Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some basics about...

...good sun habits and how to have a safe behaviour regarding tanning. I know this post will not be funny but sometimes serious things need to be said too. As a scientist, I may know some interesting details you will be thrilled to learn, anyway I hope so... So on SUN EXPOSURE, here we go!

When do I have to put on a sunscreen?
I will answer all year round, an SPF 15 for winter and upgrade to SPF 30 when sunnier days are in if you leave in a city. On the land or if you spend a lot of time outside, higher SPF may be better. And check that your sunscreen provides protection against both UV types A and B (it is normally written on the front part of the bottle)

I do not understand a thing to the SPF scale...
It is a number calculated with a weird formula so it is hard to explain but the thing you have to remember is the higher the SPF, the higher the protection. Easy, hum? But do not assume that a SPF 30 provides twice as much protection as a SPF 15 that is so wrong. The protection is only a few % higher.

But I spend most of my time inside...
As many people leaving in cities and working in office but you spend sometimes outside anyway to walk to your car or your bus... You have to know too that some UV rays can pass through windows so you'd better be protected. You will not get a tan in that case but you still need a protection from the part of the UV range that cause premature aging.

I hate sunscreens! They are sticky, you can not put make up on top...
That is completely wrong, sunscreens have evolved a lot since we were children. You can find very light textures, even some that are specially designed for problematic skin and they can be used under makeup. Go have a look at your chemist or even in drugstore you will definitely find something that suits you.

It looks withe-ish when applied ! Some do and others don't. The "white" effect is due to the sun block agents in the formula. The mineral type ones which can be compared to tiny tiny little rocks are the ones who give this white colour because they are solids in a sense. Chemical sun blocks are less prone to that but on an other hand, they can be sensitizing to some skins, especially intolerant. Most sunscreen formulas contain both types of sun block agents

They prevent tanning and I want a tan!
This is an other myth. No sunscreen on Earth can totally block UV rays. There is no 100% protection. You will tan slower and safer but you will tan! If you are not able to tan with a sunscreen, not putting one on will just make you burn not tan!!! If you really want that bad a tan check sunless tanning stuffes like Xen-Tan or St Tropez or even cheaper brands like Ambre Solaire or l'Oreal.

But I have to reapply it every 2 hours, how can I do that with make up on?
Chemical sun block agents are slowly destroyed with time, but to do so they have to be exposed to a certain amount of rays or be wipped of your skin by perspiration or water. So if you do not spend much time outside, especially in winter, the sunscreen you put on in the morning will still be a lil efficient when you left in the afternoon. On the other hand, when skiing or sunbathing at the beach, reapply every 2 hours is mandatory. All the rays are emphasized by reflection on the sand, the sea or the snow.

I am
still not fully convinced? Listen, the sun is good to synthetise vitamin D but for that no need to sunbath everyday, walking outside is enough. You have to bear in mind that sun is the main factor in premature aging, it takes part to 70% of it, way before genetics for instance. And if you are still doubtful, check "skin cancer" on Google Images, I hope it will prevent you from sunbathing with just monoï. And do not think it is too late to start protecting your skin it is never too late.

To sum up, you can find hundreds moisturizers with an added sunscreen around SPF15 on the market. They are great for winter but maybe a lil low for summer. Some foundations also provide an extra-protection which is cool. For summer, a real sunscreen lotion or a high SPF make up base (MAC, MUFE...) will be a good alternative.

In winter, I do wear a SPF 15 make up base from Stila (which I need to change as the brand is not sold anymore here) under my foundation and when sunny days are here, I switched to my beloved Avene sunscreen I will review soon.
A last trick, do not spare on sunscreen you have to apply a good amount of it to make it work.

So what are your sunscreen habits?

See ya :)


Lullaby77 said...

Very very very interesting. I have sun allergy so I have to protect my skin, especially in the Summer. I wear foundations and/or daycreams all year round when I'm working. During the holiday I go up to SPF 50+!
I have a MUFE SPF 50+ primer to put under my makeup and I know that the Shiseido 50+ face lotion is a great primer and mattifier, so no reason to skip that!
By the way, my favourite brands are LRP and Bioderma, but I have a questions regarding this. I have read that some brands/products have SPF that are not photostable and so are useless. What do you say?

Une fille Lambda said...

@Lullaby77: Good sun habits hon. I am proud of you :)))

The photostability question is weird to me. I try to explain. The SPF is determined by irradying skin or a plate with specific rays for a known period of time so they are stable for at last this time period and way more for good sunscreen. Many of them are tested for 2 hours.

On an other hand chemical sunblock agents are known to be destroyed by UV rays in a while so formula can not be fully photostable. No sunscreens (except maybe 100% mineral one) are really photostable in a sense. See what I mean?

Anonymous said...

I agree, agree, agree... and would be very interesting to know what products you use.

Une fille Lambda said...

@Caroleen D: welcome here!
Will do a review soon on my beloved sunscreen so stay tune ^^ And thanks for your appreciation on my post :)

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