as a non-invasive cosmetic procedure in recent years. It’s a very effective skincare treatment that is simple but delivers some amazing results. Here I explore the concept of dermaplaning, its benefits, and if it may be right for you. Let’s dive in!

What is dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning, also known as epidermal leveling or blading, is a skincare procedure performed by our experienced aestheticians. It entails using a specialized surgical scalpel to gently scrape off dead skin cells and vellus hair (peach fuzz) from the surface of the skin. It will take about 20-30 minutes and is completely painless. You can enjoy the benefits of this treatment every three to four weeks to maintain a smooth, radiant appearance.

How can I benefit from dermaplaning?

Numerous medical journals highlight the potential benefits of dermaplaning. According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (Smith et al., 2018), dermaplaning can improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and enhance the absorption and efficacy of skincare products. Additionally, dermaplaning can provide a smoother canvas for makeup application, resulting in a more flawless finish (Gonzalez et al., 2019). In short, it rejuvenates your skin by promoting cell turnover and enhances product penetration. Any skin care products placed on your skin after the treatment will absorb better and your skin will be glowing and smooth!

Are there any side effects?

Dermaplaning is very safe and has little side effects. A comprehensive review published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology (Al-Niaimi et al., 2020) indicates that possible side effects of dermaplaning may include temporary redness, sensitivity, and a risk of superficial cuts or nicks. However, these side effects are not common and tend to resolve quickly.

Is dermaplaning right for your skin type?

Dermaplaning is suitable for most people seeking skin rejuvenation. It is particularly beneficial for those with dry or rough skin, superficial hyperpigmentation, or mild acne scarring. However, it is not ideal if you have active acne, open wounds, sunburns, or a history of keloid scarring. If you are not sure, just ask our aesthetician and she can help you make the best decision for you.

What should you know before dermaplaning?

Before having a dermaplaning treatment, there are a few considerations. It is important to have a professional experienced in performing dermaplaning and never try this at home! Additionally, inform our aesthetician about any allergies, skin conditions, or medications you are currently using. Avoid excessive sun exposure and discontinue the use of retinoids or exfoliating products a few days before the treatment.

Can you combine dermaplaning with other facials?

Dermaplaning can be combined with other types of facials to enhance your results. According to a study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology (Mills et al., 2019), combining dermaplaning with chemical peels can provide a synergistic effect, improving overall skin texture and tone. When scheduling your facial, just ask if dermaplaning can be added to boost your results!

Dermaplaning offers a range of benefits to improve the appearance and texture of your skin. Indulge in this rejuvenating experience, and watch as your complexion transforms, revealing a fresh and youthful appearance that will make heads turn!

The Skinny on Exfoliating for the Best Skin Ever

The Skinny on Exfoliating for the Best Skin Ever

The Skinny on Exfoliating for the Best Skin Ever

Exfoliation is one of my most favorite skincare steps. I love getting my skin back to its natural state – free of sunscreen, dead skin cells, make-up, and any pollutants from the day. It’s such a clean, refreshing feeling!

These days there are so many exfolitating options of scrubs, cleansers, masks, facials, dermaplaning, retinoids, and in-office peels.

With all of these choices you might be wondering what to choose! Then there is the questions if why exfoliate and how often should you exfoliate?


WHAT EXACTLY IS EXFOLIATING?


Remember this?!

Remember this? St. Ives Apricot Scrub.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this today, but my first exfoliating facial scrub was St Ives Apricot Scrub when I was a teen trying to help my acne. This was before I even knew anything about exfoliating and I was scrubbing my skin to the point of redness in hopes to control some unruly pimples! Now that I’m older, I am using more sophisticated products that are gentler and more targeted for keeping my skin smooth and fighting fines and wrinkles.

Officially, exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a chemical, granular substance, or exfoliation tool.

Mother Nature does her own job of exfoliating and your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells to make room for new cells every 30 days or so.  As the new skin cells mature, they travel from the lower layers of your skin to the top epidermal layer. Once they make it to that outer layer, the skin cells are dead.  And eventually, they’ll slough off as the newer cells will come to the surface. If dead cells don’t shed completely on their own, it can result in a dull skin tone, flaky patches and clogged pores.

Exfoliation helps your natural sloughing process along.  When done correctly, using an exfoliant can help clear off the dead skin cells and unclog pores, revealing newer, younger skin cells below.  That glow and brightness you are looking for…exfoliating can help you get that!


