When a client asks us, "If I only buy one product, what should it be?" we most often say sunscreen moisturizer. Photo aging due to sun damage is the most prevalent cause of aging skin.
The effects of long-term sun exposure are cumulative and include conditions like deep and crosshatch skin wrinkling, severe elastosis, many types of hyperpigmentation, and benign seborrheic keratoses. It can aggravate rosacea, telangiectasias and solar acne comedones (Favre-Racouchot syndrome). Sun exposure is a major cause of skin cancer, and it is the cause of melanoma.
We’ve listed some common myths and misunderstandings that we’ve heard from our clients about sun protection. Sound familiar?
#1: I use sunscreen when I do go out in the sun, but I’m not in the sun very much.
Reality: For most people, most of the sun damage in the skin doesn’t happen from direct sun exposure. It happens from ambient exposure to ultraviolet rays over a long period of time. Activities like walking the dog, sitting on the patio, or playing outdoors with the kids or friends all contribute. It’s estimated that 80% of skin damage caused by sun comes from ambient day-to-day sun exposure. Clients should be using at least an SPF 15 (preferably 30) broad-spectrum sunscreen every morning.
#2: I know too much sun is bad for me, but we’re all going to age from something, right?
Reality: Yes, we are. But those who practice prevention will have a better time of it than those who don’t. Worship the sun and be prepared for deep wrinkling, skin sagging, skin with leathery texture and lots of pigmentation issues (liver spots, white spots, skin cancer, etc.). The best way to treat aging skin is to prevent it by using a good broad-spectrum sunscreen every single day. It is THE most important step in good skin care.
Heat also affects skin and can contribute to inflammatory reactions and redness issues. Even with sunscreen, the heat from direct sun can cause photo-aging damage.
#3: Don’t all sunscreens work the same?
Reality: The 2 types of ultraviolet (UV) rays; beta (UVB) are shorter rays that cause sunburn and damage to the outer layers of the skin. These are responsible for types of skin cancers. Ultraviolet alpha (UVA) rays are longer and penetrate deeper into the dermis. These are associated with premature skin aging and are believed to be associated with melanoma.
For a sunscreen to be labeled "broad spectrum," the FDA requires that it pass a laboratory test called a critical wavelength test. This measures how much UVA and UVB light is being filtered. Broad spectrum means the product filters a significant range of UVA and UVB rays.
#4: I don’t like sunscreens. Most of them are greasy, smelly and hard to put on.
Reality: Today’s technology can create formulations that are more lightweight and can even be worn under makeup. Sunscreen ingredients are present in many moisturizers and are available for different skin conditions.
Be sure you offer a great sunscreen product (particularly one that does double duty as a moisturizer) that is wearable and safe. Try our Raw Elements Tinted Moisturizer sunscreen in new silver tube packaging. It’s 20% zinc oxide, contains no harmful chemicals and is reef safe.
#5: I like to get a little sun. I don't use it until I start to turn pink, then I put it on.
Reality: Not! By the time the skin turns “pink” damage has already occurred. This shows up later as wrinkles, elastosis or possibly skin cancer. Skin inflammation produces enzymes called proteases which dissolve collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid in the dermis. Every time the skin gets sunburned, or you neglect to protect it with a broad-spectrum sunscreen, it produces these enzymes. This damages collagen and elastin proteins. Over time, the damage accumulates and shows as premature skin aging.
Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Applying after the skin is inflamed may cause additional inflammation or reactivity to the sunscreen product.
#6: I don’t need sunscreen when it’s cloudy.
Reality: Probably one of the most common suncare myths around! UV rays pierce right through clouds, which only filter about 20% of the rays. Theoretically, you could develop a sunburn in the rain if you stayed out long enough.
#7: After my skin burns once, I tan more quickly.
Reality: Sunburn can be painful, and it causes permanent damage to the skin’s dermis. This can lead to skin cancer. The fact is – tanning is an immune function. Your skin produces melanin to protect the lower layers of your skin from sun damage.
#8: The sunscreen you recommended is very concentrated. I only need a little bit.
Reality: Don’t skimp on sunscreen. Apply at least 8 dots of it to the face and neck and work into the skin, including the back of the neck and ears. If you are applying it to your body, it takes a full ounce of sunscreen to adequately protect the average size body, and it should be reapplied every two hours while you’re in direct sun. It’s not about just trying to avoid sunburn, you’re trying to prevent longer term skin damage that contributes to wrinkles, diminished skin elasticity and hyperpigmentation (spots) as well as potential skin cancers. Use it every day!
#9: Is the sunscreen you sold me last year still ok to use? I just found it in the trunk of my car.
Reality: Sunscreen formulas do break down in the heat. They also have expiration dates. When in doubt, throw it out.
The bottom line is that clients can always benefit from a sun protection education promotion. Use this content to create a handout, video, or social media post. Education rules!
SUNSCREEN CHECKLIST FOR CLIENTS: 1. Apply sunscreen every morning to any sun-exposed area of the body. 2. If in direct sun, reapply every 2 hours. 3. Apply sunscreen a minimum of 20 minutes prior to sun exposure. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide work immediately. The absorbing sunscreen ingredients do not. 4. Avoid direct sun between 10 am and 2 pm, when it is strongest. 5. It takes approximately 1 oz. of sunscreen to cover the average sized body in a swimsuit. Don’t skimp. 6. Sunscreen is water-resistant, not waterproof. Check the label for tested water resistance and reapply after being in the water.