Why Your Skin Needs Protection From The Sun All Year Long

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sunWe all want healthier, younger looking skin, but as we age it gets harder and harder to achieve. One of the biggest factors that affect our skin over time is the sun.

Warm sunlight washing over our skin may feel nice; however, what’s happening under the epidermis isn’t. Years of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can kill or damage skin cells causing:

  • Uneven pigmentation
  • Skin discoloration
  • Rough texture
  • Sunburns
  • Reduced elasticity
  • Reduced collagen production
  • Acceleration of the aging process (photoaging)
  • Skin cancer

Sunlight helps us produce vitamin D, but just a little too much is enough to damage skin cells. This guide will help you better understand how to lessen the damage that’s already been done and better protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Correcting Past Sun Damage on the Skin

Chances are your skin has experienced some level of sun damage. Fortunately, doctors and researchers have discovered a number of natural ingredients that can help improve the damage that has already been done. They include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A
  • Peptides
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Many of these ingredients are found in top-rated skin care products. Lines like Dermaclara also combine multiple products to maximize the effects. Customer reviews of Dermaclara reveal that many users see improvements in the signs of sun damage. When all five products are used together customers note that brown spots, wrinkles and dullness are all reduced.

Skin damage from the sun accumulates every day, which is why it’s important to begin correcting damage and protecting skin as early in life as possible. Creating a routine that you can stick to daily is also important. Moisturizing and protection is needed during the day while cleansing, moisturizing and nourishment is needed at night.

What You Need to Know About SPF

Many people make the mistake of thinking sunscreen is only needed during summer beach vacations. Even in the winter when the sun sets earlier and we’re huddled inside by the fire sunscreen is still a daily requirement for healthy skin. The winter sun can actually be even more harsh because of dryness, windburn and reflection off the snow.

The truth is sun protection is a daily need throughout every season. But today there are so many products with confusing labels that the hassle of selecting a sunscreen is enough to keep some people from using it.

There are really just a few key things to look for, and one of them is SPF.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It’s a gauge of the percentage of UVB rays that are being blocked and how long the protection lasts. Theoretically the number indicates how many times longer the sunscreen protects the skin. For example, SPF 30 prevents UVB damage 30 times longer than the skin’s natural barrier of 20 minutes. However, experts suggest any sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours.

As far as the percentage of UVB rays that are blocked:

  • SPF 15 blocks 93%
  • SPF 30 blocks 97%
  • SPF 50 blocks 98%

A one percent difference is actually quite substantial when you consider that every day the damage is adding up. Experts recommend that you use at least SPF 15 even if you plan to spend just a few minutes outside.

UV Blocking Ingredients to Look For

The main purpose of sunscreen is to block damaging UV rays so they can’t easily penetrate the skin. The FDA has approved a number of ingredients that are proven to block UVA and UVB rays. These include:


PABA derivatives
Cinnamates (octylmethoxycinnamate and cinoxate)


Benzophenones (oxybenzone and sulisobenzone)
Ecamsule (MexorylTM)
Titanium dioxide
Zinc oxide

The best sunscreens are broad spectrum. That means they protect against UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays cause burns and skin cancer. UVA rays penetrate to deeper layers of skin causing wrinkles, discoloration and dullness. Typically, two to three of the ingredients above are needed for complete protection.

When in doubt, look for the Skin Cancer Foundation’s seal of approval. This means that the sunscreen contains an ample supply of the UV-blocking ingredients above.

Nothing harms your skin more than the sun. Since forgoing the light of day isn’t a viable option, taking steps to reduce and prevent damage is a necessary part of your daily skin care routine. All it takes is a few extra minutes each morning and night to start seeing the skin you enjoyed in your younger, less sun damaged years.

– Submitted by Katherine Smith

Protection From Winter Sun

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts below…..

jogsnowDermatologist Dr. Robert Levine with Advanced Dermatology PC Offers Tips for Cold-weather Skin Safety.

