Tag Archives: sun damage

tanning, sunscreen, sun safety

Tanning and Sunscreen: The Beach Holiday Conundrum

 

tanning, sunscreen, sun safety

Baby A Embodying the No Tan Movement

It’s March break time- the time of year us #WearetheNorth Northerners head south if we can. We get one question from many of our Sun Whip Worshippers this time of year.  It’s often whispered to us in hushed yet slightly hopeful tones, “Will I tan through this sunscreen?”

It’s a conundrum we understand.  On the one hand, a tan has been the symbol of a holiday well-spent since the emergence of the Coppertone Baby.  It’s the standard compliment you receive on your return home.  A tan equals a “Oohh, don’t you look relaxed.” Even I’ve been susceptible to it (even while working here!), I used to just want to get a ‘hint of colour’.

However, the change happened for me when I hit my thirties.  All of a sudden, the adage that any kind of tan means sun damage resonated when I would look in my magnifying mirror, fully lit after getting a vacation ‘glow’.  It’s true- from a foot away, I looked bronzed.  From the unrelenting gaze though of my self-inflicted torture device, I was a dehydrated mess.  All the work that I had done throughout the year in terms of anti-aging and hydration felt undone by two weeks away of mediocre sun safety.

This brings us back to the question of whether you can tan through our Sun Whips.  The short answer is ‘it depends’.  I’m of mixed heritage, Type 3- I can tan fairly easily with olive undertones.  After two weeks in full Caribbean sun, if I apply our Every Morning Sun Whip SPF 25 first thing in the morning and then don’t reapply and/or use any other sun safety measures like hats, clothing, sunglasses and seeking shade- I can get a tan with it.  I won’t burn but I can get a light tan.  I’m going to be clear though and just say it- don’t do it!  We advocate for a NO TAN policy.  That means I re-apply my Sun Whips regularly, I wear large broad rimmed hats (they are very fashionable, I swear!), and I seek shade when I can.  This means that I don’t have to play catch up with my skincare routine when I get home and I feel like I’m keeping those pesky signs of aging at bay.

tanning, sun safety, sunscreen

Me and Baby A Rocking the Sun Protected Look While in Sunny California

It’s a hard stance to swallow and I’m sorry for that.  Even my husband still grumbles about being ‘pale’.  When I first met him, he’d spray himself with an oil that smelled like a pina colada.  I have an easier time putting sunscreen on our 1.5 year old.  There is good news though, especially for women.  There are some tricks and tips to getting a glowing look without the sun damage.

  1. Dewy Skin and Strobing

I love the way both our Sun Whips make your skin look.  I have combination skin and find that I can control how dewy I’d like to look after applying them based on my make-up.  Very often, I’ll use my jane iredale BB cream under my eyes and around my nose and then quickly blend with my powder over top focusing on my t-zone.  It gives me the right amount of sheen without looking oily or greasy.  If you prefer fully matte skin then you can just apply more powder.  I then use a highlighting stick (I like Ilia’s) on my orbital bone, the inner corner of my eyes and my cupid’s bow of my lips.  I prefer a pink blush on my cheeks but you could certainly apply a bronzer.  I prefer to forgo too heavy a contouring- I find it can look a little muddy if excessive.   But presto! You have luminous, even toned skin…let the compliments begin!

2. Bronzed body

A little highlighter can go a long way on your body as well.  I like jane iredale’s Golden Shimmer applied over top of a Sun Whip for during the day.  At night, you can take any nice quality carrier oil and mix in some 24 carat dust (by jane iredale again) or mix in your favourite bronzer.  The oil gives your legs and arms a pretty glimmer.

3. Self-Tanning Lotion

I’ve honestly given up my self-tanners for the most part.  I had one applied for my wedding and was happy with the results. I just find that I don’t have the time. I’m also a perfectionist so even if 99% of the application is spot on, I’ll always focus on the one dot where it doesn’t look seamless.  Having said that, I know some pros who can apply it swiftly without issue and love them to death.

I challenge you on your next holiday to refresh your thinking about tanning.  It’s true the Customs Agent might not believe you were on a beach when you’re coming back home but they might not also believe your true age either while you are redefining what it means to #beageless.

jennifer aniston, sun damage, wrinkles, bad skin

A Timeline for Sun Damage

How does the Sun really damage our skin on a cell by cell basis over time

So we have all witnessed the casual creep of an emerging sun burn. I once realized that I had

jennifer aniston, sun damage, wrinkles, bad skin

Some Tell Tale Signs of Sun Damage

missed a hand shaped section on my back when a wicked burn emerged several hours later and I bore the mark of a tanned handprint for a month later. So we all know the general gist of how it works- we expose ourselves to sunlight and if not properly protected- we get sunburnt or perhaps a perceived lovely glow. In the back of our minds, we know that perceived glow might turn on us. We can spot sun damage with its entailed leathery texture of skin, pigmentation, freckles (yes that is sun damage, no you are not born with them) wrinkles and laxity. However, what damage is done in the moment and immediately after. How is the trauma inflicted? For those who are curious, here is a timeline for sun damage beginning with the first part in this series- the sunburn.

 

Moment 0: Vasodilation

Imagine a pure and perfect length of unprotected naked skin, while the first few rays of sunlight reach out and touch it. It’s a fantastic sensation for many but the pleasure hides the unseen assault that is happening.

Of the UV light that is not absorbed by the ozone layer, 5% of it is UVB- the burning rays. Think of UVB as being the heavy weight brute of the UV family. They pack a heavy punch that cause an immediate reaction. Immediately, the UV light triggers vasodilation, meaning a surge of blood rushes to the skin. This explains why you see an immediate reddening of the skin. However, this merely a first glance of what is to come as the more pronounced erythema (skin reddening) will appear 1 hour later and then peak between 24-48 hours.

If the skin is truly naked and without any form of protection, then the other 95% of UV light in the form of UVA will begin its more insidious invasion. Studies have shown that UVA also has an effect on vasodilation- however, it’s effect tends to peak after 72 hours. If you find your sunburn peaking or continuing substantially 3 days after exposure, it might be a good indicator that you were unprotected against UVA light in addition to UVB. This very often happens during those cloudy days where you receive the unexpected worst sunburn of your life.

Multiple studies have been conducted to find ways to mediate UVB and UVA caused erythema. Aspirin due to its possible inhibition of a fatty acid called prostaglandin showed the best improvement for UVB caused erythema. It did not show the same improvement for UVA caused erythema- leading researches to conclude that a different physiological effect was occurring with UVA based vasodilation.

Other research also showed that the DNA of skin cells are one of the main targets of UVB light.

DNA, target, UV damage,

UV Light Goes Straight for Your Skin’s DNA. Bulls-eye!

In other words, DNA are like sponges that soak up UV light, which causes a multitude of issues. DNA’s exposure to UV light immediately coincides with the production of a DNA repair enzyme that leads to a reduction in erythema. This means that from Moment 0 of UV exposure- an intricate anti-inflammatory response is triggered as the body fights to repair itself.

There is an upside to sunburn, as unpleasant as it sounds- you can consider it an undeniable warning sign that you should get out of the sun.  The issue with many high SPF sunscreens is that they mute that early detection system but do not necessarily follow up with the requisite UVA protection to keep other forms of skin damage at bay.

Something to think about until next time when we explore the physiological response within your skin as sun damage progresses.