The Ultimate Skincare Product
Will take years off your skin!
There is a skin care product out there right now that ALL the skin therapists are talking about. This product is the most recommended by skin therapists and dermatologists alike, internationally, which is a first because the two don’t normally see eye to eye on a lot of things (*cough*Accutane*ahem*)! This product that should be in everyone’s #shelfies. This anti-ageing product will take years off your skin. This not so glamorous and often misunderstood product is usually skipped by celebrity endorsements (will it really make them any money) but is never forgotten by the people who really care for your skin.
Are you intrigued? Dying to know what this must have product is? Want to guess? I’ll wait…
Alright, enough suspense. This essential product, taking the world by storm is none other than
*insert drum roll*
SUN PROTECTION FACTOR!!
That is right folx, good ol’ broad spectrum SPF! And with May being skin cancer awareness month what better time to talk about SPF in all of its glory!!
I talk with a lot of clients about SPF and I get a lot of the same answers
- “I only wear it in the summer”
- “I spend most of my days indoors, so I don’t put it on”
- “It feels too thick and leaves a weird ghostly white cast on my skin”
- “I need to get my daily vitamin D, so I don’t wear it”
I call phooey on all of this! But lucky for you I am a lover, not a fighter, and I LOVE to educate so this blog will be dedicated to facts and myths about my favourite anti-ageing product!
I am sure you’ve all experienced that thick goopy white sunscreen that leaves a thick greasy feeling and white caste on the skin, which has probably traumatized you into never wanting to wear sunscreen but I am here to tell you, the days of this are over! No more will we need to apply fluorescent pink or green zinc sticks to our face like the 80’s and 90’s introduced us to. Advancements in product formulation has allowed us to create SPF that is skin safe and feels light enough that you’ll actually want to wear it every day! And did you know that 80% of our skin ageing comes from UV exposure…GASP!!!
First - the basics
And then there was light...truly, about 4.6 billion years ago the sun made its debut and it’s been chaos ever since! The sun produces three primary types of UV rays: UVA, UVB and UVC. We are going to be focusing on the first two today as most UVC rays are absorbed by the atmosphere, so we rarely come in contact with them.
UVA rays - these ultraviolet(A)GEING rays are the most damaging to our cells as they can penetrate the deepest into our skin, right down into the dermis. These rays will penetrate clouds and windows, so even if you’re several feet from the window, the rays will still reach you.
UVB rays - these ultraviolet(B)URNING rays won’t penetrate as deep as UVA because the rays themselves are shorter but they are the guilty parties when it comes to sunburns and surface damage on the skin.
When looking for an SPF you want to make sure that it states it is a BROAD SPECTRUM SPF, meaning that it will protect from both UVA and UVB rays. Most sunscreens by this point in history are broad spectrum but still important to see this written on the bottle that you are purchasing.
What number of SPF Should I be Wearing?
The number that we see on the SPF bottle does not dictate how strong the product it. It is a super complicated mathematical equation that has taken me near two decades to figure out. SPF30 is not twice as strong as SPF15. In fact the percentage of rays that are blocked are quite similar. An SPF15 will block around 94% of UV rays, SPF30 around 97% of UV rays and SPF50 around 98% of UV rays. How that number applies to you is by knowing how long it takes you to burn. Most skin tones will start to burn within 10-15 minutes. And by this I mean when the rays start to effect the cells for all you olive toned people who are going to tell me I’m wrong!
Let’s say I am applying an SPF 45 to my face. My pasty skin burns in about 7 mins if I’m in direct sun with no protection. So…maybe you want to grab a pencil and paper at this point….SO, I multiply how long it takes me to burn by my number of SPF (7x45) and I get the number of minutes that I will be protected by my SPF (7x45=315mins). That is 5 1/4 hours of sun protection. Perfect. I’m good for the sun’s strongest hours…WRONG! I mean technically right, but there are some things we need to take into consideration here. Have we applied enough product? Have we applied it evenly? Have we sweat any of it off? Have we rubbed any of it off on our towel or sun shawls? Has the sun depleted its use? So as much as you are now armed with the knowledge of what that SPF number means on the bottle it is still highly recommended to apply SPF every two hours for maximum protection
There are two types of sunscreens on the market and people definitely have preferences, and that preference is usually to whatever blends into the skin the easiest.
