sun protection

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

Skincare in Your 20s

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A good skin care routine requires a little bit of discipline, but most of all: educating yourself. Luckily Spa Sophia is here to help you with that. Skin care in your 20s shouldn't be the same as skin care in your 50s. So what is the best skin care routine for each age group? We'll tell you! Starting with skin care in your 20s...

Skincare in Your 20s Should Be About Prevention

In your 20s skin care should mostly center on prevention, so you won't have to correct damage caused by your habits later on. That means no smoking and applying lots of sunscreen. Smoking decreases the body's ability to produce collagen, which leads to premature wrinkling. Read more about collagen here.

We hope we don't have to elaborate on the importance of sunscreen, but if we do, read this article. Get a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and make sure it's broad spectrum. Then apply it every day. Even when it's overcast. Even when it rains. Epicuren's X-treme Cream Propolis Sunscreen SPF 45+ or Jurlique's Sun Lotion SPF30 are great options. Adopting these habits only will already make you 10 times less wrinkly in the future.

twenties skin care 20sAntioxidants

Antioxidants are part of the skin aging prevention plan, since they protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that can inhibit your body's ability to produce healthy skin cells as well as cause many other health issues. Free radicals are all around us in things like gasses, radiation (such as UV) and food. Antioxidants battle these free radicals, so invest in skin creams rich in vitamins and antioxidants. We recommend Epicurens Cxc Vitamin X Complex. For more recommendations on antioxidant skin care products as well as information about free radicals, read this article.

Cleanse

In your twenties there's lots of partying, we get it. That's why a very important part of skin care in your 20's should be cleansing. Wash your face every morning and every night. Gentle, fragrance free cleansers or face washes are the best, especially if they're also moisturizing. We recommend Jurlique's Soothing Foaming Cleanser or Epicuren's Apricot Cream Cleanser. And no matter what you do, never go to sleep with make-up on, ever. Your skin does most of its restoring at night.

Exfoliate & Peel

Exfoliating your skin once to twice a week is a great thing to do for skincare in your 20s. It keeps your skin soft and evens out your complexion. See our personal favorite exfoliating products here. If you suffer from severe breakouts or acne, consider a chemical peel, also known as a face peel. They are deeper than regular peels or scrubs and book great results. For more information on peels go here.

No Hardcore Anti-Aging Products

Products that promise to increase cell turnover, collagen production or elasticity are not necessary for skincare in your 20s. Not even those with anti aging ingredients that actually work. You already have great cell turnover and collagen production. On top of that anti aging products are expensive, and in your 20s could do more damage than good. They can cause irritation, inflammation, and a thinning of the skin. The latter will actually make your skin age faster, since it becomes more susceptible to UV radiation.

Those are our recommendation for a skin care routine in your 20s. Want to know what to do in your 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s? Keep an eye on this website! And no matter what age, facials are always great for your skin. Book one now, or make an appointment by calling (310) 564 6676 or emailing us.

4 Anti-Aging Ingredients That Really Work

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Anti-aging creams are plentiful, but sadly not many of them have been proven to cause any long term effects. We have seen first-hand the miracles of a good facial and skin care regimen though, and want to help you find products with anti-aging ingredients that work. So before you buy any more expensive anti-aging creams, read about our 4 anti-aging ingredients that work, really!

1. Retinoids

We've already gone in depth about retinoids in one of our previous posts, because retinoids are one of the few anti-aging ingredients that work according to scientific research. Retinoids increase collagen production and cell turnover and unclogs pores, which gives you a plump skin that is smoother and brighter.

What to Buy

Prescription retinoids are the most effective, but derivatives such as Retinol, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro and Renova also work, just more slowly. Anti-aging creams with these ingredients may take up to 12 weeks to show results. One of Spa Sophia's favorites is Epicuren's Retinol Complex, you can buy it at our web store or at the spa. If you decide to start with retinoids allow your skin to adjust though, as retinoids can dry out skin and cause irritation. Last but not least, don't layer retinoids with benzoyl peroxide or alpha hydroxy acids because they will cancel out the effects.

2. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA's)

Alpha Hydroxy Acids are natural acids found in fruits and dairy. They work as an exfoiliant by dissolving the glue that holds dead skin cells together, exposing new, fresh skin. This leads to decreased skin discoloration, smoother skin and smaller looking pores. Repeated peels can even improve skin structure. That's why Spa Sophia offers a Facial Peel, and also includes peels in many  facials. You can even buy a Facial Peel package for repeated peels.

What to Buy

The AHA anti-aging ingredients that work are usually listed as glycolic, malic, citric or lactic acids. Our favorites are Epicuren's Clear Glycolic Face Peel 5%Glycolic Lotion Face Peel 10%, Glycolic Lotion Face Peel 5% and Pumpkin Apple Spice Peel.  Do a peel once to twice a week, depending on how sensitive your skin is. Don't buy cleansers with AHA's though. The acids won't be on your skin long enough for a peel to have effect.

3. Anti-Oxidants

Anti-Oxidants don't really remedy aging skin so much as they prevent skin from aging. Anti-oxidants protect your body from free radicals: molecules that cause cell damage and aging. For more in-depth information on what anti-oxidants are and how they work, check our article on Anti-Axodiants.

What To Buy

Vitamin C, green tea, vitamin E, ferulic acid, phloretin and coenzyme Q10 (sometimes listed at CoQ10) are a few powerful anti-oxidants. In terms of products, Spa Sophia recommends Hylunia's Anti-Oxidant Vitamin Mask and Ultimate Anti-Oxidant. The best way to go about including anti-oxidants in your skin care regimen is to just use a combination of different ones. You can also get anti-oxidants through your dieat by eating fruits and vegetables. Make sure you store your anti-oxidant products in a dark, cool place, because warmth and sunlight can make them decay.