6 BENEFITS OF EXFOLIATING:


1) UNCLOGS PORES AND PREVENTS ACNE

Those frustrating clogged pores, that ultimately can turn into acne pimples, are the result of dead skin cells (along with other surface debris) getting trapped in your pores instead of being shed into the environment.  If you suffer from acne, your skin creates and sheds dead skin cells faster than someone who doesn’t break out. Someone with normal skin will shed about 30,000 – 40,000 dead skin cells AN HOUR. Acne sufferers’ skin can shed up to 5X that!

Sweeping away those dead skin cells and debris with exfoliation stops them from making their way into your pores and causing stubborn whiteheads and blackheads.  Someone who is prone to acne can greatly benefit from exfoliation at home and in a professional dermatology setting. I will typically recommend things like a topical retinoid prescription and/or an AHA cleanser for my acne patients to use and home.  Additionally, I love seeing the benefits of faster results and smooth skin when they come in for in-office glycolic and salicylic acid peels (see What’s Up with Chemical Facial Peels).


2) INCREASES CIRCULATION

Just the process of exfoliating can stimulate blood flow to the surface of your skin. This promotes collagen production, encourages healthy cells, and brightens your skin.


3) HELPS OTHER SKINCARE PRODUCTS PENETRATE DEEPER

Exfoliating your skin will help skincare products like antioxidant serums and moisturizers penetrate deeply into your skin to work more effectively. Removing those extra dead skin cells will get your skin to a state of maximum absorption, so those products that you really want to be workhorses for anti-aging penetrating deeper in the skin so that they can work their magic!


4) IMPROVES TONE AND REDUCES BROWN SPOTS/SUN DAMAGE

When your skin gets exposed to the sun, it makes a chemical called melanin to protect itself against further UV damage. Repeated exposure can cause a clump of melanin to form, which shows up as a flat brown or black spot By exfoliating, you can help fade these dark spots by encouraging new skin cells and improving the tone of your skin.


5) IMPROVES TEXTURE

Exfoliating increases your skin cell turnover rate. This means that it will promote new, healthy cells at the surface, and break down and remove the dead, dry, or dying ones. The result is soft skin, smooth texture, a more uniform appearance and a glow that we all strive for!


6) PROMOTES COLLAGEN SYNTHESIS

Collagen is a protein that acts as the structure for our skin and helps with elasticity.  It is what we are all trying to get more of (and keep from losing) in our skin to avoid lines, sagging, and wrinkles.

Continued and regular exfoliating over time has been shown to increase collagen production in your skin. Resulting in a complexion that is more plump, tight and young-looking.  Amen to that!


THERE ARE 2 TYPES OF EXFOLIATORS…

PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL:

It sounds complicated, but they are doing a similar thing in different ways. Some people prefer chemical exfoliants over physical ones and vice versa, but it’s up to your specific needs. I actually use both!


PHYSICAL EXFOLIATORS

This is the type of exfoliation that involves you or someone else doing all of the work with either manual scrubbing, rubbing or shaving (in dermaplaning).

The skincare products in this category include: cleansing scrubs (containing beads, sugar, salt and other rough particles), body brushes (that you used by hand or motorized, like Clarisonic), loofahs, exfoliating mitts, and in-office microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, and microneedling.

Physical exfoliation can be effective, but care must be taken.  It is easy to overuse them or use them too harshly and cause redness, irritation and even pimples.  Make sure to use these gently and look for tiny scrubbing particles that won’t scratch or damage your skin. One tip is to follow up with a humectant moisturizer or hyaluronic acid serum to minimize irritation and lock in moisture.


CHEMICAL EXFOLIATORS

This method uses different chemicals, including acids, retinoids, or enzymes.  The benefit of these is that they not only exfoliate the surface dead skin cells away, but also to break the bonds between cells to renew your skin even further and offer more dramatic results.  Chemical exfoliants might come in a wash labeled for acne or anti-aging, in a serum, in an at-home peel, or a peel at your dermatology or esthetician office. The difference between a peel at an esthetician office and derm office is strength.  In a derm office we can go deeper and do stronger peels. I love doing peels and we have a big variety to choose from!

Some examples of chemical exfoliants include:

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) – glycolic (from sugar), lactic (from milk), citrus (from citric fruits), mandelic (from almonds) and malic acids (from apples).

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) – salicylic acid (from willow trees).

Poly Hydroxy Acids (PHAs) – gluconolactone (made from an acid found in fruit, honey and wine) and lactobionic acid (a sugar acid).

