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  • Writer's pictureDr. Cassandra Paiano, ND

Here Comes the Sun

After a long, and cold winter, the beautiful sunny days are finally among us. Protecting your skin from the harmful ultraviolet A and B (UVA/UVB) sun rays is the most underrated beauty secret. These rays are strongest in the late morning (~11 o'clock am), until ~ 5 o'clock pm. If you are often out in the sun during these hours, it is crucial to invest in a broad spectrum sunscreen (protection against both UVA and UVB). Sun exposure can dehydrate the skin cells, break down collagen, increase skin laxity, cause premature wrinkles and fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and increase our risk of skin cancers (NO, thank you!!). We don't want any of that for you, which is why we put together a short and sweet, stress-free info sheet on sunscreen. Here's everything you need to know: 1. Know the difference - UVA vs. UVB Ultraviolet A rays penetrate the skin deeper than the shorter, ultraviolet B rays (UVB). While both can cause skin cancers, the main difference is the due to their differing wavelengths. UVB causes skin burns on the outermost skin later. UVA (longer wavelength) has the ability to penetrate the innermost skin later, accelerating cellular aging. Choose a sunscreen that is broad spectrum, meaning it protects against both UVB and UVA rays.

2. Ingredients to hide from Oxybenzone, octinoxate (actyle methoxycinnamate), homosalate, octocrylene, avobenzone. All of the above penetrate the skin, act as endocrine disruptors (affecting estrogen levels in the body), and have the ability to cause allergic reactions, and other skin concerns. 3. Choose mineral sunscreen Mineral based sunscreens contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as their active ingredients. Mineral sunscreens provide more protection that chemical sunscreens, are free from harsh and synthetic ingredients, do not penetrate the skin, and do not act as endocrine disruptors. They are the sunscreen of choice, especially for those with sensitive, acne-prone skin. However, avoid spray-on mineral based products, as there are concerns of toxicity when these ingredients are inhaled. Pro-tip: Avoid products with a SPF (sun protection factor) greater than 50. These products give a false sense of security, and while they may protect against UVB sunburns, they increase exposure to UVA radiation. We recommend re-applying sunscreen every 2 hours in the sun, regardless of SPF.

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