Series: How to prevent sun damage: Focus on sunscreen
Though a golden tan is attractive, tanning can be harmful to your skin. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight is the No. 1 reason the skin ages, accounting for about 90 percent of the symptoms of premature skin aging. Ninety percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanoma skin cancer are related to UV exposure.
The best way to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays is to limit your sun exposure (especially between 10AM and 2PM), wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 every day, even when it’s cloudy or you’re inside.
Prevent sun damage
Before you start slathering on the SPF, here’s what you need to know about sunscreen:
Sunscreen is supposed to remain on the surface of the stratum corneum to protect your skin against UV radiation. The stratum corneum is the outer layer of the epidermis — your skin’s barrier that protects you from the sun’s damaging UV rays.
SPF numbers can be misleading. Sunscreen with SPF 30 blocks about 97 percent of the sun’s UV rays, while an SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. There’s only a very small increase in protection above a 30 SPF.
Apply enough sunscreen. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, you should apply a teaspoon of sunscreen to your face and a shot glass (at least 1 to 2 oz.) of sunscreen to your body. You should put on sunscreen 15 minutes before heading outside. Reapply sunscreen every two hours when you’re in direct sunlight or after sweating or getting wet.
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen. A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects skin against both UVA and UVB rays. To prevent redness and sunburn, the sunscreen must contain filters that absorb UVB rays. Protection against UVA rays is also important because UVA rays cause photo-aging (premature aging) and some forms of skin cancer.
Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreens
There are two types of sunscreen:
Chemical filters absorb UV light.
In creams, chemical filters feel good on your skin. They don’t feel heavy, oily or leave a white residue. However, chemical filters tend to be more irritating than physical sunscreen and may cause allergic reactions and skin sensitivity. As the SPF number increases, the risk of skin sensitivity to the chemical sunscreen increases. Sunscreen sensitivity is common in children and people with fair skin and lower Fitzpatrick skin types, such as individuals of Irish or Nordic descents. After applying chemical sunscreen, people with fair or sensitive skin may develop photosensitivity, leading to severe skin inflammation and even blistering after sun exposure. Chemical filters may cause allergic contact dermatitis or irritative dermatitis.
These ingredients in chemical sunscreens are particularly likely to cause these adverse skin reactions:
- Benzophenones (benzophenone-3 or oxybenzone)
- Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane
- Aminobenzoic acid
Physical blocks reflect UV rays.
Physical blocks have large particles (200 to 400 μm), so they don’t penetrate the skin. Physical blocks don’t react with the skin or negatively affect the skin (causing irritation, skin sensitivity or allergic reactions). Therefore, people with most skin types, including fair and sensitive skin, can tolerate them. Furthermore, physical sunblocks don’t cause photo-sensitivity. Titanium oxide and zinc oxide are physical sunblocks. Physical blocks may leave a white deposit on your skin although newer formulations are better in this regard than older ones.
Skinfuse by Bellus Medical
Skinfuse SHIELD Zinc Oxide 21% contains tinted, micronized 21 percent zinc oxide for true physical UVA/UVB sun protection (SPF 30) that blends to the skin’s natural tones. This breakthrough formulation utilizes large-molecule technology to prevent zinc oxide from penetrating the skin, making it a true physical sun block. SHIELD is ideal to use after your SkinPen micro-needling procedure when the skin’s natural barrier may be compromised and your skin requires extra protection from UV rays. SHIELD also contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects skin against UV radiation and free radicals that come in contact with your epidermis.
Contact your SkinPen provider to learn more about how SkinPen, Skinfuse SHIELD and the other Skinfuse post-micro-needling skin care products work together to help improve the appearance of aging, sun-damaged skin.