Even if you’re not heading south for a vacation in the sun, winter is no time to bypass protective measures for your skin. “When we think of the effects of cold weather on the skin, we tend to think about frostbite, chapping, and windburn,” says Dr. Robert Levine of Advanced Dermatology, P.C. “But many people aren’t aware that the sun is as damaging on the ski slopes as it is on the beach. In fact, winter sun can be even more harmful, in part because we don’t feel the heat and don’t perceive the risk but also because the sun’s rays are stronger at higher altitudes and when they reflect off snow.”

The vast majority of skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun. As dangerous as it is, cancer isn’t the only consequence of sun exposure. Changes to the skin that are often thought of as a natural result of aging – wrinkling, sagging, leathering, and the pigmentation known as age spots or liver spots – are also the result of sun exposure. Two types of ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVB, damage DNA in ways that cause cells to grow out of control and become cancerous; these rays also cause premature aging. And while UVB rays decrease during the winter months, UVA rays are just as intense. As Dr. Levine says: “We can’t prevent all damage to the skin from sun exposure – at any time of the year. But we can take steps to minimize the risk.”

Dr. Levine’s Sun Protection Tips for Winter

* Sunscreen: Use a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or more that is “broad spectrum,” meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. Choose a moisturizing sunscreen that contains lanolin or glycerin to protect against harsh winter conditions. Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, especially the face, and slather it on liberally – use at least a teaspoon on your face. Sunscreen isn’t just for days when you are engaging in winter sports. Use it any time you will be outdoors for fifteen minutes or more, even when the skies are overcast. Apply sunscreen fifteen minutes before going out and reapply every two hours, more often if you’ve been sweating or if you’ve been out in strong wind, which can reduce its effectiveness. Every time you apply sunscreen, also apply lip balm with SPF of 15 or above.

* Protect your eyes from both the brightness of the sun’s reflection off snow and from ultraviolet radiation. Wear sunglasses or goggles that provide 99% protection against UV rays and that have wraparound frames that cover the largest possible area. Moisturize the skin around your eyes carefully; that area is particularly susceptible to dehydration in cold, dry weather.

* Clothing: Cover up as much as possible, for warmth as well as sun protection. When a broad-brimmed hat isn’t feasible, make sure your neck is protected by a ski mask.

* Avoid the sun at midday, especially at high elevation: Try to stay out of the sun between 10am and 4pm when the sun’s rays are strongest. And keep in mind that UV radiation increases by 4% for every thousand feet above sea level. At elevations found on many ski slopes, UV radiation is about 30% more intense than at sea level.

“Most people know that they must protect their skin from the sun’s burning rays when they head to the beach,” says Dr. Levine. “But the risk of damage from UV radiation is as great in the winter when the sun doesn’t feel as hot and we’re not as conscious of the danger. The good news is that less skin is exposed in colder weather so there is less to protect. Armed with properly applied sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat or mask, you can enjoy outdoor winter fun while minimizing damage from the sun.”

– Robert Levine, D.O., F.A.O.C.D., is experienced in many areas of medical and surgical dermatology with a particular interest in cosmetics. Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies. http://www.advanceddermatologypc.com

Craving Fun In The Sun, Then Leave The Limes At Home

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine…..

didyouknow?Adding a slice of lime to a favorite summer drink is nice to cool off with, but it could leave your skin burning, say dermatologists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

The condition, called phytophotodermatitis, happens when a certain plant compound comes in contact with the skin, making that one area light sensitive. During the summer, lime juice is the common cause for this condition, which is why some doctors call it ‘margarita dermatitis.’

“The reaction usually looks like sunburn, or a poison ivy rash, with redness and sometimes swelling and blistering,” said Dr. Rajani Katta, professor of dermatology at Baylor. “It can be itchy and painful, and leave behind skin discoloration.”

The photosensitizing compound is also found in plants such as celery, parsley and even Queen Anne’s Lace. Exposure can come from fruit drippings, scratches from branches or airborne particles.

“It’s not just the plant that causes the condition,” Katta said. “The skin must be exposed to both the plant compound and the sun.”

