Last week’s post touched on the differences between medical-grade and over-the-counter products in terms of a facial service. Now I’m going to talk about the multiple benefits of wearing a medical-grade sunscreen. Friends and clients frequently ask me if I can recommend one product they can use on their skin for a healthier complexion. This is a tough one as there’s not one miracle product, however, a good sunscreen can be a game-changer when it comes to wrinkle prevention. Most of the time people respond to this by saying that their foundation contains SPF or that they are rarely exposed to the sun. While it’s great that beauty brands have started formulating sun protection into their products, this really isn’t enough to make a difference. And secondly, even if you don’t frequently lay out by the pool or spend time outdoors, you’re still exposed to the sun as UV rays are present year-round. UVA rays, the same kind of rays found in tanning booths, can penetrate through clouds and windows regardless of weather conditions. I tell clients every day that we get the most sun in the car while driving so unless the windows in your car and home have top-notch UV protection, your skin is being affected.
Based on last week’s post, we know that medical-grade products can penetrate the skin more effectively, giving better results. I firmly believe in taking preventative action when it comes to improving skin health which is why using a medical-grade sunscreen is so important! We see terms like “broad spectrum”, “physical”, and “chemical” sunscreens but what do they mean? Let’s clear up some of the confusion. SPF in over-the-counter products blocks UVB rays (which are most intense on sunny days and during the summer months), but does virtually nothing to protect against the UVA rays I mentioned above. UVA rays can lead to melanomas and break down our dermal layer, resulting in loss of collagen and skin elasticity, not to mention rough skin texture and broken capillaries. If a sunscreen is broad spectrum, then that means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays so the chances of getting a sunburn or skin cancer are drastically reduced. Physical sunscreens create a barrier on the skin and reflect the sun's UV rays, while chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays, convert the rays into heat, and then release them from the body. Your skin type will determine whether a physical or chemical medical-grade sunscreen option is right for you, hence why you can only purchase these products under the recommendation of a licensed medical professional - because we know skin! 😉
As for me? I’ve been using the same product for the last three years - the EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46. It is my holy grail, tried and true product. I’m technically a dry skin type but also acne prone, so what I love about this product is that it acts as a moisturizer and SPF in one. I apply it on top of my daily moisturizer which leaves my skin feeling super hydrated and supple without feeling oily (this product is also oil free so it doesn’t break me out!) One of my favorite Instagram makeup artists, Katie Jane Hughes (@katiejanehughes), always stresses that good skin care is the best makeup prep and I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken! The UV Clear acts as a hydrating primer, creating a perfect base for makeup application and I love knowing that my skin is protected. I’ve also switched over to using EltaMD's body sunscreens and haven’t had a sunburn since! Of course the best sun protection is to reduce sun exposure, but for those with active lifestyles we don’t expect fear of the sun’s rays to slow you down - just make sure you’ve got a great medical-grade sunscreen on hand.
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