Sun Protection

You have heard this over and over, but are you buying into it? I recall a 90-year-old patient I saw in the emergency room. Her face and neck were as wrinkled and saggy as a Shar-Pei and covered with sunspots. When I listened to her lungs with my stethoscope, I marveled at the smooth tight unspotted skin of her back. It occurred to me, this lady never owned a bikini. Her back had been protected from the sun all of her life by her clothing. Unfortunately, she grew up in a time before sunblock had been invented so her face and neck showed the effect of daily assault by the sun. We can avoid that fate.

It is important to understand that all sun blocks are not equal and that SPF rating can be misleading. Most sunblocks are comprised of multiple chemicals. These chemicals only block the UVB radiation which causes a sunburn. They do not block the UVA radiation, which causes more than 90% of our skin aging. The SPF rating refers only to the UVB radiation. For this reason, we cannot trust the SPF rating to help us determine if the product will protect us from the aging rays. Another problem with chemical sunblock is that when used every day, the chemicals themselves contribute to skin aging. Do we need to use sunblock every day? Cloudy winter days? Since UVA rays penetrate clouds and rain, we need protection every day, not just sunny days.

Mineral sunblock gives us what we need. Using micronized Zinc and Titanium, the particles are so small, there is no white life guard nose effect of the old mineral blocks. A concentration of 7.5% or greater mineral will give us the necessary protection against UVA and UVB radiation. The minerals are “inert”. They are not absorbed and do not damage the skin like chemicals can. The minerals do not degrade like chemical blocks, so protection is preset until the product is removed. Today’s mineral sunblocks are extremely safe and effective, but a little more difficult to find than conventional blocks. At Pure Radiance, we have blocks by Elta, Obagi, and ZO to protect every skin type. Don’t forget, cute hats and sun avoidance are also wise adjuncts to keeping your skin young.

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