Physical aka mineral or inorganic SPF works by reflecting the damaging UV rays from the surface of the skin. This is the type of sunscreen that people think of when they think of thick white SPF. As I said previously, advancements in product formulation have allowed us to use active UV blocking ingredients like Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide in a thinner, more absorbent and user-friendly format. Not all mineral SPF’s are created equal, so it’s always good to try a sample of a physical SPF, especially if you have darker skin, to make sure that you won’t be left with that chalky ghostly look. A physical SPF is active immediately when you apply it to the skin so a great addition to have in your purse for those moments when you forget.
Good For: This SPF is good all skin types. Use with caution for darker skin types, to make sure the skin doesn’t get a white cast.
Recommended Products: ClearChoice Sport Shield SPF45, AlumierMD Sheer Hydration SPF40, AlumierMD Clear Shield SPF42 (oil free), Skinceuticals Physical Fusion SPF50 (tinted and untinted), Elta MD UV Sheer SPF 50+, Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46, Suntegrity 5-in-1 Tinted Moisturizer and Suntegrity Impeccable Skin.
Chemical aka organic SPF works by absorbing UV rays and converting them to heat and then releasing them from the skin. There will usually be more than one active ingredient in chemical sunscreens as most of these actives protect against either UVA or UVB rays, not both. The most common active ingredients in chemical SPF’s are avobenzone, oxybenzone, octisalate, octinoxate and octocrylene. These actives can degrade when exposed to UV, so always important to reapply every 2 hours (but more on reapplication time coming up).
Good For: As this product penetrates into the skin is not recommended for users who are sensitive or rosacea or eczema prone. And as this product can create heat in the skin clients who have melasma (hormonal pigmentation) or are pigment prone should also stay away from chemical sunscreens. (Maybe this section should be called NOT good for….)
Recommended Products: Korean and other Asian brands of sunscreen have unique chemical sunscreen ingredients that are often less irritating and more cosmetically elegant so if you prefer a chemical sunscreen than these options are often both cost effective and comfortable.
Moisturizers Containing Sunscreen
Moisturizers that contain SPF are not my favourite. To me it is kind of like using a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, neither does the full job its supposed to do. You will need two products for moisturizing and sun protection anyways (either daytime moisturize w SPF and and evening moisturizer OR a moisturizer you love that you can use AM and PM and an SPF) so you might as well get two products that do their job right. The verdict is out on the science of this, some companies say this theory has no legs to stand on and some fully support so I say do your research and do what works for you. But also listen to the pro not the marketing department…but also do you….but do your research…but yea, do you!
If you are relying on your powder mineral make-up for SPF protection, I’d say don’t. Sure its a bonus, but you should always be applying an actual SPF product to the skin for maximum protection.
How much Sunscreen should i be applying?
In regard to the amount of SPF we should be applying…none of us are applying enough, not even me. Well…except for Nicole Kidman…we should all try to be Nicole Kidman! We should be applying a dessert spoon amount of product to the face for sufficient protection (this is about a ½ tsp). This may seem like a lot but this is for the ears, the neck, eyelids, lips and as far down the chest as you can make your product go. With the right SPF this will blend in well. And if you find you are having issues getting the product into the skin, try pressing instead of rubbing, this works a treat in the treatment room!
I’m sure you are all bored by now, so i’ll wrap it up *cue Oscar music*
- Always apply SPF even when inside. How do you think your house plants are thriving?
- Apply SPF in winter because when those rays reflect off the snow it’s like we are getting double dose of the bad stuff.
- Apply SPF even if you have a darker skin tone. You may not be as sensitive to burning but those UVA rays, they see no colour!
NO! Coconut oil is not SPF
Article Written by:
Katie Erb - Holistic Skin Therapist & Aesthetician
Katie is a skincare superstar who adores getting to know her clients as much as their skin conditions. A talented aesthetician, holistic skin therapist andpassionate creative, Katie loves working closely with her clients to enthusiastically celebrate every step of their journey. She utilizes a variety of tools in her customized treatment plans, including Dermaviduals products, massage, high frequency and LED.