Sunscreen 101: Practicing Smart Skin Protection


We’ve all heard it a thousand times, wear sunscreen. Every. Day. But it can be overwhelming to know which one to choose. Walk into any drug store and you’ll be confronted with a multitude of brightly colored bottles with various “active ingredients” and SPFs.

The Sun and Wrinkles

We associate wrinkles with aging, but sun exposure is a significant factor in their development and how early they appear. UV light damages collagen and elastic tissue in the skin, so it becomes fragile and does not spring back into shape, causing sagging. Some people will also get white cysts and blackheads on the cheekbones from sun exposure. UV light exposure also causes hyperpigmintation on the skin which can be very difficult to treat. The best way to help prevent is using sunblock. Here is what you need to know.

UVA/UVB. What is that?

Sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays, ultraviolet A rays (UVA) and ultraviolet (UVB) rays. Too many UVA or UVB rays can cause skin cancer, prematurely age skin, and cause wrinkles and age spots. UV radiation from the sun, as well as from tanning beds and sun lamps are listed as carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances.

What about Infrared (IR) Rays?

Infrared (IRA) (rays) penetrate skin deeper than UV rays. IRA is what causes the feeling of heat in your skin. This generates free radicals that in turn leads to inflammation and accelerate aging through collagen destruction. Infrared protection is especially important for those with melasma, or hormonal hyperpigmentation since heat greatly contributes to melanocyte activation.

SPF. What does that mean?

Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, measures how effectively a sunscreen can help prevent skin damage from ultraviolet radiation. Broad spectrum sunscreens are best at helping block both UVA and UVB rays. The American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD) recommends using a broad spectrum sunscreen “with a SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. Higher-number SPFs block slightly more of the sun’s UVB rays, but no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. A high-number SPF does not allow you to spend additional time outdoors without reapplication. All sunscreens should be applied approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

Keep in mind that sunscreen alone is not enough to save our skin. Here’s a list of tips to boost your sun protection:

  1. Limit your exposure.The sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If you’re out and about during peak hours, wear a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours.
  1. Don’t skimp. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen to your exposed skin about every two hours. Sprays and towelettes may not provide uniform protection or last as long as lotions.
  1. Choose wisely. Look for a “broad spectrum” sunscreen that protects against UVB and UVA rays. UVB rays cause sunburn and skin inflammation, while UVA rays are largely responsible for skin aging and wrinkling. Both UVB and UVA rays can cause skin cancer.

How do I reapply sunblock with makeup?

Sunblock can be reapplied over makeup with a powder SPF, such as ColorScience or with a setting spray SPF. Keep in mind makeup that has less than SPF 30 is not enough!

How do I get rid of sun damage?

The California sun can cause a lot of damage. It can present as a variety of types of hyperpigmentation, such as melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or sun spots. All types of hyperpigmentation are approached differently. Some treatments that help clean up sun damage include chemical peels, laser skin treatments, microneedling, and collagen stimulating treatments such as Morpheus8 or Profound. At Belle Vie, we like to pair a treatment regimen with an at home skin care routine to get the best results for glowing, clean, and clear skin. Find out the best treatment and at home regimen for your skin with a free consultation with one of our skin experts.

For any advice or questions regarding skin care and sunblock, schedule a complimentary consultation at our Costa Mesa or Cerritos offices by calling (855)635-0011

By | 2020-09-22T21:27:34-07:00 September 22nd, 2020|Skin Care, Skin Medica, Uncategorized|0 Comments

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