That’s right…. With SUNSCREEN! We often associate glowing skin with tan skin, and with the excitement of summer just around the corner I wanted to explain to you just how wrong that assumption is! As a former tanning bed user (I know, shame on me), and as someone who has worked in healthcare for a number of years, I have seen how ultraviolet (UV) radiation negatively affects the skin both personally, and in the patients I have treated as well. The initial “glow” you may see after getting some sun will not last forever, but the damage that it has caused will!
Exposure to UV radiation from the sun or a tanning bed is the leading cause of premature skin aging. Fine lines, deep wrinkles, dark spots or age spots, thin skin that has lost its elasticity, as well as the dreaded skin cancer can all result from UV radiation damage you knowingly and unknowingly received over the years. When you look older than you actually are or have an uneven skin-tone, you will not feel like you are glowing anymore! This is why the use of sunscreen is so important!
Sunscreens are products that combine several ingredients to protect the skin from harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. Both UVA and UVB contribute to the risk of skin cancer, but UVA is also responsible for aging skin and the deeper lasting damage that you don’t see right away, while UVB is responsible for the immediate skin damage seen such as a sunburn. Broad-Spectrum sunscreens protect the skin from both UVA and UVB radiation. This is why it is important to make sure you select a broad-spectrum sunscreen that you wear every day.
Yes, I said EVERY DAY! Even if you are only walking to and from your car to drive to work and plan on being indoors all day, you should apply at least an SPF (sun protection factor) 15 sunscreen. When you don’t think you’re getting any sun exposure, you probably are! In fact, you’re exposed to UV radiation even while you drive. This is especially apparent in people who have more dark spots, lines and wrinkles on the left side of their face and arm (something we actually do see here). If you are planning on being outside or expect to get more sun, a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 is recommended, and if you are outside for long periods of time (such as at the pool or a beach), you should reapply your sunscreen a few times throughout the day.
Don’t worry, you do not have to look pale all summer! There are so many great self-tanning products available now (and no, not all of them make you look like a Cheeto), some even offer broad-spectrum SPF protection! So you can still achieve that glowing “tan” while having peace of mind in your bikini at the pool or beach this summer, knowing that you’re avoiding those harmful UVA and UVB rays! Harper’s Bazaar recently released a list of some of the best self-tanners available which can be found here. There are cheaper options, as well as more expensive ones, but trust me, your future self will thank you for investing in sunscreen and a good self-tanner now!
What if you are already noticing the effects of the sun on your skin (dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles, loss of elasticity)? Well, there are a few things you can do to address these concerns! First of all, it is never too late to start protecting your skin with daily sunscreen use and investing in a good skin care regimen, but you may also want to consider treatments that improve the quality and appearance of your skin such as chemical peels or laser skin care. For more information about skin care regimens, chemical peels and laser skin care treatments check out our blog on skin rejuvenation here.
To recap, you should look for a sunscreen that is:
- At least SPF 15 for daily use without anticipated sun-exposure, or
- SPF 30 or greater for days you anticipate more sun
You may also want to consider investing in:
- A good self-tanner
- A good skin care regimen
- Treatments to improve the quality and appearance of your skin such as chemical peels or laser skin care!
Let us help you determine the best approach to maintaining that healthy glow and treat any sun damage you may already have! To schedule a consultation with Lauren, our Nurse Practitioner (that’s me!), or Dr. Peters please call us at 708-524-1400 or fill out one of our contact forms today!