Skin Care

Do You Use Protection? Sunscreen That Is!

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This week we’ll be answering some of the most common questions that we get regarding sun protection.

 
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Chemical sunscreen uses ingredients that absorb into the skin and work by absorbing the UV rays, converting them to heat and then releases this heat back into the environment. These sunscreens tend to be thinner formulations that don’t feel as heavy on the skin but few chemicals used for sun protection provide broad spectrum protection, usually failing when it comes to UVA.

Physical sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and reflect the UV rays, these tend to be thicker formulations that can cause a white cast and need to be worked into the skin however they are the best option for full spectrum protection.

Always make sure that your sunscreen provides broad spectrum protection - it just so happens that zinc is the best broad spectrum sunscreen ingredient on the market.

 
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UVA and UVB refer to UltraViolet A & B, there’s also UVC although that isn’t talked about much. The A, the B and the C refers to the wavelengths of light. A helpful shorthand for understanding how they affect you is that the A stands for Aging, the B stands for Burning and the C stands for Cancer. It’s worth noting that this is a very basic shorthand and that all 3 wavelengths can cause all 3 kinds of damage with prolonged exposure. 

Generally the UVA is not absorbed by the Ozone Layer so most of the radiation damage we receive comes from UVA, it is not usually affected by cloud cover. UVB is mostly absorbed by the Ozone Layer and what does get through can be blocked by cloud cover so this form of UV usually affects us during direct sun exposure. UVC is almost completely absorbed by the Ozone Layer but some does get through, especially in areas with a compromised Ozone Layer such as Australia.

 
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You absolutely can! You need to be using sunscreen EVERY day.

While the cloud cover cuts out most of UVB, UVA still gets through and with prolonged exposure, you can still burn, especially if you are fair. This bigger issue with exposure on overcast days is the aging ability of the UVA on you skin. The Free Radical damage that is happening on a cellular level is causing your cells to age at a much greater rate so because you’re less likely to burn or feel the damage, it’s super important to get into the habit of wearing sunscreen daily. A good quality Vitamin C Serum is also a great idea from the age of about 20 to help support your SPF by being a powerful antioxidant the directly fight the free radical damage caused by UV exposure.

 
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SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and that is your baseline burn rate based on your own skin. For example, if you burn after 20 minutes of exposure that’s your natural SPF rate.

SPF ratings on products refer to the fraction of sunburn-producing UV rays that reach the skin. In this example a product with an SPF of 20 will mean that 1/20 of the burning radiation will reach your skin provided that you have applied you product correctly (and we will get to application shortly). This means that it will take 20 times longer for you to burn so proper application of a sunscreen with an SPF of 20 will give you 400 minutes or about 6.5 hours of protection before you will burn. Most sunscreens will require you to re-apply every 2 hours or more frequently depending on your activity level but once you have reached 6.5 hours you will begin to burn no matter how much sunscreen you reapply.

This fraction also refers to the percentage of UV that is blocked. An SPF of 20 blocks approximately 94% of UV, an SPF of 30 blocks approximately 96% of UV and an SPF of 50 blocks approximately 98% of UV so you can see that once you hit 30, the difference is much smaller so our advice is to find a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 20 that you like to wear daily, and stick with it. If you are outdoors, we recommend upping that to at least a 30 as well as wearing a hat.

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You should apply sunscreen about 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours or more frequently if sweating or swimming. Sunscreen are tested for effectiveness at 2mg per centimeter of skin. What does that mean? The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that an adult uses an ounce of sunscreen for a full body application. The Cancer Council of Australia says that’s approximately ½ a teaspoon for face, head and neck, same for each arm and same for each other section too. If you think that sounds like a lot, it’s actually because at a lower rate than this, sunscreen protection is spotty and doesn’t provide consistent protection. If your current sunscreen is too greasy or white or too expensive to apply at this rate then we suggest you find another sunscreen that you like or can at least tolerate the dry down, smell and feel of so that you can use it daily at the right amount to protect your skin. Most people tend to apply about ½ (or less!) of the correct amount meaning that they get less than ½ of the protection listed on the label.

Remember though, once you have hit your maximum protection (SPF x your natural burn rate) you will burn no matter how much sunscreen you re-apply.


