Posts

Why layer, and does product order really matter?

Ever wonder why we layer skincare products, and whether the order of products matter?  Most of us use multiple products and steps in our skincare routine.  Growing up in Japan and watching my mother, I learned at a young age that skincare was a meticulous ritual, layer by layer in a specific order, step-by-step.  But is layering just a question of habit or preference, or, are there benefits to it?

 

LAYERING WITH PURPOSE

Layering products facilitates flexibility and allows for each product and step to maximize its purpose and the delivery of its skincare benefits, from cleansing all the way to moisturizing and nourishing.  There are also questions about ingredient compatibility.  There are ingredients that simply don’t go together in the same formulation.  Some ingredients are water-soluble, others are fat soluble. Certain active ingredients may work best in certain types of formulations, while others would not.  Applying a multitude of actives can benefit our skin, but trying to pack them all into one single lotion might compromise the long-term stability of the formulation.   This is where it makes sense to layer separate products.  Certain targeted ingredients especially, should only be applied where needed, either because it would be a waste otherwise, or worse, because it might irritate skin unnecessarily.  Most of us to a greater or lesser degree have combination skin with some areas drier or oilier than others, some areas more than others prone to break-outs, age spots, sensitivities and wrinkles, etc.etc.  Our faces are puzzles, composed of areas that often have a life of their own.  Layering products allows us to give all puzzle pieces the right TLC.

 

WHY PRODUCT ORDER MATTERS

As a general rule of thumb, lighter texture products should be applied before heavier products, humectants (water binding ingredients) before an occlusive (“sealants” like oils, butters, creams, ointments) to allow for maximum results and benefits. This is not to say that skin would reap zero benefits if the order was reversed, but the effect would be slower and weaker.  Scroll down for recommended order in more detail.

 

WHY CHOOSE A SYSTEM

A lot of the guesswork can be taken out of layering and product order by choosing a core skincare system by one brand.  We’re talking daily staples like cleanser, toner, moisturizer, etc.  Most skincare systems are designed and formulated to ensure ingredient compatibility, overall efficacy and layering safety within the same system.  This is not to say that you should never mix & match from different brands. Especially when it comes to items like masks and exfoliators which fall outside of your daily system, it can be nice way to personalize your program.  Respect your skin’s balance and unique needs, read up on ingredients, plus good old trial & error, and you’ll be layering like a pro in no time!

 

STEP 1 (AM & PM):  

Make-up remover & Cleanser

If you wear make up, the first step is to remove make-up and cleanse skin with a gentle cleanser.  Thorough but non-stripping is key, no matter what your skin type.  If you use a separate oil or oil-based make-up remover, be sure to wipe and wash off any excess residue that could interfere with the treatment steps that follow.

 

STEP 2 (AM or PM, weekly or monthly depending on skin type and product): 

Exfoliator

Whether it’s a classic scrub, enzyme or glycolic treatment or a combination product, exfoliating should generally follow after cleansing (or coincide with it, if it is a 2-in-1 cleansing scrub).  Keep in mind that skin tends to be more sensitive after exfoliating, so you might want to avoid applying products then that might be too irritating on newly-exfoliated skin.  If you have very sensitive skin, stick to exfoliating in the evening, so you’re your skin can rest and recover overnight.

 

STEP 3 (AM & PM):  

Toner

Whether your toner is just a hydrosol mist or a hydrating treatment, it should be applied after cleansing (and exfoliating).  Especially if it’s a humectant-rich(e.g. contains hyaluronic acid), soothing toner, it will help counter the drying effects of tap water and draw hydration to skin quickly and efficiently.

 

STEP 4 (AM and/or PM, depending on skin and product):  

Break-out treatment

Anti-acne actives should be applied only to affected areas and spots, to bare skin after toning but before other products are layered on top, in order to allow full acne-fighting efficacy.  Depending on severity of break-outs, this step is often reserved for night-time only.

 

STEP 5 (AM & PM)

Anti-aging serum

Whether your serum is a gel or an oil or something in between, benefits are delivered efficiently to skin that is still relatively bare.  If you don’t have break-outs, you can skip right to your serum.  Anti-aging serums containing Retinol, should not be applied on top of anti-acne treatments, because they are too irritating together (salicylic acid) or because they deactivate each other (benzoyl peroxide).  If you are not sure, either avoid the area where you applied the anti-acne treatment, or wait until the treatment has fully absorbed before applying the serum.