Retinoids – over-the-counter retinol and adapalene (Differin gel), and prescriptions including:  tretinoin (Retin A), tazarotene (Tazorac) and alitretinoin (Altreno).

Enzymes – common ones are from fruits including: papaya, pineapple, blueberry, or pumpkin.

I realize that there are a lot of chemical choices out there.  Take care choosing, because just as with physical exfoliation, chemical exfoliation can irritate the skin if done incorrectly. If you’re unsure about how to incorporate a chemical product into your skincare routine, make an appointment for a little guidance.


HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU BE EXFOLIATING?

Believe it or not, you can exfoliate TOO much!  The satisfaction of scrubbing the negative and wrong doings off your face cannot be denied.  At times it’s tempting to be aggressive and over exfoliate. But taking too much of that protective barrier on your skin’s surface can result in a red and irritated face.  The best way to know you are on the right track is to see the glowing results without irritation. Slow and steady is the key! It sounds simple, but ultimately you can exfoliate as often as your skin will tolerate it.

The best way to see what your skin can tolerate is to start with an exfoliator once or twice a week, preferably introducing a chemical exfoliator before a physical one. Chemical ones tend to be less intense and more evenly applied.  Physical ones like scrubs tend to cause more irritation if used too aggressively – which is tempting to do at first.

If it feels like your skin can handle more without reacting, then it’s okay to slowly increase as your skin allows. If you notice that your face is stinging and red, or otherwise angry afterward, it’s time to take a step back.  You may need to decrease the frequency of use, decrease pressure with your physical exfoliant, or switch to a milder chemical formulation (like lactic or glycolic acid rather than a retinoid). It’s also worth considering your whole skincare routine and avoiding using other potentially irritating products right after you exfoliate. Normal skin can typically handle 5 to 7 times a week with a gentle exfoliant.  I like to use my chemical exfoliant wash in the evening to totally remove dirt, oil, make-up and sunscreen from the day.

However, if you have more sensitive skin or rosacea you may only be able to exfoliate once a week.  If you know you are sensitive, don’t overdo it! Stick to a gentle exfoliant and make sure to moisturize immediately after to lock in moisture and limit irritation and redness.

Benefits of exfoliation on the skin

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PRODUCT TO USE AT HOME

Your over-the-counter options for exfoliating are almost endless.

Picking a product that will work for you depends on your skin type and your major concerns. If you have dry or sensitive skin, you might have problems tolerating harsh scrubbing products, while someone with oily or acne-prone skin would be able to tolerate them more easily.  Here a few suggestions that I tend to reach for…


CLEANSERS:


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Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser

This cleanses without irritation or over-drying with botanical anti-inflammatory and soothing ingredients like: Willow Bark Extract (a botanical source of Salicylic acid), Date Fruit Extract, Orange Fruit Extract and just the perfect touch of Menthol to make you feel like you just went to the spa!


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SKINCEUTICALS MICRO-EXFOLIATING SCRUB

With hydrated silica beads are used to exfoliate instead of micro plastic beads of the past so that it is better for the environment.


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Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub

This scrub is fabulous for all skin types, especially great if you struggle with both breakouts and dry, sensitive skin. It contains jojoba beads that are a gentle way to exfoliate, and the addition of willow bark is an excellent way to naturally fight pimples.


LEAVE-ON EXFOLIANTS:


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Epionce Lytic Tx

Apply this product at night to help with fine lines and wrinkles as well as fight those stubborn pimples with both Salicylic acid and Azelaic acid!


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SkinCeuticals Retexurizing Activator

This hydrating serum contains 20% glycolic acid for fabulous exfoliation without drying out your skin. I alternate this one with my prescription Retin-A/tretinoin cream at night for anti-aging superpower without irritation.


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SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age

This is a fun combination of 2% dioic acid with alpha and beta hydroxy acids prevent blemishes while diminishing hyperpigmentation and reducing wrinkles and fine lines. You can even use this one to spot treat pimples!


retin a.jpg

Prescription Only Retin-A/Tretinoin Cream

This is the cream of the crop for exfoliating and collagen production! But watch out for possible irritation with this one. It’s worth asking your derm about this one for great skin texture and tone.

Beauty Sleep: The Importance Of Shut-Eye for Your Skin

Beauty Sleep: The Importance Of Shut-Eye for Your Skin

Beauty Sleep: The Importance Of Shut-Eye for Your Skin

WHY IS SLEEP IMPORTANT FOR YOUR SKIN?

