Cloudy with a Chance of Wrinkles
Oct 2, 2013 - 11:52:39 AM
You may be surprised to learn that most of us do not know that sunscreen should be used 365 days a year. A nationwide online survey conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc. found that many Americans don't know that sun protection is important all year round and are unaware of the risks of sun exposure. Fully 90 percent of skin aging is caused by everyday sun exposure that occurs throughout the year, not just surfside.
"Most people do NOT get it and only put sunscreen on at the pool or on the beach," says Michele Green, MD, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
According to the survey, 38 percent of Americans say sunscreen is mainly for sunny days. However, even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can penetrate your skin and cause damage, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Since UV rays can be reflected off of water, sand, snow and concrete, the risk of sunburn is high even if you are in the shade or skiing.
Americans are also unaware that everyday sun exposure causes more than just sunburn; it also causes wrinkles and other signs of skin aging. In addition, sun exposure also contributes to pre-cancerous lesions and skin cancers including potentially fatal melanoma. "The sun causes both UVA and UVB damage to the skin and causes premature aging and wrinkling of the skin," says Green.
Omaha-Nebraska based dermatologist Joel Schlessinger MD, president of LovelySkin.com adds: "Sun causes aging by damaging DNA and the collagen. Tanning is the result of cellular damage and this leads to photoaging and eventually skin cancer. UVA exposure causes aging, while UVB can cause burning. Both cause cancer in the long run, however."
The sun doesn't discriminate and everyone is at risk. One-third of Americans believe the darker a person's skin, the less susceptible they are to sun damage, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone's skin is damaged by UV exposure. Those with lighter skin types that tend to burn easily are more at risk for developing skin cancer.
But we are not powerless when faced with the sun's powerful rays. Choose sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher that contains physical blockers such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, for example the new ZO® Medical Oclipse-C Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF50+ Primer SPF30, available through physicians only, that earned the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation.
Using a daily moisturizer that contains a high SPF can provide adequate protection, but foundation with SPF and mineral makeup alone may not be the best choice. According to Beverly Hills Dermatologist Monika Kiripolsky, "Broad-spectrum protection delivered by titanium dioxide in foundation may not be enough unless you are going to use a lot of it and reapply throughout the day. It is best to apply it over a moisturizer with SPF 15 or greater. Any SPF should be used liberally to get the stated level of protection, and unfortunately, most people tend not to use enough to get sufficient protection."
"Always remember to reapply every 2 to 3 hours and even more when in water and sweating. Lastly, do your best to avoid sunlight between the hours of 10 and 3," Schlessinger says.
-Additional reporting by Denise Mann
Wendy Lewis is President of Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd Global Aesthetics Consultancy, author of 11 books and Founder/Editor in Chief of http://www.beautyinthebag.com
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