The New Rules of Sun Safety

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As research and clinical trials evolve, so too does the resulting medical advice. This is certainly true in the area of sun safety. It may be time to update your approach to properly protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun’s rays.

Sunscreens and
Moisturizers

Conventional wisdom suggested the use of an SPF-15 broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen a half hour before leaving the house. The current recommendation is to include an anti-oxidant enriched moisturizer as well.

The power of sunlight to generate free radicals is now more fully understood. Those free radicals break down elastin fibers and collagen. Look for ingredients in your moisturizer like soy, green tea, and vitamin C. These substances include powerful anti-oxidants that limit the damaging effects of free radicals.

UPF-30 Clothing

When it came to clothing, conventional wisdom merely suggested the use of a white t-shirt or otherwise covering up in direct sunlight. Today’s more thorough suggestion is to focus on darker colors and fabrics with a tighter weave. Loose weaves allow too much sunlight to pass right through.

Look for clothing with a UPF rating of at least 30. A white t-shirt has a rating of under 10. The National Cancer Foundation awards its Seal of Recommendation only to clothing rated at UPF-30 or higher.

Any patient concerned about their facial appearance should read this article since sun protection is the first and last way to prevent and slow skin aging. In essence, genetics has a very significant impact on a patient’s skin appearance later in life, but sun is certainly number two on the list and certainly could be arguably number one for patients who have had a severe amount of sun exposure, so protecting the skin is of utmost importance for those of us who want to maintain a youthful appearance. Historically sun screen companies I do not believe fully understood the variety of UV waves in that UVA, UVB, and UVC are all different and create different problems for the skin and all three should be blocked with appropriate skin care items. I personally prefer sunblocks that have titanium and zinc in them as these are considered a physical block and will block all forms of UV radiation protecting the skin extremely effectively. At Quintessa Aesthetic Center we certainly recommend to all of our patients that they apply a good physical block type sun protection at least once a day and if they are going to be spending a significant amount of time outdoors or on the water that they reapply this several times throughout the day for adequate protection.

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