If your life is busy and you find yourself always multitasking, this is good news for you! While you are getting some much needed shut-eye, you’re getting plenty accomplished for your skin while you sleep!  When it comes to a healthy routine for your skin, a good night’s sleep may be the most powerful treatment.

At night, your body and skin have precious time to repair and recover. Your skin cells are regenerating while your facial muscles are relaxing. These renewing hours are when your skin has the most time shielded from the exposure to potential UV (sun) damage, environmental stresses and pollutants, and is clean of occlusive makeup or sunscreen. Your skin is simply focused on repairing itself instead of defending itself. Are you giving your skin it’s due time to rest and rejuvenate?

WHAT HAPPENS WITH SKIN CELL PRODUCTION AND REPAIR WHILE I’M SLEEPING?

THE CHANGES IN THESE HORMONES HAVE A BIG IMPACT ON THE HEALTH OF YOUR SKIN:

  • CORTISOL
  • HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE (HGH)
  • MELATONIN

Cortisol is a stress hormone that naturally decreases while you sleep.  This is a good thing because the lower levels allow your skin to regenerate and heal from the day. When you lose out on sleep, your body makes more cortisol which will interfere with your body’s healing process and contribute to inflammation. That’s why it is known as a “stress hormone”! At high levels, cortisol can actually break down collagen. This will accelerate the aging process and hurt the quality of your skin.  

At night, your body makes human growth hormone (HGH), which functions to stimulate skin cell production. So if you are not sleeping like you should, HGH is lower and you lose out on collagen and new cell production. Your skin will be thinner and can result in more noticeable signs of aging and skin laxity.

Most of us know a little about melatonin. It’s a hormone that increases when you are sleeping. But did you know that this also has an impact on your skin? Melatonin is a skin-protecting antioxidant. We need melatonin to help repair damaged skin cells.

If you are skimping out on sleep, these changes in hormones can cause a decrease in cell production and repair and increase in inflammation, which leads to a breakdown of collagen with no new cell growth.  Bottom line: Your skin loses it’s glow and bounce.

WHAT ARE OTHER CHANGES IN MY SKIN IF I’M NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP?

TWO BIG CHANGES THAT HAPPEN WITH DECREASED SHUT-EYE ARE ALTERED BLOOD FLOW IN YOUR SKIN AND INCREASED MOISTURE LOSS.

CHANGES IN BLOOD FLOW:

Blood flow to the skin increases while you snooze, which means you wake to a healthy glow. On the flip side, if you have poor sleep habits, inflammation in the body is increased and this causes capillaries to constrict affecting the flow of nutrients to the skin.

When you’re tired and losing out on sleep, blood doesn’t flow efficiently and your skin will look dull.

INCREASED MOISTURE LOSS:

Toward the end of the day and into the night you are losing the most water from your skin (officially called trans-epidermal water loss). In fact, your skin loses about 25% more water overnight than during the day! However, if you are not sleeping inflammation will occur in the skin, causing an imbalance and more water loss. This will lead to under eye circles, dryness and more visible wrinkles.

Prevent moisture loss by applying a heavier moisturizer (one with hyaluronic acid is best!) before bed to help you wake up with soft, hydrated skin.  I use Epionce Renewal Cream.

WHY DO I GET DARK CIRCLES/PUFFY EYES?

When you’re horizontal at night, fluid naturally wants to pool in the trough under your eyes. Missing out on z’s causes a change in blood flow to your skin making this condition worse. Try sleeping on an extra pillow to keep your head elevated, make sure limit your salt intake after lunchtime, and limit cocktails before bed. Salt and alcohol both encourage swelling.

In the morning, one trick is to dab on an eye gel with caffeine to temporarily tighten the skin.  Or place two soaked green tea bags (these are especially great if you freeze them the night before) under your eyes for about 5 minutes to reduce the puffiness. Better yet, hit the sheets earlier and avoid tired puffy eyes altogether!

CAN THE INCREASED INFLAMMATION CAUSED BY LACK OF SLEEP MAKE OTHER SKIN CONDITIONS WORSE?

YES!

Conditions like:  acne breakouts, seborrheic dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis can flare with lack of sleep.  

Late nights will increase your cortisol levels and put your skin in a pro-inflammatory state. This stress can mess with the protective outer layer of skin that keeps moisture in and bad stuff like bacteria out. The disruption in the skin barrier can lead to skin sensitivity, red inflammation and scale triggering acne breakouts and flares of dermatitis and psoriasis.  

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP GET SOME Z’S?

