Sunscreen Intelligence

Are you being smart about saving your skin from accelerated aging caused by UV damage from the sun? Are you getting adequate protection from skin cancer?  The savvy sunscreen user knows how to avoid the following sunscreen mistakes.  She also knows how to choose esthetically sophisticated formulas that meet the needs of her individual skin type.  Then she meticulously applies sunscreen daily to obtain maximum top performance resulting in a more youthful, glowing complexion. Don’t make these common sunscreen mistake:

1. Not consistently using your sunscreen.
The first sunscreen mistake is not wearing any. By now, we all know that spending too much time in the sun increases your risk for both skin cancer and premature aging. Sunscreen is not just something you wear at the beach.  Any time the sun is up (even on cloudy days or in winter) you are exposed to damaging ultra violet rays.  So why do people skip wearing sunscreen?  I think it’s because sunscreen does not always feel like a plus for their skin.  Some people break out from sunscreens, it can be irritating or feel heavy on the skin or make you feel hot, or if you have rosacea, it can increased redness.  Sunscreen can also be drying, pore clogging and create a dull look to the skin.  Click here for options for choosing the best sunscreen formula for your skin type.

2.  Putting too much faith in the SPF number on the bottle.
Don’t put all your confidence in the SPF (sun protection factor) number.  This number only refers to protecting your skin against the damaging UVB rays (the burning rays). There is still no number that measures UVA rays (the aging rays).  Both rays can contribute to skin cancer. Your best bet is to look for a “broad spectrum” sunscreen that handles both.  Also, the number doesn’t accurately represent how much more a lower SPF number protects over a higher SPF number.  For example if you are using an SPF 30 you are not getting twice the protection that you’d get from an SPF 15.  An SPF 50 requires quite a lot more chemicals than an SPF 30 and the protection difference is negligible.  Matter of fact, the FDA no longer allows manufacturers to claim an SPF higher than 50.  100% protection from sunscreen alone is nearly impossible. For more information on why it’s important to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen every day, click here to view Huffington Post’s latest sunscreen update.

3. Relying solely on the SPF in your makeup for protection.
A foundation/sunscreen combination seems handy, but that doesn’t mean it works. Part of the problem is quantity.  A little dab of foundation isn’t enough to give you the actual SPF listed on the bottle.  Also, makeup wears off during the day and chances are you aren’t re-applying it the way you would sunscreen. That being said,  I would still choose to use a foundation that contains SPF and apply it over my regular sunscreen/moisturizer, just to get little added protection.  You might like to try   Elizabeth Renee’s MINERAL SHEER TINT or DEMI-MATTE MINERAL SHEER TINT (both with SPF 20).  These products are light and glide on easily without looking too much like makeup.  Still, you should not think of this as a replacement for your sunscreen.

4. Not applying enough product.
When the FDA set up the SPF number they were counting on the consumer using about an ounce of protection for one application over the entire body.  For some sunscreen products that might mean a quarter of the bottle.  Most people don’t end up using anywhere near enough sunscreen to get the SPF protection listed on the bottle.  This is what we recommend for just the face.  When you get up in the morning and do your regular skin care routine use about the size of a peanut for just your face (more for the neck, arms, chest etc.).  Then go and get dressed.  Come back to the bathroom and reapply.  This is a good rule of thumb for daily application. If you are in a sun situation you need to reapply every two hours. Look for a long wearing sunscreen like ADVANCED PROTECTION SPF 30.

5. Keeping your sunscreen product too long
The active ingredients in sunscreens can deteriorate over time, which means the protection won’t be as effective. Even though the shelf life listed may be for two years, we recommend starting the summer off with a fresh bottle .  You can use up last years formula on your body if you can’t bare to get rid of it.  Make sure to toss your sunscreen after the two year expiration date printed on the bottle.  Remember, how you store your sunscreen also plays a part in the shelf life of the product.  Keeping your sunscreen in the trunk in of your car in hot weather will quickly deteriorate the product.

6. All you need is sunscreen to protect you from uneven pigmentation.

Aging skin is not just wrinkled skin.  Unwanted pigmentation makes your skin look tired and dull.  Skin changes that cause brown spots or uneven pigmentation may have occurred from past sun damage that may have happened decades ago.  For a while, much of this damage was suppressed due to the presence of the hormone estrogen.  As we age estrogen levels drop and all of a sudden those brown spots can appear. This can happen even after you’ve made the commitment to stay out of the sun.  To reduce some of this pigmentation from popping up,the estheticians at Elizabeth Renee Esthetics Skin Care Spa recommend that their clients keep their skin cool.  That is because Heat + Hormone Changes = Pigmentation.  To keep your skin cool, wear protective clothing and stay out of the sun as much as possible.

7. There is nothing you can do once the damage is done.

You can greatly improve the texture, color and condition of your skin with regular facials and smart homecare.  Start by using your sunscreen fastidiously, every day. Exfoliate regularly (your esthetician can suggest which exfoliant is right for you) to rid the skin of dull, pigmented cells.  Protect yourself from the free radical damage from the sun by incorporating powerful antioxidants into your routine (Check out Elizabeth Renee’s C & E Antioxidant Serum).  Try natural skin lighteners, and keep your skin well hydrated and nourished. For quick anti sun-damage results check out Elizabeth Renee’s Bio-Brasion Ultra Smoothing Facial treatment.

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