Be Sun Smart

Let’s face it; if you live in Canada, most of us are happy to see the summer sun. Winter seems to drag on forever and many of us are prone to over-doing it with  sun exposure once the warm weather finally arrives.

There are some longstanding beliefs with regard to sun exposure that bear closer inspection.

When we were young, we were likely told that we needed a “base tan” to protect ourselves. The fact is that there is NO such thing as a safe tan. In fact, a tan is your body’s response to UV damage. Your skin produces more pigment as a way to try to reduce further injury.  It can only do so much on its own though…and many of us can attest to the fact that a base tan does not protect us from further burning.

We’ve also bought into the idea that it’s acceptable and even safe to lay out in the sun if we are wearing a sunscreen. This is absolutely false. The purpose of sunscreen is to decrease the amount of UV damage you get when you are unable to avoid sun exposure. Ideally, we should cover up with protective clothing and apply an SPF liberally to areas that can’t be covered. Think light fabrics and hats people!

We often hear from clients “My makeup has SPF in it.”  Don’t trust that your foundation has sufficient SPF to protect you…and remember, we don’t generally apply makeup to our neck, chest and the backs of our hands. These areas are prone to accelerated aging due to sun exposure. Makeup can help to cover our brown spots…but what do you think caused those brown spots and freckles in the first place? That’s right…sun exposure!

The other thing we hear every day from clients is “I’m never outside.”  This is unlikely, since they don’t have an underground path from their homes to work, or the grocery store, or the gym.  Even on cloudy days, the UV rays are only decreased minimally. It may not feel warm, but the sun’s radiation still penetrates the cloud cover. Most of us spend time in our cars every day. The resulting UV exposure on the left side of our face is often evident with increased wrinkles and age spots on the left.

So, what’s the right thing to do? Those in the know, dermatologists and aesthetic physicians, recommend we wear a MINIMUM of SPF 30 every single day. It bears repeating…EVERY SINGLE DAY.  There are many high quality sunscreens that are moisturizing, non-greasy and perfect for sensitive skin. Find one and be faithful to it. One of our favourites is Vivier SPF 30 Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion.  When you find one you love, use it as your morning moisturizer. Your skin will thank you for it. Happy Summer Everyone!