SUN AND SUN SCREEN
Most consumers know that they should be wearing sunscreen in the heat of summer, however for our cosmetic clients concerned with preventing premature photo-aging and reducing signs of aging, they should be wearing a layer of protection every day, all year round.
The sun in New Zealand is harsh, the amount of ultra violet radiation (UV) is considered higher than in most parts of the world, this is partly due to the hole in the ozone layer that sits above New Zealand letting in more damaging sun rays. UV is delivered down to earth in the form of UVA – The ‘Aging’ rays , UVB – the ‘Burning’ rays, and UVC – the so called ‘Cancer’ causing rays. Because of the hole in the ozone layer over our country, not all UVC rays are trapped by the ozone layer so some of these rays are making their way down into our skin.
The purpose of a broad-spectrum sunscreen is to block out both UVA and UVB rays, otherwise the sunscreen is not providing full protection. This broad spectrum formula is made up of both chemical absorbers (Sunscreen chemical ingredients with super long names like octy-methoxycinnamate and oxybenzone) and a physical barrier like Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, these barriers block the suns rays from entering the skin and bounce the light back off the skin. Chemical absorbers absorb or scatter UVA and or UVB rays at the skins surface.
SUN PROTECTION FACTOR
The SPF (Sun protection factor) of a sunscreen is a measurement of the ratio of the ultraviolet (UV) radiation dose that is required to produce a recognisable constant response on skin (minimum erythema) when treated with a sunscreen product compared to that required for untreated skin. However, this ‘burn time’ calculation varies between people based on their skin colouring, ethnicity and ability to tan. (i.e.: 8 minutes for a Fitzpatrick I and 45 minutes for a Fitzpatrick V)
Substantial amounts of UV radiation can be reflected from items in the environment, including snow (up to 85%), water (up to 30%), sand (up to 20%), grass (up to 5%) as well as from other solid surfaces such as pathways and concrete, clouds and particles in the sky.
This means that you still gain exposure even in the shade and that the risk of sunburn is greatly increased near snow and water.
SUN AND SUNSCREEN FACTS
Babies and children should not be in the sun as before puberty they do not develop a full stratum corneum layer and therefore will burn more easily – sunburn as a child can lead to development of skin cancers including melanoma later in life.
Organic and natural sunscreens may not give full protection – bearing in mind that sunscreen should not be the only form of protection used, we recommend staying in the shade and wearing clothing to cover up exposed areas. Natural based sunscreens may only provide a physical barrier to the sun and are not generally broad spectrum.
Likewise, chemical absorbers designed for use in European countries are not suitable for the hash New Zealand sun and people using them here may still find they burn.
Sunscreen built into moisturisers or make-up is NOT enough on its own, a sunscreen should be applied also.
SUN PROTECTION DURING LASER & IPL TREATMENTS?
With new technology and focused wave lengths we are now able to treat for hair removal during the summer months, though I do ask my clients to be extra diligent with sun protection throughout their course of treatments. Laser is a light/heat based treatment and you can run the risk of burning, scarring, and seriously damaging your skin, whether you look tan or not you skin can become more sensitive to heat without you knowing it. If you plan to receive laser treatments please follow my pre and post care instructions which include wearing sun protection everyday. The Rejuv Room offers a range of sun protection options to suit a range of skin types and life styles.