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HOW PROTECTED IS MY SKIN REALLY?

If ageing gracefully and retaining a youthful appearance is important to you, the SUN, sadly, is not your friend.

We all need some sun exposure, because when skin is exposed to the sun, our bodies make vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium for stronger, healthier bones. But, too much unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression, and skin cancer. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the number-one cause of skin cancer, and although a sunscreen will protect your skin against UVA radiation, and sunblocks are formulated to shield your skin against UVB rays, they will not protect your skin against skin cancer.

Sun damage builds up over time and it is important to use a broad-spectrum sun protector every day, even if it is cloudy, and even in winter. Exposure to sunlight during the winter months puts you at the same risk as exposure during the summertime, because UVA rays are still present in daylight. So, in order to fully protect your skin, you need to choose a broad-spectrum sun protection product that will protect you against both UVA and UVB rays, with a sufficient SPF.

Most organizations recommend using sunscreens with an SPF between 15 and 50, but SPF ratings higher than 50 have not been proven to be more effective than SPF 15. The Mayo Clinic states clearly that no SPF can block 100% of UV rays, and in fact, sunscreens with a higher SPF are linked to most skin cancers, as well as premature skin ageing.

SUNSCREENS VS SUNBLOCKS

THE PROBLEM WITH CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS: Chemical sunscreens gets absorbed into the skin. It absorbs the UV rays, convert these rays into heat and release them from the body. The active chemical ingredients in chemical sunscreens includes avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone.

Chemical sunscreens takes about 20 minutes to work (since the ingredients needs to be absorbed into the skin). These types of sunscreens should be applied under your skincare, as they need to sink into the skin, so you can’t just slap it on and step out of the door into the sun immediately. Chemical sunscreens absorb quickly, applies easily and does not leave a heavy feeling on the skin.

It seems ideal for swimmers who needs a water-resistant product and sports players who sweat a lot, and although the lighter formulation might seem like the more appealing choice, they are more likely to cause allergic reactions or irritate the skin.  On top of that, a number of studies indicated that because chemical sunscreens penetrate your skin, it gets into your bloodstream and can potentially harm your body.

THE BENEFITS OF NON-CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS, i.e. PHYSICAL SUNBLOCKS: Physical sunblocks, sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays. Unlike chemical sunscreens, physical sunblocks contains active mineral ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide which mainly works by sitting on top of the skin to deflect and scatter damaging UVA rays away from the skin.

Physical sunblocks go on top of your skincare, just under the makeup, and tends to be less irritating and a better fit for sensitive skin. It is more moisturising, which can feel heavy on the skin, but it protects your skin against sun damage and they are less likely to cause breakouts and irritations.

WHAT IS UVA & UVB RAYS AND SPF EXACTLY?

UVA rays, penetrate the epidermis (upper layer of the skin) and the dermis (deeper layer of the skin). It shrinks and depletes collagen and elastin, causing wrinkles. It can penetrate clouds and glass and can potentially cause eye damage.

UVB rays stimulates the production of melanin causing redness, sunburn and freckles. It can also cause skin cancer and eye damage.

SPF (sun protection factor) is a relative measure of how long a sunscreen will protect you from ultraviolet (UV) B rays.

But, here is the conundrum with SPF values VS the amount of protection VS the amount of chemicals: there is what is called saturation in sunscreen formulations. In other words, it gets to a point where adding more and more sunscreen ingredients to up the SPF value, does not significantly increase the SPF value, but rather loads the final sunscreen product with chemicals which, as we know, can cause irritation to the skin, or be downright harmful. The following shows that SPF 15 provides ample protection for the face with a chemical loading that is not excessive. But, the amount of chemicals doubles to get to SPF 30, for just ONE additional percentage protection, and the amount of chemicals triples to get to SPF 45, for just TWO additional percentage protection:

SPF 5               80% protection against UV radiation

SPF 10             92% protection against UV radiation

SPF 15             97% protection against UV radiation

SPF 30             98% protection against UV radiation

SPF 45+           99% protection against UV radiation

THUS, HIGH SPF‘S = HIGH CHEMICAL LOADS = SKIN IRRITATION

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A SUNSCREEN?

In order to offer both UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection, sun protection products are loaded with a host of chemicals, some of which are not good to the skin or general health, such as Oxybenzone, PABA and 4-isopropyl dibenzoyl methane. Physical or mineral sun blocks that reflect the rays away from the skin, is a little safer, but brings with it some of its own challenges and, used as single ingredients, are less effective.

So, what is the solution?

At Spa Solutions, we have put a lot of time and effort into research and developing SPF containing products that are super skin friendly. We know and understand that exposure to sun, plus the effects of these sun filters cause free radical activity in the skin and can be irritating. To protect against the resulting inflammation, we added anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories, vitamins and moisturizers to our Sun Protector SPF15, to lessen the damage caused by these.

Our products are fragrance free, paraben free, it is non-comedogenic and will not clog the pores.  Our Synergistic sunscreen is in a very light oil base, which means it is non-tacky and non-whitening. It contains anti-oxidants to protect against free radical activity, caused by sun, as well as a moisturising complex. It provides 97% protection against UVA and UVB radiation, and is safe for all skin types to use.

For more information about Spa Solutions, or to find a salon or spa who where you can get these products or treatments done, click here!

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