I bet you thought I was going to give you some miracle product that was going to get rid of your wrinkles and clear your acne and magically give you a better life all around. Well, not exactly. BUT, I am going to talk today about the single most important step in your skin care routine and the best all-around anti-aging product you can be using on your skin.
That product is SPF. Now, a lot of you might be wondering why I'm calling SPF the single best anti-aging product you can be using. Well, it's just that. ANTI aging. The #1 cause of the signs we associate with aging is damage from the sun's rays. There are two types of rays that are emitted by the sun that make it down to the surface our delicate skin, UVA and UVB. The distinction between the two is how they affect your skin. UVA rays can be thought of as the "aging" rays. These rays from the sun have a longer wavelength so they penetrate deeper into the skin. These rays have lasting effects that may not be seen until years later. Much of the sun damage we see appear later in life as wrinkling and dark spots can be traced back to our younger years. This is why I am adamant with all of my clients (but especially the younger ones) that they MUST be diligent about sunscreen usage. UVA radiation is up to 95% of the radiation that actually reaches the surface of the earth, as these rays are not absorbed by the ozone layer. They are also able to penetrate through glass, so even if you're not outside if you're near a window you can still be getting skin damage from these rays. There is a famous photo of a trucker who spent many years with one side of his face (the side nearest the window) getting sun and the other side staying protected in the shade. And guess what, the result is dramatic.
You can still see signs of aging on the other side but the proof is in the pudding. Protecting your skin from UVA rays will help slow the signs of aging dramatically. So before I've even talked about the other type of rays have I convinced you to wear your SPF?
The other type of ray is UVB rays. UVB rays can be thought of as the "burning" rays. These are the ones everyone seems to be concerned about, and the reason why most people wear sunscreen when going to the beach. Your sun burns are caused by UVB rays. Most sunscreen protects against these rays as they a visible and painful result. UVB rays have a medium wavelength, are absorbed by the ozone layer and don't penetrate very deeply into the skin, hence the surface damage of a sun burn. This can still cause lasting damage, and once the skin is burnt we've already done damage so we definitely want to protect against this as well.
So WHAT can we do? Wear SPF! Everyday. Rain? Sunscreen. Blazing hot sun? Sunscreen. Four inches of snow on the ground.....sunscreen! Even though we may have passed 18 we can help our skin by not accelerating the aging process with the sun and avoid more serious damage like skin cancer. Even if you've got darker skin like I do and don't necessarily burn, that does not mean that you're not susceptible to UVA rays and the potential of skin cancer. Make sure your sunscreen is at least SPF 30 as this will protect your from 97% of the the suns damaging rays (spf 15 protects from 93%, spf 50 protects from 98%) and it should also be Broad Spectrum. Broad Spectrum means that it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. If you're already seeing the signs of sun damage make an appointment and we can do a series of treatments to help lessen the visible damage the sun has done to your skin.