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  • Get Sun Smart

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    Like many people, childhood holidays were always spent on the beach, where young tender skin was exposed to the elements sun up to sun down. Mum’s beach bag contained the ‘Sun Oil’ and her first-aid bag the calamine lotion. If only we had known then what we know now about the dangers of the sun.

    Believe it or not, there are many people that are still uninformed about the importance of sun protection. Here are some common questions (or excuses) that we often hear from clients with ways to explain or debunk myths about sun safety.

    Q: The sun will dry up my spots.
    A: FALSE
    As you unwind on the beach and relax, stress hormones will begin to level out and eventually dwindle. As acne is exacerbated by stress, it makes sense that as we relax, acne may improve. You may be in and out of salt water and chlorine, which can also dry up spots. Overall it may seem that acne breakouts have cleared…wrong! The heat and often clogging sunscreens will cause oil to speed up production and skin to be in overdrive, leaving you with the same issues. There are plenty of SPF options for oily or acneic skins that will not clog but rather keep skin hydrated, while prevent more serious UV damage. Seek relaxation but avoid the sun!

    Q: I only need sunscreen when it’s sunny.
    A: FALSE
    UVA rays are the longest rays in the spectrum and penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin all year round, including winter months. UVA rays cause damage at a cellular level, making them responsible for most skin cancers and the main cause of visible aging in the form of wrinkles, sagging and sun spots. Other signs of damage are small blood vessels and spider veins on the face, neck and chest. UVA also goes through glass including most car windows and is present on cloudy days as well as sunny days. Protecting daily with a Broad Spectrum (filters both UVA and UVB) sunscreen should be included in everyone’s skin care regime.

    Q: How much sunscreen do you need for a face and neck application?
    A: FULL TEASPOON
    A full teaspoon for face and neck is a good rough guide—though it’s better to be more generous than to skimp. More importantly, to ensure an SPF is doing its job it needs to be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, so don’t wait until you are on the beach before applying. Remember you need to re-apply regularly, especially if swimming, sweating or if removing with a towel, think about when eating drinking and wiping your mouth.

    Q: The SPF in my makeup protects my skin.
    A: FALSE
    The problem with relying on the SPF in your makeup is that you’re just not getting enough of it. You should wear at least an SPF of 15, but an SPF of 30 is ideal and topped up every 2 hours. The easiest solution is to use a moisturiser or primer (or both!) that also contain sunscreen. It’s fine to have sunscreen in your makeup, but consider it an added bonus, not your main safeguard.

    Q: Two layers of SPF15 make an SPF30. 
    A: FALSE 
    Adding another layer on top of an existing layer of sunscreen does not double the sun protection factor. Two layers of an SPF 15 sunscreen remains an SPF 15 and does not become an SPF 30. Re-apply every 2 hours if outside in summer months or on holiday in the sun.

  • Sunscreen and Expiration Dates Explained

    Taking sunbath

    One of the most critical products that I would advocate a client use before any other type of skin care product would be a sunscreen. We know that Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is responsible for a number of skin concerns ranging from various forms of hyperpigmentation to more serious precancerous and cancerous lesions. We also know that approximately 80-99% of extrinsic aging comes from exposure to UVR! For this reason, The International Dermal Institute recommends using sunscreen every day, not just during the summer months.

    The FDA requires that all sunscreens retain their original strength for at least 2-3 years, and in order to make these claims the sunscreen formula has to undergo a series of real time or accelerated stability tests to prove that the ingredient is still active up until the time of expiration. It’s important to point out at this point that if you’re using sunscreen every day and in the correct amount, a tube should not last that long. Most clients don’t realize that their sunscreen has a limited time in which it can be used effectively, so it may be a good idea to point out the expiration date to the client when they purchase their next sunscreen product from you. Most expiration dates can be found stamped on the crimp of the product packaging tube or printed on the bottom of the product carton.

    If sunscreens have expired there is a good chance they are still good for a few months; however once you reach the expiration date there is no guarantee that the level of activity is still present. You may also want to point out a few of these basic but important tips to your clients next time they inquire about purchasing their sunscreen from you:

    • The best place to store your SPF product is in a cool place out of direct sunlight and heat.

    • Buy smaller sizes of your SPF product vs. larger “30% extra for free” products, which will inevitably expire before you get a chance to use them all and you’ll end up having to throw them out.

    • Don’t use any SPF formulation that contains fragrance or perfume as this may cause hyperpigmentation and, in some cases, a photosensitized reaction on the skin.

    • If your client has a more sensitive skin, she or he would be better off using a physical SPF (containing Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide), as these formulations tend to have a larger molecular size that does not penetrate and potentially cause irritation.

    • Try to look for a formulation that can potentially deliver additional skin health benefits, such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C to the skin, as these types of sunscreens help to minimize the amount of free radical damage to the skin, thereby offering a more advanced level of protection.

    • Many clients are hesitant to use sunscreen because they feel the formulations are too thick, heavy or pore clogging. Professional products, however, use new technology that delivers more sophisticated SPFs, which have the ability to benefit different skin types and conditions. This allows you to prescribe a sunscreen that’s perfectly customized to your clients’ needs.