Check out Spa Sophia’s picks for this Summer available now at Spa Sophia…

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  1. TiZo Fusion Sheer Botanicals Non-Tinted SPF 45 $41.00

  2. Epicuren Discovery X-Tream Cream SPF 45 $43.00

  3. TiZo Fusion TiZo2 Primer/Sunscreen Non-Tinted SPF 40 $41.00

  4. Epicuren Discovery Zinc Oxide Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 27 $43.00

  5. Epicuren Discovery Active Sport Treat SPF 30+ $35.50

  6. TiZo Fusion Ultra Zinc Tinted SPF 40 $41.00

  7. ISUN Antioxidant Sun Butter SPF 27 $40.00

Jojoba - The Everything, Everyone Oil We Love

It has been a cold February and one of the wettest Winters we’ve experienced in recent years in Venice but is is starting to warm again and Spring is upon us.

Now that Winter is almost in the rear view mirror and Summer is fast approaching it’s time to get your skin glowing again!

One of our favorite glow makers is Jojoba Oil. If you haven’t been introduced to Jojoba yet, allow me…

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The Jojoba shrub is native to Southern California, Southern Arizona and North-Western Mexico and has long been used by indigenous peoples as a treatment for wounds and bruises.

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The substance commonly referred to as Jojoba oil is technically a wax which is liquid at room temperature and is incredibly similar to your skin’s own natural oil, sebum making it a fantastic oil for all skin types, from oily to dry.

It is rich in Vitamin E, renowned for its tissue repairing properties as well as B Vitamins. Jojoba is also antimicrobial and antibacterial specifically the P-Acnes bacteria making an excellent oil for acne prone skin.

So I bet you’re wondering how to use Jojoba? I say everywhere but let me give you a few specifics.

Makeup Remover & Cleanser

Oils make excellent cleansers and makeup removers and Jojoba is no different. Working on the principle of like attracts like - oils bind to oils, breaking down the oils in products such as makeup and sunscreen and the generally greasy, pollution. If you’re experiencing excess oil then this is one of the best ways to thoroughly cleanse your skin without stripping or compromising your acid mantle - the film on the surface of your skin responsible for its primary barrier function, an acidic environment that kills bacteria and keeps your skin smooth and happy. Use a hot washcloth to remove the oil then follow with a mild cleanser for a perfectly gentle yet exceptionally thorough cleanse.

Face Massage

While cleansing your skin, take a few minutes to incorporate some massage. Massage is a wonderful way to tone, lift and contour the muscles in your face, giving a natural lift and radiance. At Spa Sophia, we love our Aquarian Soul Gua Sha and crystal face rollers for this. Check out our Instagram feed for a basic tutorial to get you started.

Aquarian Soul Face Rollers $30 - $40

Aquarian Soul Face Rollers $30 - $40

Aquarian Soul Gua Sha $20

Aquarian Soul Gua Sha $20

Face Moisturizer

Oils make beautiful moisturizers especially Jojoba. Suitable for for all skin types, jojoba will mimic your own sebum or Natural Moisture Factor helping to signal to your skin to produce less oil. If your acneic, using Jojoba will help control the bacteria, sooth your skin, reduce oil production and heal acne lesions so please don’t be scared to use oil. We recommend that you use oils over hydrators such as a hyaluronic acid serum to ensure proper hydration and moisturization of your skin.

Body Moisturizer

As with your face, you can certainly use Jojoba to moisturize your body, the texture absorbs rapidly leaving your skin soft and smooth without feeling greasy.

Hair Mask and Serum

Jojoba’s antibacterial properties make it a fantastic option for a hair mask and can help aid against hair loss and dandruff. The light texture makes it a wonderful choice for hair serum, I love to use the excess on my hands after moisturizing to add shine and silkiness.

The applications for Jojoba are endless, you can use it for shaving, cuticle care, minor cuts and grazes, topical dermatitis and so much more.

Our favorite Jojoba is from SōMä Botanicals, it’s cold pressed, organic and unrefined - liquid gold - and available exclusively at Spa Sophia.

SōMä Botanicals for Spa Sophia Pure Jojoba $25

SōMä Botanicals for Spa Sophia Pure Jojoba $25