You may have already put your sun hats and sunscreen into storage for Ottawa’s cooler seasons, but don’t underestimate the importance of sun protection year round. Finding the right protection level in a product that looks and feels good on your skin can be more complex than finding a well-fitted bra! Especially with all of the emerging information about harmful ingredients in some SPF products. That’s why I make it my business to be the expert and find a safe product, tailored to protect your skin type.
Since there is no immediate result when we use sun protection, it’s hard for us to fully appreciate that it is so necessary. You know, the old ‘it’s not going to happen to me’ syndrome – we’re only human!
Even though we may be aware of the deeper damage that can be caused by sun exposure, the reality is that we will be more motivated by the fact that it is the number one cause of aging! So let’s get serious. My goal is to provide you with the best match for your needs and wants, whether for daily protection or lifestyle. Let’s find you a product that feels good, looks good, and does the job well. Over time, I have selected a number of different options – from medical sunscreens to powder protectors – that are high quality performance products. I know that it’s all about preference when it comes to choosing an SPF with the right texture, look, and feel for you. That’s why we work with trial sizes so you can try before you buy!
The evidence is very clear for what the sun’s harmful UV rays can do to our skin. Here, I will try to make it simple for you and provide the key points you need to know. Important to understand is that we need balanced protection from both types of UV rays: UVB and UVA. We are now finding out that many products in the past were missing appropriate protection from UVA rays, which cause the deeper damage of aging and skin cancers. It is key to have ‘broad spectrum’ protection with a close balance of ingredients like the ones you can find in Alumier MD’s Sheer Hydration with 6.28% micronized zinc oxide and 7% titanium dioxide.
SPF – what does it really mean?
This is a complex topic. I have organized the key details that you need to know. There are many elements, but here are the simple and most important points:
SPF means the amount of time it takes your skin to burn, multiplied by the SPF factor.
SPF does not equate to the amount of protection it gives you as some skin burns faster than others.
So if you burn in 10 minutes: 10 x SPF 30 = 300 or 5 hours. This equation does not factor in variables like sweating or exposure to water. The best and wisest approach is to apply SPF every 2 hours or sooner if you burn quickly.
The notion that you are more protected from a high rated SPF can also be misleading. A higher rated SPF of 100 may only have marginally more protection than one of 50 and it requires more chemical filters. Moreover, these chemical filters mainly target UVB (burning rays) versus the UVA (aging/cancer causing rays that penetrate your skin). This can lead to a false sense of protection, pose a greater health risk because of the chemicals (more on that below), and leave you open to harmful UVA rays.
SPF rating is based on the UVB protection factor ONLY…so what about the harmful UVA?
Studies have shown that SPF of 30-50 is adequate, as long as it contains a balance of both UVB and UVA protection (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are among the safest protection because their combination is truly ‘broad spectrum’). Beware, as there are many products that make that claim.
Application IS everything!
You can have the best product, but at the end of the day it ONLY works when an appropriate amount is:
a) applied–in other words, don’t skimp on it, and
b) re-applied regularly as noted above.
One of the most common errors, and the reason why people so commonly suffer from sunburns, is that they don’t reapply regularly. Remember, the SPF factor in a cream depreciates over time on your skin.
Understanding the issue with ingredients: the good and the bad
Active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms: mineral and chemical filters.
The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters. These products typically include a combination of two to six of these active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. A handful of products combine zinc oxide with chemical filters.
Studies indicate that some chemical UV filters may mimic hormones or cause skin allergies, which raises important questions about unintended effects on human health from frequent sunscreen application. The most worrisome is oxybenzone, which is found in a large percentage of sunscreens. If you have ever wondered why you react to a sunscreen, it is most likely due to one of these chemical filters. Remember, chemical filters target for UVB rays only, and do not address UVA protection.
Mineral sunscreens (titanium dioxideand zinc oxide) are the safest and most effective ingredients. They are safe because they contain large particles that sit on the skin and are effective in providing UVB and UVA protection.
How Foundation Beauty helps you choose your best protection:
There’s a lot to understand when it comes to safe sun protection. At the end of the day you want something that feels good to wear and does the job safely. I have made it my business to source out a number of options so you can have the best of both worlds – safe sun protection that looks great on! There are a number of options and combinations, but most importantly there are good choices for you to choose from.
AlumierMD sunscreens do not contain any chemical filters but use titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for protection in a wide range of sunscreen options. Developed to the high standard of European regulations and free of chemical filters, they have a good balance of both types of protection that are the safest protective ingredients when applied topically.
Another fantastic option is the Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup. Not only do you get beautiful coverage in a natural makeup base, but also great physical protection with their pressed powder – 14% Titanium Dioxide and 3% Zinc Oxide. Worn over your SPF moisturizing base, with the right application, it gives you great protection all day long!
Sometimes this takes a bit of time and some experimenting with the products, but that’s ok! Rest assured we can find the right combination for you. That’s my job as your skincare expert!