Spring has officially sprung!
Now we’ll be getting a little more sunshine as we work up to those summer days. In the mean time, I’ve been thinking about how often I tell my clients they need to have a good sunscreen… but anyone who is a curious soul like me might wonder what it is about the sun that causes it to be so harmful to our skin. Yeah, we all know that too much sun exposure or tanning beds are “bad,” but why? Well, I’m here to try and explain it. This is where my college-science-geek past comes into play.
There are two main types of rays that affect skin:
- UVA rays get absorbed deep in the skin and contribute to aging; causes a breakdown of structural proteins like collagen and elastin
- UVB rays cause sunburns
- UVC rays are the most dangerous, however, they don’t reach our atmosphere due to the ozone
Let’s say you’re tanning outside. Heat and energy from the sun causes the atoms in your skin to vibrate, making them unstable, which is called a free radical. Free radicals react with other healthy cells not yet affected, and causes them to become unstable too. This chain reaction causes mutations in your DNA, which can later cause cancer. Sun exposure, environmental toxins, and pollution all contribute to free radical invasion. The UV radiation given off in tanning beds is even worse because it’s stronger!
A bad sunburn once every two years can triple your risk of getting melanoma. It will also contribute to hyperpigmentation and age you much faster. So my advice is just like I tell my clients, get a good sunscreen with zinc or titanium as the main ingredient AND re-apply every hour. Also, taking antioxidants in through diet or supplements are beneficial for everyone. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals so the body can return to a balanced state. Once a free radical is neutralized, it can’t cause destruction. I highly recommend taking a vitamin C supplement!
Here are a few of my favorite sunblocks:
- For acne/oily skin – this has niacinamide, otherwise known as vitamin B3, and helps to control breakouts. (They also have this tinted!)
- For dry/normal skin:
- For body: