Author: Evgeniya Shelemba, Dermatologist M.D.,
Canadian Medical Center
It is a well-known fact, that sunlight causes acute and long-term adverse effects, including photoaging and skin cancer. The side effects of sunbathing have been so widely discussed in social media, that many people start feeling uncomfortable in the sun while being lost in a vast variety of sun protective products.
So, let’s overview some traditional as well as newest methods of skin protection from UV radiation and go over some tips to optimize compliance with sun protection techniques.
Photoprotection should be a complex set of measures.
First and most important, is to cover up your skin with special clothes and hats, especially during hours when sun is most strong (from 11 to 15 p.m.) When choosing your sun wardrobe, you should pay attention to the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating, which is like SPF. The higher the UPF number, the greater degree of UV protection a garment offers. Clothing that does the best job carries UPF rating from 15 (good) to 50+ (excellent). When I go out in the sun, I usually wear a denim shirt from a densely woven fabric and a densely woven hat with a brim which is at least 7 cm wide to provide a proper shading for my face.
In addition to wide‐brimmed hats and photoprotective clothing, sunglasses also protect eyes and eyelids from UV light, preventing the development of various ocular disorders. Sunglass lenses should fit close to the face, not touch the eyelashes, hug the temples, and merge into broad temple arms. Darker lenses do not necessarily filter more UV light and can trigger pupillary dilation which allows unfiltered wavelengths of UV and visible light to reach the retina. Orange and yellow lenses provide the best protection from both UV and visible light, with blue and purple lenses providing insufficient protection.
Second and most common way of sun protection are sunscreen creams. Today, most sunscreens are composed of combinations of organic chemicals to absorb UV light (padimate, oxybenzone), inorganic chemicals to filter and reflect UV light as a mirror (titanium dioxide, zinc oxide), and newer organic particles to both absorb and reflect UV light (Parsol, Tinosorb, Uvinul).
Unfortunately, these products cause most resistance to use in everyday skincare routine, because, according to some feedbacks from patients, SPF creams “cause breakouts, make skin greasy, shiny and don’t let make up apply smoothly”. Still, I insist on using sunscreens on a daily basis, because they are one of the most important antiaging tools.
Here are some tips on how to make sunscreens work in your everyday life. Use sunblock cream as a primer – some of them can be a great base for makeup. Apply your skincare products in layers and take your time.
General recommendation is to use 2 mg of sun protection cream per squared cm of sun-exposed skin. It is approximately a teaspoon (not less!) of a product that should be spread over your face, neck and around eyes. Apply sunblock as a medicine – don’t mix it with other products, such as moisturizer or foundation and don’t be misguided that foundation, BB cream or powder with SPF will provide you with a proper sun protection – these products can be used additionally to sunblock. And it is better to use a tinted sunscreen, then to rely on tinted moisturizer or BB cream as on a sunscreen.
One more common question: cream with which SPF should I use? It is generally recommended to use SPF that generally carries an SPF of at least 30. So does that mean that SPF 60 is twice as protective or lasts twice as long? No, because an SPF of 30, when applied in the appropriate amount, will block out around 97% of the UVB rays from the sun and as you go up from there, you see a very small difference (about 98% with SPF 50 and still under 99% with SPF 75).
There is no way to block out 100% of sun rays with sunscreen, but luckily, researchers have come up with a natural oral supplement that can be an additional measure for protecting skin from the harmful effects of sun exposure. Polypodium leucotomas is a South American species of fern and growing evidence indicates that oral administration of P. leucotomos extract in capsules twice daily can provide effective protection against solar UV radiation. These beneficial effects have been attributed to potent antioxidants, such as coumaric, vanillic, caffeic and ferulic acids that decrease damage by DNA by sunlight.
Antioxidants can be applied directly to the skin. In our clinic, we offer a wide range of procedures, such as mesotherapy and biorevitalisation, which is putting complexes of vitamins, plant extracts, amino acids in the deeper layers of skin, to slow down the photo ageing. And the existing hyperpigmentation can be removed with peelings and laser technologies.