Aegmora

Musings on effortless beauty, from an apprentice of the science of skin.

Protecting your investment.

            

I can’t say that I haven’t been in this position before (see above). Growing up in California, they tell you the sun is your friend.  But that was a bold faced lie.  The sun is NOT a friend to your beautiful skin and I am here to tell you why and what you can do about it. 

You may crave the golden brown baked look for the summer, but the harmful UV-B and UV-A rays emanating from that giant ball of fire that heats our planet is destroying the collagen scaffolding that makes your skin look luscious and plump. Other evil things these rays can do are encourage cell death, mutate DNA to make you more at risk for skin cancer, thin your skin, and cause unsightly damage at too early of an age.  And keep in mind, these rays are still around as the weather turns nippy.

Seeing a glowing, youthful Stevie Nicks share her ultimate beauty secret (avoiding the sun) on Oprah was the kick in the pants I needed to take sun protection seriously (yes, I confess Oprah has that power over me. Don’t lie, you do too). I started to live by these rules:

Rule #1: Stay out of the sun. Or if you’re in the sun, use hats, umbrellas, trees, cabanas to shield your skin. 

Rule #2: USE SUNSCREEN. 

And to follow rule #2, I had to learn how SPF worked and what kind of sunscreen I should look for. 

First, SPF (sun protection factor) only measures how well it protects your skin against UV-B rays, which cause sunburn. It is a measure of, when applied correctly, how long your skin will go without burning in direct sunlight compared to when you’re not wearing sunscreen  And what does that mean to apply correctly? LAY IT ON THICK AND OFTEN.  And dermatologists universally recommend that you choose something with SPF 30 or above, but higher than 50 makes very little difference in the amount of rays you are blocking. 

But what about UV-A, you say? UV-A, causing invisible, yet irreversible, damage deep in your skin, leading to wrinkles and skin cancer, is best protected against with sunscreens containing zinc or titanium oxide, avobenzone, or ecamsule. 

Phew! After that crash course, how do you pick the one? Well, first off, choose something that is light and sheer enough for you to use everyday. For example, La Roche-Posay Anthelios is an amazing, elegant sunscreen that works well for those with fairer complexions.. but makes girls of color (like me) look like geishas.  A better option for us is Skinceuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense that mixes effortlessly with any tinted moisturizer or foundation.  Protecting your beautiful complexion for posterity is an investment worth making, ensuring you will be werq-ing it for a long, long time. 

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