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Archive for July, 2015

SPF is a number that’s put on sun protection to tell you how much longer you can stay in the sun than if you weren’t wearing any protection at all. So if you can stay in the sun for 10 minutes without burning, then with a Sun Protection Factor of 15 you will be able to stay in the sun for 150 minutes without burning.

I want to explain these numbers a little bit more and how they come up with them. First you need to know about the UV rays. There are 2 types of UV rays that we get exposed to. One is UVB and that one [causes] more of a surface damage, so the first few layers of the skin get affected by the UVB rays, and these are what cause burns. The UVA rays are not as easy to detect because you don’t get red, but they are doing damage at an even deeper level into your skin, and they can attack collagen and elastin. UVA rays are what actually cause a lot of aging and wrinkles.

Tanning beds are so bad for your skin because they’re mostly UVA rays, and they will just age your skin like nobody’s business. That’s a definite no-no!

I want you to be aware of something. The FDA and the Environmental Working Group suggest that you do not use Sun Protection Factor over 50, and this is why; when they do testing for SPF in the lab, they’re only testing UVB ray exposure because they look at how fast the skin goes red. What companies have learnt to do is put antioxidants and anti-inflammatories into their formulas so that the redness is reversed by these ingredients, and it jacks up the SPF. What’s wrong with that is you are still getting exposed to these rays, you’re just not getting red because it’s being reversed. This is giving a false sense of protection for people; you’re getting a lot more sun than you think you are, because it’s not about redness at this point because there are ingredients that are counter-acting it. This doesn’t mean you’re not getting the harmful rays, your DNA is not being attacked, whatever – it’s still happening. Just be aware of that when you’re using these really high SPFs. My preference is that you use lower SPF and you take care of your skin other ways; you don’t go outside as much, you find shade, you go under an umbrella at the beach, you wear a hat, you wear UV-protective clothing. The 60+, the 50, even, it’s just giving a false sense of security to people, and I really do believe people are damaging their skin and they don’t know any better because it’s not going red when it would usually go red. So keep that in mind and stay protected.

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We’ve just gotten into the months that we’re starting to spend a lot of time in the sun so it’s really important that we’re protecting our skin from damage; from skin cancer, from premature aging, from everything that overexposure to sun rays will do to it.

There are 2 types of sunscreens you can choose from. The first I’m going to talk about is physical sunscreen; zinc or titanium oxide. Those 2 minerals get applied to the skin and they act like tiny little mirrors deflecting the rays off your skin. The second kind is chemicals; oxybenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octyl salicylate. These cause a chemical reaction by taking the light and turning it into a different form of energy, and it’s usually heat. This is why if you get these in your eyes, it burns badly, and uh…not fun. My preference is definitely the first one, the physical sunscreen, because it’s gentle on your skin; it’s not going to absorb into your system and create a toxic stew, whereas we know now that these petrochemicals tend to absorb in, and there’s all kinds of issues that we’re starting to understand, such as endocrine disruption, and, you know, cancer.
I’m not saying that sunscreen causes cancer, but I’m saying that you have to be careful of what you’re putting on your skin every single day, and the impact it could have on your body. Not to mention the fact that oxybenzone is a known hormone disrupter – one of the more common ones in the market – and is eco-toxic. So if you go and swim near a reef, it can bleach the reef, and it is responsible for a lot of human damage of reef around the world. And that should tell you something about the actual chemical.

Physical sunscreens all the way! I love zinc; it’s not as whitening now, because before we had these larger molecules, so when you think about zinc you just think, like, white – everywhere. But fortunately they’ve gotten the molecule nice and small – micronized – and so it’s not as whitening. You want to go small but not too small, because the nano-sized, the nano-particle zinc, does absorb to damage skin, does absorb through it, and we really don’t know what this nano-sized zinc, or titanium for that matter, is going to do to your system. There’s just not enough research at this point in time. There have been some damning reports about it being eco-toxic as well, so look for non-nano versions.

My favourite sunscreen is Goddess Garden. It’s non-whitening, a super non-toxic formula, and it doesn’t clog up my pores; I have to be very careful about using stuff that’s too greasy or heavy because I will break out.

The ingredients I really want you to avoid are; oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate – because apparently when sun hits retinyl palmitate it can create a carcinogenic type of damage to your cells, so stay away from that – and citrus essential oils, because they contain furocoumarins and they are phototoxic so they will make your skin more vulnerable to UV rays. I just read an article this morning about how even drinking orange juice, they’re linking that to melanoma, so because of these furocoumarins they’ll make your skin just super vulnerable to the sun. So if you see a skin care product that has sweet orange, lime, lemon, bergamot, or grapefruit, stay away! Stay away from the summer, because if you’re going to be out in the sun with it…I don’t think it’s ever a good idea in skin care, but especially if you’re going to be out in the sun.

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