 

STEP 6 (AM & PM): 

Eye cream

Eye creams are formulated specifically for the delicate eye areas to address issues like dark circles , puffiness and fine lines, as well as dryness and dehydration.

 

STEP 7 (AM & PM): 

All-over moisturizer

Depending on your skin type, your all-over moisturizer should lock in moisture or balance oil, strengthen your protective barrier and ensure continuous hydration.  You can switch the order of Step 6 & 7, and apply your moisturizer before the eye cream, however, make sure you spare the eye area.  This is because a lot of all-over moisturizers are not formulated for the sensitive eye area, and also because you don’t want the moisturizer to weaken absorption of the eye cream.

 

STEP 8 (AM): 

Sunscreen

During daytime, your last step should always be an all-over, broad-spectrum sunscreen to give you that protective shield from the damaging UVA and UVB rays.  If your daytime face moisturizer contains sun protection, you can skip this step, as long as you apply it evenly all over your face and neck.  Foundation should go on top of the sunscreen, after allowing it time to set and penetrate skin.

Happy layering!

UV Radiation Primer with 6 Easy Sun Protection Tips

Is that another sunspot on my 3 year old daughter’s face?!? We put sunscreen on her face everyday, but yes, I skip a day or two when we are rushing out the door. Pool season is here, and I have been a BAD mother. I have not properly shielded her from a life of wrinkles, saggy, rough and dull skin! Another thing for her to blame me for when she becomes eighteen. Thankfully, my non-paranoid rational brain kicks in and reminds me that it never hurts to freshen up on UV radiation and how to protect oneself from the sun.

UVA/UVB Primer

Big picture reference: UV Radiation is shorter wavelength than visible light (700-400nm) in the electromagnetic (light) spectrum.

UVA I (340-400nm) and UVA II (320-340nm) together make up 95% of the UV radiation that reaches the earth’s surface, where we humans live. UVA is present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours, throughout the day, and can penetrate clouds and glass. Wait, I spend more hours in the car than I would care to discuss, and UVA penetrates glass. Plus, windows of cars do NOT have UV protective film. UVA penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB, to the dermis (skin photo-aging and wrinkles!), but does some dirty work in the epidermis layer above the dermis where it damages skin cells in the basal layer – basal, squamous, and melanocyte.

UVB (290-320nm) varies by season, location, weather, and time of day. In the northern hemisphere, significant UVB rays only make it through from about 10am to 4pm, October(ish) til March(ish), depending on what city you are in. UVB is the only ray that makes vitamin D. But to get the right amount, it has to be between those months and times on sunny days, full body exposure for about 15 minutes, depending on your skin color, age, etc. UVB tends to damage skin more superficially in the epidermis, and cause reddening and sunburn. This can be throughout the year, even with cloud cover. But bright side, UVB doesn’t really make it through glass!

Both UVA and UVB rays can have an 80% bounce rate on reflective snow, water, or ice! That’s almost double the damage! Both rays can damage and age your skin and eyes resulting in wrinkles, sagging, thinning skin, or cataracts. On the good side, both rays can be blocked or absorbed by protective clothing, hats, or the appropriate sunscreen protection, and sunglasses. We usually do these, but sometimes we forget!

Protection is Key! Make it Easy and a Habit!

  • Broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen everyday, or most days
  • Long sleeves unless it’s 90F out
  • Broad-brimmed hat when we spend time outdoors
  • But wait, I realized I had not factored in the amount of time we spend in the car. So today, I booked an appointment to get UV blocking film applied to my four door car, about $300, but lifetime warranty!
  • UV blocking Sunglasses- not the cheap kind. Get one from a reputed store. A tinted lens is not the same as a UV blocking lens.
  • And the clincher – placement of the sun accessories by the door with a mirror, especially if you have children. Visual cue to start the sun protection habit.

Do you have any additional ideas on sun protection? Please share! I need all the help I can get.

