April 15, 2014

Healthy Skin From Head To Toe: Part 3

Spring is finally here! And it took long enough... The warmer weather means shedding those clunky winter layers and letting your skin breathe! In this Healthy Skin series, I'll be talking about what you'll need in the coming months to protect your skin from head to toe. (This means a lot of sunscreen!)

You know about what ingredients and claims to look out for when buying SPF sunscreen and you now know how to apply it effectively (and when to reapply!), but what about the rest of your body?

I cannot stress enough that the SPF number in your sunscreen is dose-dependent. For the entire body, from head to toe, dermatologists are of the consensus that the minimum amount needed is one full shot glass. Since we have established that the skin of your body is different from the skin of your face, it's likely you'll to want a separate lotion for your body, especially since it's also likely your SPF face lotion will be too expensive to use on your body. The only exception to using a separate body SPF sunscreen is if you suffer from body acne (like on the chest and back) or if you experience a condition called Keratosis Pilaris, where you break out in tiny red bumps on your upper arms and thighs. You can still find non-pore-clogging SPF lotions for body by brands like Peter Thomas Roth, Neutrogena, and CeraVe.

Reapplying sunscreen for the body follows the same rules as on the face. If you go out in the sun with no protection at all, and you burn in 10 minutes. This means if you apply an SPF of 15, you can now go out in the sun without burning for 10 minutes times 15 = 150 minutes of protection. The same formula goes for SPF30 (10 minutes times 30 = 300 minutes of protection.)

A major cancer center is the back of the lower leg. I'm sure you can imagine it - how often does it get missed? This is why SPF sunscreen application must be thorough.

There was a claim of water-proof, but was so unreliable that I always told my clients to reapply anyway. Regulations have now changed on that claim. As of last year, the FDA no longer allows a label to say "water-proof" or "sweat-proof" as these are too misleading. Sunscreens now have to say "water resistant" up to a proven period of time, like 40-80 minutes.

"But what if I want color?!"  
Well, what would you rather have? 
A tan now from the sun instead of from a spray or lotion, 
or leather face later? 

Back in the early '90s I worked two summers at a Merle Norman salon. The owner of the location where I worked was a bleached-blond smokin' hot Texan. She actually had a tanning bed in her home. One look at the back of her and you'd say the same thing I did at the time - "I hope I look that good when I'm 50!" But then she'd turn around. Everyone at the mall called her "Dragon Lady" for a reason. Need I say any more?

A tan is actually your skin putting on sunscreen for you, and this creates DAMAGE. It's part of an intricate mechanism your skin employs to repair and protect itself from Ultra Violet radiation. Wrinkles occur when the skin can't keep up with this mechanism and the proteins that hold the skin up get destroyed and the top layers of the skin buckle in. Skin cancer happens when the mechanism goes haywire. Don't let your skin have to repair and protect itself when all you have to do is develop a sunscreen habit!

If you need any specific help with your skin care routine and particular issues, please fill out my Eval By Email® Online Skincare Consultation form!

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