Treatment is similar to treating a poison ivy rash. Cool compresses and hydrocortisone creams along with oral antihistamines are used. Severe cases could require steroid pills.

“This is a common condition, but most cases are mild and people usually won’t head to the doctor,” Katta said. “I find patients are more bothered by the discoloration left behind rather than the inflamed area.”

Preventative action is best. Be aware of what plant products you come in contact with and wash the area thoroughly before going out in the sun. As always, make sure to apply sunscreen and stay in shaded areas to maintain good skin health.

Bright Ideas For Sun Protection And Skin Care

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below…..

sunSun Protection Factor (SPF) is not the only factor to consider when protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

“We all know SPF is important, but it extends beyond that,” said Dr. Ida Orengo, professor of dermatology and director of the Mohs/Dermatologic Surgery Unit at Baylor College of Medicine. “Diet, clothing and familiarity with your skin type all factor into sun protection.”


Diet can play a role in preventing skin cancer, Orengo said. The following items have been proven to reduce the growth of malignant cells and skin tumors:

* Omega-3 fatty acids

* Green tea

* Resveratrol (an ingredient in red wine)

“We have also conducted a study that proved low-fat diets play a role in preventing skin cancer,” she said.

For those looking to increase their skin’s threshold for sunburn, Heliocare® sun pills can help and, according to Orengo, a recent study showed that nicotinamide, a type of B vitamin, also may reduce the number of skin cancers one gets.

She recommends vitamin D supplements for people who are experts at avoiding the sun.

“It’s important to remember that we do need sun,” she said. “When sun hits the skin it transforms vitamin D into its active form. We need about 10 to 15 minutes of daily sun exposure for proper vitamin D levels. Vitamin D supports healthy brain, heart and immune system function.”

Your physician should be consulted before changing your diet or taking supplements. Orengo warns that diet alone cannot prevent or cure skin cancers, only help aid in the process.


For long days out in the sun you’ll need more than sunscreen. Orengo suggested tossing out the baseball caps with ventilation holes and opting for a hat with no holes and at least a 3-inch brim.

“Consider buying lightweight clothing that properly covers and protects your body from the sun’s rays,” she said. “Many outdoor stores now sell sun-protective clothing. There also are products that will add SPF to your own clothing.”

Types of skin

Another tip to protecting your skin is to know your own skin type, said Orengo. The Fitzpatrick scale is a numerical classification system that recognizes how varying types of skin respond to sun exposure. Orengo said dermatologists are familiar with the scale but individuals should also take time to understand their own risk. .

Type 1: burn all the time

Type 2: burn every time, then turns into a light tan

Type 3: burn but get a good tan

Type 4: sometimes burn, always tans

Type 5: rarely burns, always tans

Type 6: never burns, always tans

“Types 1, 2 and 3 are more likely to get skin cancer,” she said. “Types 4, 5 and 6 can get skin cancer, but it’s less likely. They should still protect themselves from the sun.”

For some types of skin, sunblock may work better than sunscreen because it physically blocks ultraviolet radiation from penetrating the skin. This is especially true for people who have sensitive skin, Orengo said.

Regardless of your skin type, Orengo said skin health should be everyone’s concern and following these tips, as well as seeing your doctor regularly for skin checks, is a good way to prevent skin cancers.

Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good? – Part 2

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By Sharon Gnatt Epel

familyContinued from part 1 of this article…..

* Oxybenzone (a derivative of benzophenone) – is another chemical that has been implicated in causing hormonal disruption to the body. It can penetrate the skin and be absorbed by the body. The FDA has long approved its use as a broad spectrum SPF (blocking both UVA and UVB radiation) for anyone older than 6 months. But many toxicologists and consumer protection agencies like the Environmental Working Group and the European equivalent of the FDA disagree. In fact, in Europe, any product containing more than 0.5% of this chemical must display a warning label telling consumers that it “Contains oxybenzone.”

* Retinyl palmitate is another chemical that has recently come under scrutiny. A form of Vitamin A, research has shown that retinyl palmitate can potentially increase the risk of skin cancer (tumors) when exposed directly to the sun. This makes it all right for use in a night cream, but a questionable if not downright risky choice for use in a sunscreen.