A UV primer only gets you so far. Next up, I have to dig deep and consider whether to sacrifice sun protection for Vitamin D (there’s a whole host of research on why vitamin D is great for you!) and find out more about how UV rays affect the skin and eyes. Then ingredients that block and absorb, clothing that protects – SPF and UPF…. Anything else you can think of so I can learn more to keep my daughters’ skin healthy and dewy? And mine as well!

Summer Readiness – Here We Come.

Summer is the season for sunshine!  With beaches, dining al fresco, summer fridays (read: buh-bye office walls!), and generally being outdoors, you can easily be more prepared than you realize! You’ve heard repeatedly to never leave the house without sunblock, reapply several times a day (as its effectiveness reduces with light exposure, or just from coming off from sweat/daily activities), but there’s a few extra tricks up our sleeve to keep your skin summer fresh and healthy. Being inspired by Indonesia, a tropical country with sun all year round, JUARA knows what a doozy rays near the equator, eternal sun and humidity can do, so here’s our faves to tackle common sun related skin situations!

SUNBURN RESCUE:

Oops. Didn’t we say slather up the SPF? Well, it happens to the best of us… the sunburn. Sunburns are caused when skin is overexposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays and can happen in as little as 15 minutes, but can take 2-6 hours for the symptoms to appear. Some symptoms of mild sunburn include redness and tenderness, and for that, our Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner is a great skin soothing treatment. It contains rice bran extract, which specifically reduces redness and irritation, hyaluronic acid and tamarind see extract to moisturize and cool – without oil or alcohol, and triple tea extracts packed with anti0xidants. It really is instant relief. (For serious symptoms including blistering, fever, chills and nausea, we suggest going to the doctor!)

toner

GREASE BE GONE:

Does summer weather and humidity put your skin into a tizzy? Does your skin range from “well, it’s rather shiny” to “a greasy mess?” Our Sweet Black Tea & Ginger Mattefying Moisturizer is oil-free, yet contains Kombucha, our anti-aging fermented black tea complex, plus ginger and cinnamon that reduces sebum production. This means the moisturizer does not only reduce oil-induced shine at the moment, but it also means that the more time you use it over, the less “shiny” your skin will naturally become!

Sweet Black Tea & Ginger Mattefying Moisturizer

Another anti-shine darling? Our Clove Flower & Turmeric Anti-Aging Serum. Also with our Turmeric infused Radiance Complex, this oil-free serum serves as excellent hydration with seaweed, while containing skin firming ingredients including palm peptides, clove flower, and goji berries. Like an exotic fruit cocktail for your face – just less messy, and way more immediate in its firming, skin-smoothing results!

JUARA Clove Flower & Turmeric Anti-Aging Serum

POST-SUN RESET AND REFRESH:

Once you’ve been exposed to a day of rays, it’s always good to refresh and rejuvinate your skin! Counter sun, travel, or pollution exposure with our Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask, which contains our potent Turmeric extract which neutralizes free radicals and brightens for a healthy “I am so HEALTHY!” glow. And we like to get our sexy natural radiance on – ready for the next day. This mask also contains Kaolin Clay is blended with Candlenut Oil to purify skin, absorbing impurities, while also keeping it moist and not overdried. Great for all skin types, just make sure you take it off when you leave the house because it just feels THAT GOOD on after 10 minutes! (Or just do what we do for a super treatment – apply a thin layer and leave on overnight. Wake up to the morning glow. Literally.)

 

And of course, we remind you to stay hydrated, make sure your sunglasses have a UV filter on them, try out a sun parasol if you’re feeling particularly stylish like some do in Asia, and keep smiling! Got any sun tips to share? We’d love to hear it!

You can see the JUARA products here

Say Goodbye to Oily Skin

Do you have oily skin?

Maybe you do. Or maybe you only have oiliness in your T-Zone… or your nose starts out matte and by the end of the day looks like it’s been dipped in lacquer. If you have any of these skin experiences on the regular, I feel you. But what can we do about it?

First of all, why do we get ‘oily skin’? Well, the sebaceous glands in your skin produce oil all day and all night to keep your skin nourished – that is their job. Did you know that the drier your skin is, the more oil you will produce? SO that means keeping your skin well HYDRATED is the key to stopping oily skin in its tracks. Kind of counterintuitive…

So how do I keep my skin matte and gorgeous all day long?

