It’s that time of the year when we need to be especially careful about applying our sunscreens. Ultraviolet exposure is the predominate factor in aging. Research shows that 80-90 percent of extrinsic aging comes from sun exposure. UV exposure leads not only to skin cancers, but wrinkles, brown spots, capillary damage, and collagen and elastin deterioration. Sunscreens need to protect against both UVB and UVA rays. UVB rays are those that give us sunburns and tans, while UVA rays are known as the "aging rays". They penetrate much deeper into the skin and can even penetrate through glass! This is why it’s important to wear sunscreen even when you’re just going to be in the car. You should always wear “broad spectrum” sunscreen, meaning it protects you from both types of rays. Unfortunately, the SPF rating only applies to UVB protection. At this time, the FDA does not require UVA ratings on products. A system has been designed to rate UVA protection, but has yet to be implemented. Look for it on products in the near future.
When purchasing sunscreen this summer, look for these ingredients, which protect against UVA rays:
- Avobensone (Parsol 1789)
- Zinc oxide, and
- Titanium Dioxide
Avobenzone can sometimes pose a problem due to instability, but formulas containing zinc and/or titanium provide the best coverage against both UVA and UVB rays. These are now formulated to give fabulous coverage without the white chalky look of the past. Use of sunscreen daily is the easiest and least expensive anti-aging treatment. If you can prevent now, you don’t have to treat later. Let our skin care specialist help you choose a sunscreen that contains these vital ingredients. She can suggest one that gives you broad spectrum protection and also feels good on your skin. If you have any medical conditions, always consult with your doctor before beginning a new skincare regimen.
- Laser Specialist Judy Paredes, L.M.E.