How to Protect Your Skin, Sunscreen and Beyond
In honor of American Academy of Dermatology’s (AAD) National Healthy Skin Month in November, Flora S. Kim, MD, FAAD, Preventive and Cosmetic Dermatologist at Cooper Clinic shares how to maintain healthy skin. Most people know that the AAD recommends a daily use of SPF 30, but what else can we do protect our skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun?
Dr. Kim recommends using an antioxidant serum. This is an extra step that you can easily add to your morning regime to give your skin extra protection. “Sunscreens are a great first line of defense, but they are imperfect—UV rays are going to get to your skin,” Dr. Kim said.
Sunscreens block the UV rays, while the antioxidant serum neutralizes the free radicals that are formed to add another level of protection. Like Dr. Kim said, the serum is a great second line of defense, but not a replacement for sunscreen. Even in the winter it is important to protect your skin.
Which serums do you recommend? Every product is different for every skin type. What works for your best friend, will not necessarily work for you. Cooper Clinic Dermatology recommends SkinCeuticals® products and the NEOCUTIS RéACTIVE Anti-oxidant Serum. Depending on the serum, Dr. Kim recommends you wash your face, apply the serum, apply a daily moisturizer, sunscreen and then makeup (if you wear it).
As an analogy Dr. Kim compared our skin to a banana. “It’s oxygen that makes us age. It’s like opening a banana—at first it’s white and pure and over time it starts to form dark spots. In essence, that’s what’s happening to our skin over decades. UV rays trigger the aging process.”
What if I use a moisturizer or makeup with SPF?
Moisturizer with SPF is better than not using any at all, but if you have the time it’s better to wear a dedicated sunscreen. The SPF is diluted in the moisturizer. Even if it is an SPF 30, you probably won’t actually receive SPF 30 because you aren’t putting enough on.
The most important thing with sunscreens is to reapply—after two hours it’s probably already gone. Sunscreen is wiped off, sweated off and isn’t always applied evenly.
Realistically, women are not going to reapply their sunscreen lotion over their makeup throughout the day. It’s not feasible to take off make up, apply sunscreen and reapply make up.
For extra protection use a sunscreen powder. Colorescience® and Jane Iredale® sell make up with sunscreen or loose powder (color or sheer) with SPF 30, which is approved by Skin Cancer Foundation. The powder is very easy to reapply and will not mess up your makeup.
What are other alternatives?
If you don’t want to use the traditional lotion sunscreen, there are many other options. It also comes in foams, gels, sprays, and powders. Did you know clothes are a form of SPF? There are now laundry detergents you can add to your washing machine to add extra protection to your clothes.
Invest in your health. It’s so much easier to prevent aging—once you have the wrinkles and the dark brown spots, we have techniques to help. Add a serum of a loose powder to your daily routine to give your skin a second line of defense.