There is No Such Thing as a Healthy Tan
It may feel wonderful to be basking out in the warm sunshine and clients often say that they look “healthier” with a tan. But unfortunately, there is no such thing as a healthy tan. Any tan or change in your skin colour signifies sun damage. Clients may think freckles are cute but they inevitably get larger and merge together and turn into liver or age spots. Tanning beds are also not recommended. Remember, tanning is a sure way to prematurely age your skin. Think ahead and prevent sun-damage.
UVB Protection (Sunscreens)
The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a measure of protection against UVB rays. The sun screens that cause the most allergies or reactions tend to be the ones that block the UVB rays. It is recommended to use an SPF of at least 30 and to make it a habit like brushing your teeth. Higher SPF protection can be used but many people may be sensitive to certain brands due to the higher concentration of chemicals.
UVA Protection (Sunblocks)
UVA rays are also harmful but we currently don’t have a good way of measuring and quantifying them. UVA protection is also termed physical blockers to the sun. For patients with sunscreen allergies, a good option is the physical blockers which are zinc oxide and titanium oxide. These don’t penetrate beyond the surface of the skin and are non-toxic. The new micronized forms no longer leave a white colour on the skin like they used to in the past. These physical blockers are broad-spectrum UV filters.
The first step is to limit direct sun exposure. Do not stay in the sun with unprotected skin. Stay in shaded areas if possible and wear a broad-brimmed hat and clothing that covers the skin. Avoid being out during the prime times when the sun is very intense such as between 11am and 2pm. Clients should speak to their doctor about taking Vitamin D supplements if they are rarely exposed to the sun.
Identify Risk Factors for Skin Cancer
Clients need to recognize if they are at higher risk of skin cancer. Having very fair skin, burning easily, a history of prolonged or repeated sun exposure or sun burns in the past, put clients at higher risk. Also, having had a previous skin cancer or having a family member with skin cancer, is also a greater risk. Extra care and strict sun precautions are then recommended. Moles, lesions or sun spots that are changing or are new, need to be checked for potential early skin cancers. Any moles that are abnormal in appearance, irregular in shape, border, or colour, should be checked as well. Also, beware of non-healing or bleeding lesions, crusty or rough scaly patches, especially in sun-exposed areas. These may be signs of Actinic Keratosis, which potentially may lead to skin cancers.
Protect Our Children: Avoid Sun Damage
Our children are precious. Please protect children against the harmful rays of the sun. Apply strict sun precaution with children, especially if they are under one year of age. Many skin cancers are caused by sun burns in early childhood. Sun damage is preventable.
At Glow Medi Spa, we carry a wide variety of medical grade sun-blocks with both UVB and UVA protection. We select sun-blocks that are effective yet will not clog the pores and cause break-outs. The protective ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide tend to be in higher concentration in medical-grade brands than in over-the-counter products. Furthermore, compliance is more likely since they do not feel overly heavy nor have an unpleasant odour like most other sunscreens. Compliance is crucial to effective sun-protection. We will provide a no-charge consultation to ensure that you choose a sunscreen that is best suited for your skin.
Also at Glow Medi Spa, we carry a wide variety of fashionable sunhats with UPF 50. This protection factor of 50 means that only 1/50th of the sun’s harmful rays get through these broad-brimmed hats. They are very light, airy, and non-crushable so they can be rolled up and taken anywhere easily, in your suitcase or in your handbag. They are not waterproof but the benefit is that they are not hot and heavy.
What’s the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
UVA Rays: Think of “A” for “Aging”. These rays:
- can pass through glass (office and cars)
- are not affected by weather or altitude, so still harmful in the fall and winter
- are present all day every day of the year
- penetrate deep into the skin layers
- are 20 times more abundant than UVB rays
- affect long-term skin damage
- protection needs to be a physical block, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and/or a hat
UVB Rays: Think of “B” for Burning”. These rays:
- cause sunburns and tanning
- vary with seasons (stronger in the summer)
- more intense at high altitudes and near equator
- SPF (Sun Protection Factor) only shows the level of protection from UVB rays, not UVA
- are related to 90% of non-melanoma skin cancer
- are related to cataracts
Come in for a complimentary consultation and see what a positive difference sun protection can make for you.