HERE ARE 3 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN TRYING TO GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP.

AVOID ALCOHOL WITHIN AN HOUR OR 2 OF GOING TO SLEEP:

Alcohol is known to be a REM sleep inhibitor. The REM stage of sleep is when you are in a deep sleep and when cell regeneration happens. This is the most important stage of sleep for your body to rest and recover.

Alcohol temporarily binds to the GABA receptors in your brain, making you feel relaxed and drowsy. But once this wears off, you can have a rebound effect that is stimulating or even anxiety provoking!  Even though drinking alcohol can make you sleepy, it impacts your quality of sleep.
 

REDUCE BLUE LIGHT EXPOSURE BEFORE BEDTIME:

We all are pretty aware of what blue light is these days. It is the light emitted by light bulbs, your phone, computer and iPad.  So as you read this you are exposed. Even if you dim the brightness on your device, the blue spectrum of light can have an impact on you. Blue light suppresses melatonin production for more than twice as long as other light wavelengths and disrupts your normal circadian rhythm.  So limit your device time to 90 minutes prior to sleepy time.

You can limit your exposure by:

Limiting the blue light spectrum in the evening will help with a good night’s sleep and good skin too!

GO OUT AND GET SOME EXERCISE:

You may be someone who is getting enough exercise each day. This is one of the best ways to make sure you are tired enough to get quality z’s. Exercising releases endorphins that help release and reduce stress. After a day of good exercise, you will be less stressed and more tired and set up for a good night’s sleep.

WHAT IS A GOOD NIGHTTIME SKIN CARE ROUTINE?

If you miss out on those much needed z’s the best way to fight back and keep your skin healthy is to establish a good evening skincare routine.  

LEARN ABOUT WHEN TO APPLY YOUR SKIN CARE PRODUCTS

Why Sunscreen is the Secret Sauce

Why Sunscreen is the Secret Sauce

Why Sunscreen is the Secret Sauce

Can you believe that the best tool out there for ageless skin is inexpensive, easy to use and is probably already sitting in your bathroom?

This fabulous secret sauce is sunscreen! Not only does sunscreen prevent sunburn and skin cancer – It can preserve and may even reverse the visible signs of sun damage. A whopping 90% of the visible signs of aging (including hyperpigmentation, broken blood vessels, sagging skin and wrinkles) are caused by sun exposure.

WHAT EXACTLY IS SUNSCREEN?

Sunscreens combine several ingredients to help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching your fragile skin. The SPF label only indicates how much UVB protection you are getting.  UVB is what can lead to sunburn, while UVA rays penetrate the skin on a deeper level and can cause leathery skin, wrinkling and brown spots and increases the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays – leading to an increased risk of skin cancer.  Look for the label “broad-spectrum” to make sure it has ingredients that protect against UVA and UVB.

WHAT DOES SPF MEAN?

Sun Protective Factor.  It is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB rays from damaging your skin.  Here is how the number of SPF is determined:  If it takes 10 minutes for your skin normally get sunburned, using an SPF 30 sunscreen theoretically prevents sunburn 30 times longer — about 5 hours.  The only problem is that sunscreen does not stay effective longer than 2 hours.  So during that 5 hour period, you would need to be reapplying the SPF 30 every 2 hours.  Another way to look at the SPF is what percentage of rays it is blocking.  SPF 15 filters about 93% of UVB rays, whereas SPF 30 is 97% and SPF 50 can keep out about 98%.  But keep in mind the time of day you are in the sun.  The sun is stronger in the middle of the day compared to early morning and early evening hours. That means your risk of sunburn is a lot higher in the middle of the day. The sun’s intensity is also related to geographic location, with greater sunburn risk at higher altitudes.  So with Boulder, CO at 5430 feet elevation, the sun is much more intense!

WHY WEAR IT EVERYDAY, ALL DAY AND LOTS OF IT?

So you don’t end up like this guy:

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This is a 69 year old truck driver. He has left sided sun damage from driving a truck for 28 years.  No sunscreen was used here!

Sunscreen is not just for the beach.  Sun damage is cumulative and each minute you get (even driving down the road or walking to lunch) adds to destruction of healthy cells in your skin.

-Sunscreen decreases your risk of skin cancer.  Skin cancer is the #1 form of cancer in the US!

-Using sunscreen sets an example for your kids.

-No excuses, it’s more convenient than ever!  You can choose between creams, sticks, sprays and even powders.  And now that the zinc particles are micronized – there is less of that white mask look.