Excellent question. Let’s start with the basics.

Step 1. Wash Gently

A common mistake is washing your skin with a harsh cleanser at the beginning of the day in hopes that this will keep the oil at bay. It will only prompt your sebaceous glands to produce even more oil. Stick to a soap-free gentle cleanser like the JUARA Rice Facial Cleanser or some good old fashioned Coconut Oil.

Step 2. NO Alcohol

If you like using a toner, that’s fine. Just read the label carefully to ensure that your toner is alcohol-free. Not sure where to find an alcohol-free toner? Check out JUARA’s Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner.

Step 3. Spot Moisturize

If your skin is oily all over, that’s an easy fix. Follow the above rules and finish up with a mattefying moisturizer that contains humectants like hyaluronic acid to keep skin properly hydrated without adding oil, e.g. JUARA’s Sweet Black Tea & Ginger Oil-Free Moisturizer.

Things become tricky when you’re T-Zone oily or oily only on your nose and extremely dry elsewhere. If this is the case for your complexion, you’re going to need to treat your moisturizer like a spot-treatment. Use an oil-free where your skin gets slick throughout the day and use a super hydrating moisturizer (the Laurel Whole Plant Organics Facial Balm is one of my favorites for super intense moisture) on areas where skin is dry and flaky.

Step 4. CC Powder + UV is your best friend

For a flawless, matte finish, that ALSO provides sun protection that you are probably missing from your moisturizer routine finish off with a CC Powder aka Airbrush Powder aka MAGIC Powder. My favorite is the CC+ Airbrush Perfecting Powder by It Cosmetics.

 

Get your Faux-Glow on: Tips on Getting your Best Sun-Safe Tan! -Lauren Lang

(function(d, s, id) {
var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];
if (d.getElementById(id)) return;
js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;
js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1”;
fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);
}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

Safe, sun-free-tanning to a perfect glow!

Summer is here. Hooray! It’s a time when all that seems important is getting that perfect beach tan. It makes you feel great, it makes you look great, but are you being safe? Check these not-so-fun facts out:

  • Forty percent of Americans do not wear sunscreen.
  • One in five Americans will get some form of skin cancer—men especially, since they don’t use makeup and moisturizers with SPF like women do.
  • Chemical sunscreens take around 25 minutes to work, so you’re still exposed if you put it on right before running out the door. (Physical sun block formulas get to work instantly though – just make sure you don’t rub it off as they sit on the surface of your skin.)
  • About 90% of non-melanoma skin cancer is caused by ultra-violet exposure.

So, now that I’ve depressed you…let’s make you happy again! Why not give your skin a vacation from the sun and look at the advantages of using a self-tanner! If having a professionally done airbrush tan is up your alley, we recommend (in NYC) the fabulous Gotham Glow; they come to your home (how convenient!) and use safe, natural ingredients to give you not only a great glow, but can even contour abs (how awesome is that?) But if that’s not an option for you, the DIY at home self-tan is also a great alternative. Having just come to NY myself, the latter is what I’ve been doing and for years. Here are some rules for DIY awesomeness and how to avoid the blotchy/streaky look like you’ve been hit with a bottle of orange soda…

Rule #1: EXFOLIATE BEFORE TANNING. Exfoliation is the crucial part of self-tanning and something that most people ignore from the process – thus those blotchy patches are actually there because old skin has built up, creating an uneven balance for the self-tan to work. It’s a fact that self-tan applies better on fresh and revitalized skin. We recommend the JUARA Candlenut Body Polish. It contains natural shell grains which gently lift off dead surface cells and dulling debris to reveal more radiant skin, yet also gently moisturizes so skin is evenly hydrated and smooth. This is a great two-in-one special for that pre-tanning prep step. Perfect if you’re in a rush before that big night out and need a quick color fix. Another option is to use the JUARA Coffee Scrub in the shower before, then follow with a moisturizer before ‘tanning.’

Rule #2: PAY EXTRA ATTENTION TO DRY AREAS. Knees, elbows, ankles are the devil of self- tan, make sure you fully exfoliate and moisturize these problem areas for the best results.

