We love sunscreen at SPA Melissa Allen. Why? It is the single best thing you can do to protect your skin from sun damage that causes spots, wrinkles, sagging, and other nasty things. If you want beautiful skin for a lifetime, you need to wear sunscreen every day. (And yes, that means even if you’re not at the beach or just staying inside!)
However, there are approximately thousands of sunscreens out there, and we want to help you get the right one for your skincare needs. Here’s how to find the ideal sunscreen.
Everyone needs a broad spectrum SPF that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
95% of the UV rays that come from the sun are UVA. They penetrate through both clouds and windows, which is why we recommend wearing sunscreen year-round. Unless you’re sitting in a dark basement 100% of the time, you’re exposed to UVA rays. They are what cause immediate tans (and sometimes burns).
UVA rays have the same level of strength during all daylight hours and all seasons, even if it doesn’t “feel” hot! These are also the primary kind of UV light in tanning beds, which is why we strongly recommend against them!
Because these are high wavelength rays, they deeply penetrate the skin and its layers. This is the primary cause of premature skin aging, called photoaging. This is because UVA rays indirectly damage the DNA in our skin, causing the cells to produce melanin as a protective measure. (Yep, that means if you have a tan, you have skin damage.) If that wasn’t bad enough, because UVA rays indirectly damage our DNA, these damaged cells can accumulate and trigger mutations. These mutations cause those same damaged cells to rapidly replicate and can lead to malignant forms of skin cancer.
While only 5% of the UV rays that come from the sun are UVB, they are the primary cause of skin cancers- especially malignant melanoma. These rays have a shorter wavelength, which means they primarily affect the outer layer of skin known as the epidermis. Just like UVA, UVB rays play a role in photo-aging.
UVB rays also have higher activity levels than UVA rays, making them the primary cause of sunburns. While the effects of UVB tend to be delayed, they can cause those blistering burns and other severe damage. Even though UVB rays fluctuate during the day, they still cause damage during all seasons, even in the wintertime. UVB rays cannot penetrate through windows, but they can penetrate through clouds- so be sure to always apply SPF, regardless of the weather.
So how do you protect yourself from UV rays? Clothing can protect you from the sun’s rays, as well as hats and sunglasses. But for skin that is exposed, sunscreen is your very best option. (And for goodness sake, don’t go to tanning beds!)
The term “SPF” actually means Sun Protection Factor and primarily measures UVB radiation. It estimates how many minutes you can be exposed to the sun’s radiation before burning. But since we want to protect from UVA rays as well, look for a sunscreen with “broad-spectrum” protection, which includes ingredients to protect from both kinds of rays.
Chemical SPF is absorbed into the skin. It takes the sun’s rays, converts them to heat, and then releases that heat from our bodies. Some chemicals from sunscreen can be absorbed into the bloodstream, so we do not recommend them for expecting mothers or people sensitive to its ingredients.
Mineral SPF uses ingredients like zinc oxide to protect the skin. It is used as a physical barrier, which means the skin doesn’t absorb it. It blocks UV rays at the surface. It can leave the skin white, especially after frequent re-application. Because it is a physical sunscreen, it works best as a lotion. Sprays are not as effective and we don’t recommend them for regular use.
We offer DMK sunscreens that are fantastic for protecting without clogging pores and can be used daily. Ask us to help you find the right one for your skincare regimen. Worried about sun damage? Book an appointment with us so we can help you repair and restore your skin to its most beautiful self!
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