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The Sun and The C

  Ezyhealth Sep '03  
Exposure to ultraviolet light, UVA or UVB, from sunlight accounts for 90% of the symptoms of premature skin aging such as wrinkles and skin cancers. The most important skin-care product available to prevent wrinkles and skin cancer is sunscreen. Important factors to consider with sunscreen use are the spectrum of UV radiation absorbed, the amount of sunscreen applied and the frequency of application.

UV radiation

The sun gives off ultraviolet (UV) radiation that we divide into categories based on the wavelenght. UVC radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere and does not cause skin damage. UVB radiation affects the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, and is the primary agent responsible for sunburns. UVB does not penetrate glass, and the intensity of UVB radiation depends on the time of day and the season. UVA radiation penetrates deeper into the skin and works more efficiently. The intensity of UVA radiation is more constant than UVB without the variations during the day and throughout the year. UVA is also not filtered by glass.

Sunscreen ingredients

Sunscreens ingredients can be divided into compounds that physically block radiation or compounds that absorb radiation. The radiation blockers are very effective at reducing the exposure of the skin to both UVA and UVB ratiation. A newer formulation of micronized titanium dioxide provides excellent protection, and is not as opaque and noticeable as zinc oxide. The radiation absorbing ingredients will depend on the type of radiation the product claims to be able to absorb-UVA absorbers or UVB absorbers.

Choose the right sunscreen

The SPF measures the amount of UVB absorption, but there is no method of reporting the UVA absorption. The only way to determine if a sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB radiation is to look at the ingredients. A good broad-spectrum sunscreen should have an SPF of at least 15 and contains avobenzone, titanium diaxide, or zinc oxide.

Proper application of sunscreen

People don't put on enough sunscreen to get the SPF level of protection stated on the bottle, say New Zealand and English researches. They suggest a new way of measuring the right amount of sunscreen-spread a thickness of 2mg/cm squared per application or a simpler way is to imaginary divide your hand into nine squares and just squeeze out the sunscreen to fill up one of the nine squares. Consumers typically apply much less than this - between 0.5 and 1.5mg/cm squared, according to studies. That is only 25% to 50% of the recommended amount. If it is SPF 15 sunscreen then they'll only have protection of SPF 7, chances of getting sun burnt are more likely.

Sunscreen should be applied generously enough to all sun-exposed areas that it forms a film when initially applies. It takes 20-30 minutes for sunscreen to be absorbed by the skin, so it should be applied at least a half an hour before going out in the sun. Sunscreen should also be the last product applied especially on the face since some sunscreens can break down in the presence of water contained in water-based foundations and moisturizers. Then it also needs to be reapplied after swimming, excessive sweating, or towelling. The daily use of a low-SPF sunscreen (15) has been shown to be more effective in preventing skin damage than the intermittent use of a higher spf sunscreen.

  Age-defying Sunscreens!  

Our genetic composites play a small role in skin aging as well. Our face and hands age faster than other body parts since they are constantly unprotected and exposed to environmental insults, such as the sun. Each hour spent in the sun ages your skin by four hours!

You may want to try SkinCeuticalsĀ© Topical Vitamin C, which is designed to counteract the effects of sunlight atmospheric pollutants and aging. With antioxidant properties, it helps fight free radical damage, provides ultraviolet immunosupression and provides ultraviolet photoprotection, resulting in smoother and brighter-looking skin.

Offers Ultimate UV Defense SPF 30 and Ultimate UV Defense Sport 45 (waterproof).


This broad-spectrum sunscreen offers near complete protection from UVA exposure when used with antioxidant vitamins



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