Ah summer…biking, hiking, swimming, lazing in the sun…wait. Cancel that last part. Yes, we love the sun too, but the skin damage, seen and unseen, not so much. Here’s why protecting your skin is essential and how you do it.
First: sunscreen. Lots of it, frequently reapplied. Even if you tune out all the recommendations you get to wear it, hear us out this time. If you’re not a fan of wrinkles, sunspots, or skin that looks and feels like rough leather, it’s a must-have item in your summer bag. Whether you’re using a broad spectrum sunscreen (you should) or choosing between chemical or mineral sunscreen formulations (both work), you’re saving your appearance and quite possibly your health.
Choose Your Sunscreen Wisely
Your store has a dizzying array of sun-related skin offerings. How do you know which sunscreen to choose? You can eliminate suntan lotion right off the bat. Next, consider your skin tone. Darker skin? You should be safe with a lower SPF (Sun Protection Factor), like 15 SPF.. Fair skin that seems to redden when you even think about being outside? Go for 30 SPF and above. For many of us, more of a good thing is…well, a good thing. Also, no matter how much melanin you have, you always need at least some protection.
Next, choose a “broad spectrum” sunscreen, because letters – namely ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) – are just as important as numbers. To guard against wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, as well as burns and skin cancer, your sunscreen needs to protect you against both types of rays from the sun. The science is this: UVA and UVB rays have different wavelengths and penetrate different depths of the skin, some as far down as the subcutaneous tissue level. More importantly, both types of rays can damage your DNA. Yikes!
Chemical or Mineral? Just Wear It!
So, which is better, chemical or mineral sunscreen? Let’s look at how they work. Mineral sunscreen, also known as physical sunscreen, acts as a skin surface barrier to repel the sun. Key ingredients are zinc oxide or titanium oxide, the former often recommended as working well on sensitive skin. Although some people dislike the sometimes visible residue mineral sunscreen may leave on the skin, newer tinted options can help solve this issue.
Chemical sunscreen works differently, with ingredients that absorb, rather than block, the sun and then convert and repel its damaging rays. Various ingredients, including oxybenzone and octisalate, work to transform incoming rays into heat. Be sure to choose a chemical sunscreen that repels both UVA and UVB rays, as not all do. Also, don’t forget to put it on at least 20 minutes before you head outside, as the chemical process takes a bit of time to kick off.
In the end, what type of sunscreen you choose depends on your personal preference, but if you have sensitive skin, you may prefer a mineral over chemical formulation. As it literally stays on the surface of your skin, mineral sunscreen is non-comedogenic and won’t block your pores. Just be sure to reapply frequently and according to directions, even if you buy a “sports” or “waterproof” brand.
Your Skin Shows Sun Damage. What Now?
If you start every day by applying quality sunscreen, you’re ahead of many of us. However, you’ve still been exposed to a lot of UVA and UVB rays over your lifetime. Everyone has. Quick run to the grocery store. A few minutes waiting for the bus. A walk on an overcast winter afternoon (yes the sun’s rays are still around). Years of small doses of sun exposure add up, and no matter who we are or what we do, we all start to show the effects over time.
Here at Lapis & Oak Spa, many of our services are especially helpful in counteracting the effects of the sun on our clients’ skin. Whether our estheticians are providing microdermabrasion to minimize wrinkles and fine lines or a medical grade peel, we work hard to combat what the sun has wrought.
Our facial rejuvenation options are numerous. Our Jan Marini C-Esta Facial includes an antioxidant cocktail of lipid-soluble vitamin C and DMAE to help repair free-radical damage. You can choose a brightening treatment to address hyperpigmented skin. Our hydrofacials include antioxidants, hyaluronic acid peptides and oxygen therapy to improve blood circulation and brighten your skin. We also offer microdermabrasion facials which allow for deep penetration of nourishing products and help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
We’re excited to welcome you at the spa for a custom consultation and a relaxing and rejuvenating skin treatment whenever you’re ready. In the meantime, protect your beautiful skin. Drink water, keep exposed skin covered, and most of all, just wear sunscreen!