Sunday, August 21, 2011

Skin vs. the Sun...and the Sun Always Wins

Have you ever wondered what all the hype is with sunscreen?

Sunscreen the single most important product in anti-aging.

Fact: Skin that never sees the sun will not wrinkle.

Why is this? The sun emits 3 types of ultraviolet radiation: UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. About 95 percent of the sun’s rays that reach our planet are UVA rays. UVA rays result in a breakdown of collagen and elastin. UVB rays cause sunburns. UVA and UVB rays are both responsible for cancer, however UVA rays affect skin cells the most, because they penetrate the deepest into the dermis. The majority of UVC rays are absorbed by the ozone layer.

Damage to important skin proteins leads to premature aging, dark spots, and skin cancer. Collagen is the protein that gives skin its elasticity. As collagen deteriorates, wrinkles appear. Elastin is a protein that keeps skin flexible. With age, skin’s elastin breaks down, resulting in wrinkles. To keep your skin healthy, AND youthful, sunscreen is essential- every single day. Whether you will be inside or out, put on sunscreen, (UV rays can penetrate through windows!). Inside, use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Outside, use an SPF of at least 30 or higher, and re-apply every four hours. But, be careful, because applying too much sunscreen can clog your pores! Sunscreen-containing moisturizers are amazing- find one that works with your skin.

A lot of women use SPF containing make-up and believe that they are fully protected. The fact of the matter is- you are not. Sunscreen in make-up is fantastic, but it will unevenly cover your skin, and the SPF on the bottle is rarely the resulting SPF.

My advice on make-up with sunscreen is to use a moisturizer containing SPF underneath. Make sure that it absorbs completely before you apply make-up. A 5-10 minute wait period is usually an adequate amount of time for the sunscreen to absorb completely into your skin. Cream or liquid foundations and powders will look great on top of your moisturizer, but apply lightly- you can always add more. Mineral make-up like Jane Iredale’s line is incredible and great for those who are acne-prone. Her products usually contain a SPF between 15 and 22. Be sure to cover skin evenly, and use a fat powder brush, for even distribution.

Who needs sunscreen? Everyone, all skin types, all skin colors. Even darker skin needs sunscreen- the darker your skin does not make you immune to sun damage.

Even if you can tan, my advice is- fake it. Fake tans are better than ever and provide great, natural looking color. I recommend a self-tanner that contains antioxidants, because they result in a more natural, less orange hue.

In the morning, antioxidants are better absorbed. Try using an antioxidant containing sunscreen in the morning, your skin will be better prepared to fight free radicals all day long.

And especially in the middle of the day- wear a hat! For hats- canvas fabrics give better protection than straw or mesh. And do not forget sunglasses! Wraparound sunglasses labeled UV 400 are best. Wrinkles around the eyes are the typically the first to emerge, because the skin there and between the eyebrows is the thinnest in the whole body. There are sunscreens specially formulated for around the delicate eye area, to avoid irritation especially if you wear contacts. I like Clarins Paris Sunscreen for Eyes Wrinkle Control Cream.

When choosing sunscreen, remember your skin type, and your skin color. If you have darker skin, look for gels or foam sunscreens, and tinted SPF make-up. There are two types of sunscreens, physical and chemical. Physical blocking sunscreens deflect or block the sun’s rays. Chemical sunscreens absorb some of the sun’s rays. I love physical blocking sunscreens that contain Titanium dioxide or Zinc oxide. The Clarins Sunscreen for Eyes is an example of a physical blocker, with 8.1 percent Titanium dioxide.

The FDA advises a half hour waiting period from the time you put on sunscreen, to sun exposure. Do not forget to put sunscreen on and behind your ears, neck, arms, and especially your chest! The skin on your neck and chest are very thin, they are among the first to show skin-damage from the sun.

If you have sunscreen sensitivity, avoid:

  • Avobenzone
  • Benzophenone
  • Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane
  • Isopropyl dibenzoylmethane
  • Methylbenzylidene camphor
  • Octyl methoxycinnamate
  • Para-amenobenzoic acid (PABA)
  • Phenylbenimidazole sulfonic acid

Vanity purposes aside, Melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer. Melanoma strikes without warning, and is the leading cause of death from skin disease. It’s unrealistic to escape the sun completely, you have a life! Just wear sunscreen while you live your life.

Your skin is the body’s largest visible organ. Protect it.

For more tips and advice feel free to contact me at Be sure to follow on Twitter @madihebert .


  1. ARRRRR you make me feel guilty, spent the day in the sun because I was caught off-guard and didn't have sunscreen, but went to the beach nonetheless :P

    Still, great post ^^ Will definitely carry sunscreen with me everywhere now :P

  2. Michelle, thank you for commenting! And hey, do not guilty for a day at the beach :).

  3. I tried a few different self tanners. I really like tan towels. I purchased mine at Boston Beauty. They are very easy to use and give a nice natural glow. Inexpensive too.

  4. Boston Beauty is fantastic! Love inexpensive, who doesn't? :) Also, Kate Somerville has great sunless towelettes with her Somerville360 degrees Tanning Towelettes.

  5. thanks so much for the detailed post. I rarely used sunscreen before. since tomorrow I will start using it :D I don't want to be old soon with wrinkles :(

  6. Lol, and it is honestly true that skin that does not see the sun will not wrinkle. I'm very glad that you're using sunscreen! It really is essential for skin...and beauty.

  7. You need to select the right SPF. This is a allotment of how well the sunscreen blocks the sun's damaging rays. The best SPF is 30 or higher.