ULTIMATE FIGHT: SKIN VS. SUN
Being that May was skin cancer awareness month and we are now entering the scathing months of summer, it’s only right we talk about sun protection. We claim our melanin proudly, but the sun does not (we repeat, DOES NOT) discriminate. So here we go!
Let’s be real, most of us (POC) don’t wear or give any thought to wearing SPF due to the misconception that our melanin is enough protection from the sun (read our previous statement). Though our melanin provides greater protection than our Caucasian friends, we are NOT immune to skin cancer, hyper-pigmentation, or sunburn. In fact, a recent study (July 2016) by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology revealed that darker skin toned patients were most likely to be diagnosed with melanoma (skin cancer) in the later stages than any other group in the study and have the worst prognosis and the lowest overall survival rate… is that not scary?? As much as we would like to believe the sun loves us, it simply does not.
When it comes to ageing it’s not your actual age that ages you, it’s the blodclot sun! The sun causes an estimated 90% of skin ageing. The other 10% is caused by your environment and lifestyle. Shocking right?!?! This is why I NEVER go a day without wearing SPF. I don’t care if it’s raining, cloudy, or snowing, SPF will be worn. Not wearing it is simply not an option, no ma’am!
THE CULPRITS - UVA + UVB RAYS
The sunlight that reaches us is made up of two types of harmful rays:
UVA (ultraviolet A) rays penetrate deep into the skin (dermis) and is responsible for us ageing *insert middle finger*. UVB (ultraviolet B) rays penetrate the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis) and is typically responsible for sunburns (insert aloe vera here).
When should I use sunscreen?
EVERYDAY if you’re outside. The sun emits harmful UV rays year-round. Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin.1 Snow, sand, and water increase the need for sunscreen because they reflect the sun’s rays.1
What Sunscreen Should I Use?
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use sunscreen that offers the following:
Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays)
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher (blocks 97 percent of the sun's UVB rays)
How much sunscreen should I use, and how often should I apply it?
Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes BEFORE going outdoors.
Skin cancer also can form on the lips (yea, we know). Apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours during the day.
MY FAVORITE SUNSCREENS:
Glossier Invisible Shield SPF 35 – for all skin types
Dermalogica Oil Free Matte SPF 30 (oily/ combo/ acne skin)
Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Sun and skin are not homies. When it comes to wearing SPF, you need to include it in your daily regimen! EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It’s the first line of age prevention and the most vital step in skin protection. Wearing it on a consistent basis can save you money in the long run on pricey, invasive, and drastic skin treatments and products to undo the photoaging effects of sun exposure such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and loss of elasticity. Problems you don’t want! I promise you, you want problems like “I love all my sneakers, which do I wear today” not “I have a 40K medical bill”. You’ve been enlightened, you’ve been warned.