Rule #3: MOISTURIZE AFTER TANNING. If you want to treat your body to that extra luxury after the body polish, ensure your body is silky smooth by lathering yourself with our popular Candlenut Body Creme! It also helps the tan stay on longer.

Rule #4: USE A TRUSTED PRODUCT. Do your research before you buy – find out what’s hot, what’s not and what’s the best color/brand for your skin type. Everyone’s different! Personally, I use L’Oreal Sublime and I’ve never so much as seen an uneven patch yet. (Or perhaps that’s because I fully exfoliate and moisturize before use too…) After you’ve applied it using the given directions, maintenance is what’s going to give your tan the most ‘natural’ look.

In case of a boo boo:
If you’ve made a mistake pour lemon juice onto cotton swab and dab the area. Moisturize daily and your tan could last up to a week. You can re-apply when it starts fading, as long as it doesn’t start becoming patchy. If you get a patch attack, follow the same rules as above and you’ll have a great tan again in no time!

Self-tan, when done correctly, is a great way to flaunt that ‘beach’ look with the satisfaction that your skin is protected and in the best condition it can be! And remember, we didn’t say you had to tell everyone it wasn’t real…

Easy ways to stay sun safe (from excuses we always make!) – Metta Murdaya

bad sunburn

This JUARA Girl was bad bad bad! Never do this.

Despite all we know about UV protection and taking care of your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, we all goof up and get burned. I admit, (see pic) that I did. On one vacation a while ago, I got a pretty horrific burn,  so I implore to you – don’t lose to bad judgment like I did, and fall for the (common) excuses people make to procrastinate putting on protection. Have you fallen victim or used any of these excuses? Well don’t. If a picture tells a thousand words, may the photo of me here be that one. Ouch.

“I’m only in the sun for like, 2 hours. No biggie” Wrong. I was only out in the sun for 2 hours too when I got this burn.

“It’s cloudy out.  I don’t need protection, I won’t burn.” Wrong. UV rays still pass through the atmosphere, rain or shine. Plus, burning isn’t the first sign of sun damage, it’s usually the 3-alarm fire point as the damage started much earlier.

“I already got the tan, I won’t burn.” or “My skin is darker, I won’t burn.” But you’re still getting the same amount of damage whether you burn or not! And yes, you still can burn! (Had enough of my ‘you can burn!’ jingle yet?)

“I’ll have another drink on the beach, please…” Sounds like the dream vacation, but be careful with that one – if you get burned, dehydration commonly comes with it. When you drink alcohol, you can become dehydrated and it can exacerbate the sunburn. I was at a wedding the evening before, and was dehydrated the next afternoon when I went to the beach. Plus, I was in the water for almost 2 hours – a double whammy of UV rays + dehydration seriously leaving me open to bake – an added risk for beach swimmers.

So – help yourself protect yourself. Many of us DO apply sunblock – just not enough, nor often enough. So here are some tips to keep you on your sun protection game more easily:

1. Carry a small tube of sunblock in your purse in an often visited pocket so you have no excuse not to apply, or reapply every few hours. Get a higher SPF than you think you need, because chances are, you’re not applying enough so your SPF won’t be as effective for as long as you think it is. (Ie: Too little of the SPF 50 might work more like an SPF 30… Too little SPF 15, and it might not work at all…) My personal favorite sunscreen brand: La Roche Posay. Also, they’re having a “Save our Skin” campaign, raising awareness about sun protection and reducing skin cancer here. Join the cause of SOS from La Roche-Posay, and they will make a donation, and to organizations  like the the Women’s Dermatologic Society (WDS) and The Skin Cancer Foundation, that also educate the public regarding proper sun safe behavior.

2. Wear a hat, or carry one with you when you go in the sun. Too bulky? Check these rollable visors out, poppable in your bag and they’re not cheesy! Not a replacement for sunscreen, but it’s convenient added protection with fashionable benefits.

3. For you product junkies out there, try different sunscreens that you know are good and keep them in often visited locations – and keep sampling! It makes applying sunblock fun, like you’re shopping for your favorite sunscreen! (Did I like the one in the office better, or the one at home? Hmm, need to try again, and again…) I flip between my Garnier, La Roche Posay, and ROC, compare scent, texture, feel, it’s fun.

