The Sun, so necessary for human life is, in fact, a double-edged sword – “at the same time we are blessed with sunshine, we are also plagued with sun damage.” (Kelsey Nguyen, “Does Sun damage your hair? It’s important to protect yourself from head to toe, Bustle, June 8, 2016”).
Long term and/or exposure to the sun without protection can affect the whole body; it can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke due to excessive los of water and salt, heat rash, sunburn, skin cancer and, of course, skin aging (lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, loss of elasticity).
When we say UV light we have to think about it as daylight. No matter if it’s sunny or cloudy, the UV rays are there, causing “the damage”. There are 2 types of UV light reaching the Earth: most of them are UVA rays ( A from aging) – aproximately 95%. They have a longer wavelength, being able to penetrate deeper into the skin, breaking collagen and elastine fibres, causing skin aging and skin cancer. A very important thing about UVA rays is that they can penetrate through the glass as well, so being inside doesn’t necessary mean that we are protected. That’s why we need sunscreen first thing in the morning. The other 5% is UVB rays (“B” from burning). They penetrate the first layer of the skin causing sunburn and skin cancer. These do not penetrate the glass.
Recent studies also proved that there is another type of light, called blue light, that can cause damage to the skin like premature aging or sensitized skin. This type of light is much closer to us than we think. It’s found in smartphones and other electronic devices, so we must protect our skin every day, inside and outside the house.
Considering all the damage the Sun does to the body, I believe it was up to us to find a balance between the good and the bad the Sun brings. This balance consists in common sense (wearing appropriate clothes, brimmed hat, sunglasses or avoid sun exposure between certain hours) and wearing sunscreen/sunblock.
Believe it or not, sunscreen has been used since ancient times: the Greeks were using olive oil, ancient Egyptians – a mixture of rice and plants. In Philippines and Indonesia a zinc oxide paste was used. Zinc oxide is found today as a main ingredient in physical SPFs. So if they were aware of the effects of the Sun back then, we have no excuse today, with access to so much information, not to protect ourselves.
There are 2 major types of sunscreen:
- Chemical ( it uses chemical ingredients that absorb and transform UV light into heat in the skin).
- Physical ( it reflects the light as a mirror with the use of minerals that sit at the surface of the skin) – more suitable for sensitive skin.
Dermalogica has a wide range of sunscreens, chemical and physical, but what I like about this brand is that they didn’t just create sunscreens. Every single SPF product addresses a skin concern and benefits the skin in so many ways:
- Solar Defense Booster SPF 50 (chemical) – helps control damage produced by free radicals also;
- Total Eye Care SPF 15 (physical) – it’s hydrating for the eye area, it addresses puffiness, fine lines and dark circles;
- Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 (chemical) – provides skin with firmness, hydration, control age-related hyperpigmentation;
- Oil Free Matte SPF 30 (chemical) – sunscreen for oily/breakingout skin that regulates sebum production and it’s anti-inflammatory;
- Pure Light SPF 50 (chemical) – treats hyperpigmentation by regulating melanin production;
- Protection 50 Sport SPF 50 (chemical) – it can be used for body and face and it’s 40 minutes water proof;
- Clearing Defense SPF 30 – sunscreen that addresses teenager breakouts;
- Invisible Physical Defense SPF 30 (physical) – our newest sunscreen, it uses zinc oxide; protects against blue light as well and is suitable for sensitive skin too.
The last 2 products that I want to mention are my favorites:
- Prisma Protect SPF 30 (chemical) – multitasking moisturizer that protects against the full spectrum of modern life: UV light, pollution, dehydration and free radical damage.it blocks 85% of pollutants, providing luminous, hydrated and protected skin.
- Skinperfect Primer SPF 30 (Physical) – a multitasking product as well; it gives a silky feeling, preparing skin for make-up application; it brightens and smooths fine lines, protects against UV light. It contains arginine, an ingredient that helps stopping the chemical reactions in the skin leading to skin aging, before they even start.
All Dermalogica sunscreens are broad spectrum – they protect against both UVA and UVB rays and this is something you should definitely consider when choosing a sunscreen. They must be applied in the morning and also 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapplied after 2 hours in the sunshine or after swimming/sweating.
I hope this clarifies some facts about UV light and sunscreen that we all have to know , the final aim being to understand better the importance sunscreen application.
In the end I will add the words of Hillary Fogelson, a skin cancer survivor: “Sun protection (…) needs to be consistent. Keep it simple and do it forever!”