-It will keep your skin looking youthful and decrease wrinkles and leathery skin

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL/MINERAL SUNSCREENS?

Mineral sunscreens contain either zinc or titanium or both.  The minerals create a barrier between skin and the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them (like the chemical SPFs).  Many brands realize we don’t want white faces and have micronized the mineral particles (sometimes called nanoparticals) to reduce chalkiness.  BTW – if you have heard that the smaller particles are a concern because they might enter the bloodstream and cause harm – this theory has been disproved.  Experts agree that these mineral small particles are safe. Mineral sunscreens are great if you have sensitive skin or worry about absorbing the chemicals in non-mineral SPF.  Zinc is actually a natural anti-inflammatory and believe it or not is the main ingredient in diaper cream for this reason.

Chemical sunscreens use UVB absorbers like homosalate, octisalate or octocrylene in addition to avobenzone, which absorbs UVA rays.  One of the UVB absorbers, oxybenzone, has had a bit of controversy.  It is a chemical that interfers with our hormones and may actually increase our risk of skin cancer.  So read those labels!

WHAT SPF SHOULD I WEAR?

The simple answer is a broad-spectrum (to protect you from both UVA and UVB rays) that is an SPF 30 or higher.  However, on days that you are mostly inside wear its okay to wear a moisturizer with SPF 15 or 30.  But when you are not inside all day and running around, make sure to wear an SPF of close to SPF 50.  Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t leave the house without sunscreen on my face, neck and chest…everyday.

WHAT TYPE OF SUNSCREEN IS BEST FOR YOU?

The one you will use!

Spray:

Easy to apply and good for squirmy kids.  Make sure you use a lot to fully get coverage and try not to breath it in.  Watch out if you have sensitive skin – a lot of these can be irritating and cause rashes.

Moisturizer with built-in sunscreen:

This is great for everyday and when you are indoors most of the day.  They tend to be lighter and easy to apply with SPFs around 15 and 20.  You will need additional SPF if you plan to spend time outside.

Mineral/Physical Blocks:

These contain zinc or titanium and are perfect for sensitive skin.  They sit on top of the skin and act as a blocker with little to no irritation.  These are especially great if you have melasma.

Sweat/Water Resistant:

The FDA no longer allows the terms “waterproof” or “sweat-proof”.  So you will find only “water-resistant” on the label.  These are made to stay on the skin if you are wet or sweaty – but know that they still have to be applied every 2 hours to be effective.  They are usually formulated with a bit more oil, silicones (like dimethacone), or a film polymer (like sodium polycrylate) to give them the staying power when water is involved.  Interestingly, a study came out recently that found water-resistant sunscreens were less effective in chlorinated pools than in salt water.  The chemicals in the chlorinated water can disintegrate the active ingredients.  Best to reapply after every swim session!

Powders:

These are the BEST for reapplication.  You can leave one in your purse and reapply before that afternoon hike.

DO SUNSCREENS EXPIRE?

Yes.  They are required by the FDA to last about 3 years.  Check the label for an expiration date.  But realize that they can breakdown with heat.  If you have been leaving the sunscreen in your hot car all summer, it probably needs to be tossed.

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH MAKING SURE YOU GET ENOUGH VITAMIN D?

Vitamin D is important for strong bones and a good immune system.  It’s fine to get some of your vit D from the sun’s UV radiation – but limit it and keep your face and chronically exposed areas out of the mix.  The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests that you get your recommended daily 600 IU of vit D from food sources like fish and cereals or from supplements.

PROTECTION POINTERS:

  • Apply at least 20 minutes before getting into the sun (the chemical ones take that long to absorb).
  • Reapply, reapply and reapply… every 2 hours and after chlorinated pool swims.
  • With sticks, you need to apply 4 passes to get effective protection – so rub that stuff all over!
  • If you have sensitive skin – stick to mineral sunscreens to avoid chemical irritation.
  • Keep sunscreen somewhere convenient – by the front door, in your gym bag or purse.  But avoid keeping in your car so that the heat doesn’t degrade the active ingredients.
  • Make sure to cover your lips – especially your lower lip because it is 12 times more likely to be affected by skin cancer.
  • By the way – I have heard some chatter from sunscreen skeptics and natural-types who feel you can skip sunscreen altogether and use more “natural” oils like coconut, raspberry seed and carrot seed.  But know that these only provide a small protection (about SPF 4) against UVB rays and no protection against UVA.  So best not to count on these when out playing in the sun.