* Avobenzone is one of the most popular sunscreens on the market and considered one of the less harmful SPFs. However, it is a free radical generator. Free radicals, you may recall, are atoms that have an odd number of electrons (unpaired) in their outer shell making them essentially unstable. They actively seek out other molecules from whom they can “steal” electrons, setting off a chain reaction that causes damage to the molecule and the cell that it is in. Free radicals are thought to be a major cause of degenerative disease and premature aging.

So what’s a responsible, health-conscious adult to do?

The answer may lie in seeking out safer, more natural alternatives.

One easy way to avoid sunburn is to don protective clothing. Specialty manufacturers now make broad-rimmed hats, shirts, jackets, gloves and socks that have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). Unlike SPFs which generally protect against UVA only, the UPF number indicates the effectiveness of the garment against both UVB and UVA ultraviolet rays. Just like SPF ratings, UPF scores range from low to high as an indicator of their efficacy. I am a fan of this clothing because it is light, comfortable, and perfect for children and adults who live in areas of high-elevation. It is also very helpful to those of us who are involved in water sports since water magnifies the sun’s rays and increases the risk of sunburn. You can Google “sun protection clothing” for links to companies that carry these types of garments.

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are two safer sunscreen ingredient options that have been around for a long time and worth pursuing. That is, unless they have been micronized – oops! – a process also known as nanotechnology, that reduces the size of a molecule so drastically that it can pass through the layers of the skin and find its way into the bloodstream. This process was originally devised to reduce the amount of white residue left behind by zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that looked unsightly and tended to settle in people’s wrinkles.

The Environmental Working Group’s 2013 Guide to Sunscreens contains a list of safer alternatives, and other interesting information about sunscreen, high SPFs (are they really longer lasting?), the inclusion of SPFs in lip balms and cosmetics, and the latest research about their potential risk to your health.

In the meantime, please take precautions and use common sense when being outdoors for long periods of time. Remember: a sunburn may not hurt for very long, but the damage it causes will last forever.

– Copyright August 2013 by Sharon Gnatt Epel for La Isha Natural Skin Care

– Sharon Gnatt Epel is the CEO/Founder, La Isha Natural & Organic Skincare.

Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good? – Part 1

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By Sharon Gnatt Epel

sunUnless you live under a rock or in a dense rainforest, there’s a good chance that you are aware of the importance of shielding your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. UV rays are the leading cause of skin cancer in the U.S., and the number one cause of premature aging.

But did you know that some unfiltered sun exposure is actually necessary for good health? In addition to making us feel good and putting extra spring in our step, exposure to UVB rays causes our skin to produce Vitamin D3, which helps regulate the calcium and phosphate levels in our bodies (translating into healthy bones and teeth). D3 is also involved in an assortment of other important biological functions, including bolstering the body’s defense system against the onslaught of microbes, and helping the body assimilate and absorb other vitamins. Only 10 minutes a day of exposure during the early morning hours can be very helpful to our health and overall well-being.

However, longer sun exposure times require the use of an SPF in order to avoid sunburn and blistering. Unfortunately most of the sunscreens available today contain harmful synthetic ingredients that have been linked to hormonal imbalances and increased cancer rates. Here are some of the worst offenders that you should consider before you buy your next bottle of sunscreen:

* Octinoxate (octyl methoxycinnamate) – is one of the most common ingredients found in today’s sunscreens and cosmetics. It functions by absorbing UV-B rays. Classified as an estrogenic chemical, it has been linked to hormonal imbalance and increased rates of cancer. Women who are pregnant should not use products that contain Octinoxate because of the estrogen-like effects it has on the body.

This chemical has also been shown to linger in a person’s body for several years after exposure to it. It can cause liver damage. It is best to keep sunscreens that contain this ingredient away from children.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

– Copyright August 2013 by Sharon Gnatt Epel for La Isha Natural Skin Care

– Sharon Gnatt Epel is the CEO/Founder, La Isha Natural & Organic Skincare.