4. Sunscreen

More than 90 percent of wrinkles, dark spots and loss of skin elasticity is caused by sun exposure. We've already gone in depth about the do's and don'ts of sunscreen in our Sunscreen & Sunblock article but we can't emphasize it enough: Wear sunscreen. It's one of the best anti-aging ingredients that work. Sunscreen won't repair aging skin but it will stop your skin from aging, or prevent aging altogether.

What To Buy

Get either a sunblock or broad spectrum sunscreen, and put it on every day before you step outside. Get one with a minimum SPF of 30, and realize that make-up or lotions with sunscreen in them are usually not strong enough. If you spend the day outside, re-apply your sunscreen every hour. Check out Spa Sophia's recommended sun protection products here.

These are the anti-aging ingredients that work according to science thus far, but that doesn't mean there aren't others out there that have potential. Epidermal Growth factor has some mixed yet positive research results, and Hyaluronic Acid has been shown to draw an amazing amount of moisture to your skin, which is always good. Also realize that while most beauty products on the market may not cause long term anti-aging benefits, they may still improve the way your skin looks and feels for the day!

Check out Spa Sophia's Facials to jumpstart your skin transformation and get a consultation on what skin products are best for you.

Everything You Should Know About Sunscreen

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Everything You Need to Know ABout Tanning & SunscreenSummer has begun! While not really all that different from other seasons here at Spa Sophia in sunny Venice Beach, California, for a lot of people summer means a change of pace. It means sunbathing, traveling and being outside. And, if you're being smart: putting on sunscreen. Because despite the many therapeutical benefits, sunlight greatly damages your skin. It enlarges your pores and leads to discoloration and deepened wrinkles. Even just one day of overexposure can greatly damage skin, as we see here under the mag lamp all the time. That's why you need to make sure you protect your skin. Since there is a lot of misinformation out there, Spa Sophia decided to help and make a list of everything you need to know about tanning and sunscreen. Read and learn...

UVA versus UVB

The first thing you need to know is that not all UV rays  are created equal. UV consists of UVA, UVB and UVC, and the difference between them is their wavelength, and how they affect your skin because of it. UVA has a long wavelength and penetrates deep into the skin, affecting pigment cells, which is what causes tanning. UVB has a shorter wavelength that only impacts the surface of your skin. UVA is the one responsible for sunburn. UVC finally has the shortest wavelength and normally is absorbed by our atmosphere, so never reaches us. Natural sunlight on earth consists of about 95% UVA and 5% UVB.

Tanning Booths Are Not Better Than Natural Sunlight

Many people think they can escape the hazards of sunlight while still getting a tan by going to a tanning booth. Unfortunately tanning booths aren't the miracle solution they promise to be though. In fact, they are even worse than the sun. Tanning booths may have less UVB -which is why you don't get sunburn- but the UVA usually is about three times as intense, causing way more skin aging and an increased chance of developing skin cancer.

What SPF Numbers in Sunscreen Mean

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and blocks UVB radiation, the kind that causes sunburn. Don't get too hung up on the numbers on sunscreen though,  they merely imply how long it would take for you to get sunburn compared to when you're not wearing any sunscreen. So an SPF of 30 means you can stay in the sun 30 times longer. That means the numbers aren't linear. An SPF of 30 doesn't provide twice the protection an SPF of 15 does. In fact, numbers higher than SPF 15 add little extra benefits. To illustrate: An SPF 15 blocks about 94% of the UVB, whereas an SPF of 45 blocks 98%.

Sunscreen vs. Sunblock

What's the difference between sunscreen and sunblock? Well, unlike sunscreen -which filters UV rays - sunblock actually blocks UV radiation from reaching your skin. Sunblock also protects against UVA, which most sunscreens don't. On top of that most sunscreens with an SPF higher than 15 contain chemicals.

Many people prefer to use sunscreen regardless, because sunblock is often thick and opaque, making it visible on skin and harder to apply. Whichever you choose, it's always better than using no sun protection. If you choose to use sunscreen and are wary of chemicals, go for a physical instead of a chemical one. Look for sunscreens with titanium and zinc oxide, those are the only non chemical active ingredients. Also make sure you choose one that is broad spectrum, meaning it also protects against UVA.

Spa Sophia carries great broad spectrum sun protection products, such as Epicuren's X-treme Cream Propolis Sunscreen SPF 45+.

When & How Often To Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen unfortunately doesn't last all day. A regular sunscreen will have worn out after 1,5 to 2 hours. If you're sweating a lot because you're working out or because of the heat, it will wear off even quicker. That's why it's recommended that you reapply your sunscreen every 1,5 to 2 hours. And if you're jumping into the pool or ocean, you'll need to reapply it every time you come out.

Things That Decrease The Effective Ingredients Of Sunscreen

Pay close attention to a sunscreen's expiration date, it really does matter. When a sunscreen expires, its active ingredients will start decreasing in effectiveness, meaning you won't have the protection you need. Other things that mess with the protective components of sunscreen are leaving the bottle open too long, as this causes bacteria to come in, and storing sunscreen in hot spaces.

The Best Way To Protect Your Skin Against Sun Damage

The best way to dramatically decrease sun damage is of course  to cover up! Wear breezy clothing that breathes and covers your skin, and buy a few hats to protect your face.  It's sun protection without the hassle. On top of that hats are easy, trendy, and provide better sun protection than any sunscreen or sunblock can offer!

Now that you're an expert on all things sunny, enjoy your summer! Want to give your skin a little boost before vacationing ? Book one of the rejuvenating facials at Spa Sophia online or by calling us at (310) 564 6676.