4. Take the remembering out of reapplying – set daily alarms on your phone/blackberry/iphone for several times a day to remind you to put on sunscreen. You can get creative with your messages, “For eternal youth, reapply sunscreen NOW!” And with that tube in your bag, should be no problem. Or do it via post-it notes in places you visit often before leaving a building (medicine cabinet at home, office computer, work locker, etc.) You can also make fun notes for your friends/family that way too

5. Pass this to a friend – make a pact when with friends to commit to helping each other stay protected! When you reapply that you email/text/call them to remind them to do the same. Don’t you all want to stay youthful looking?

Note: Beachgoers need to reapply more often, especially if you go into the water. And for every colorful alcoholic drink you have, make sure to drink several glasses of water to rehydrate!

Side note: I also get asked “Do you have anything that can help my burn?”  The answer is YES – The Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner is an excellent cooling and hydrating, (oil free!) serum to soothe and calm burns). That was my savior!

Any tips you have to make staying sun-safe fun?

Sun Protection You Can Wear: Clothing – Jill Sung

This JUARA Girl’s got it covered!

What should I wear? I go through this decision process on a daily basis – and there’s no limit to how many outfit changes I can make just to go to the grocery store… But what I should be thinking, and have been more, is how much UV radiation is out there and what’s the best way to protect myself from sun damage.  (For those of you just joining this UV foray, find out more about UV rays how to check the amount you’re receiving in last month’s blogs.) Moving on, did you know that clothes offer UV protection? It’s actually pretty easy to incorporate into your daily summer wardrobe.

UPF: Ultraviolet Protection Factor: What is it?

UPF indicates how much of the sun’s UV radiation is absorbed. A fabric with a rating of 50 will allow only 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through. This means the fabric will reduce your skin’s UV radiation exposure significantly, because only 2 percent of the UV rays will get through.

What’s the UPF of my clothes?

Tightly knit/thickness: Lightweight and loosely-woven fabrics do NOT offer much protection from the sun. A white T-shirt provides only moderate protection from sunburn, with an average UPF of 6 (16% of sun’s rays pass through). On the other hand, a dark denim has about  UPF 1,700 – basically complete sun block. In general, clothing made of tightly-woven fabric best protects skin from the sun. The easiest way to check fabric protection is to hold it up to the light. If you can see through it, then UV radiation can penetrate your clothes – and your skin! And thicker fabrics such as velvet in black, blue or dark green have an approximate UPF of 50. Also, if it doesn’t cover your skin, it’s not protecting you! Long sleeves are obviously better than short sleeves…

Color: Darker-colored fabrics are more effective than lighter ones at blocking out the sun. For example, the UPF of a green cotton T-shirt is 10 versus 6 for white cotton.

Fabric Content: What the clothing is made of matters. Unbleached cotton contains lignins, special pigments that absorb UV. Shiny polyesters and even thin, satiny silk can be highly protective because they reflect radiation.

Activity: If your clothes gets stretched during activity, like yoga, the fabric will lose some of its protective ability because it becomes thinner and more transparent to light. Also, wet clothing can lose up to 50 percent of its UPF, so a wet T-shirt provides a UPF of only 3, allowing 33% of UV rays through to your skin. (Thanks to Skin Cancer Foundation for all their help!)

What other clothes protect from the sun?

Not only can you buy high-tech sun protective clothing made of special weaves with colorless dyes that provide UPF of 15-50 protection, you can actually wash sun protection into the clothes you currently own, and for cheap! $2 buys you a colorless additive, Sun Guard, that provides a UPF of 30 (blocks more than 96% of UV) to your laundry for up to 20 washings!

Next up, what else to wear…with clothing must come accessories! What else can you do? Any more fun sun facts we should share?

UV Index and Your Skin – Jill Sung

Thanks, EPA! Click on me to read this monster table

We love our skin and we want to protect it, but what’s all this stuff about UV radiation, sun protection, SPF, UVA, UVB? So many words and abbreviations, so little time. Last time, we discussed UV radiation very briefly, and then skin type and why it is important to know your type. Okay, you say, I know my Fitzpatrick skin type, what do I do now? Remember that UV radiation’s effect on your skin depends not just on your skin type, but also on the amount of sun exposure you recently received and you will receive.

How Much UV is Really Out There?

The UV Index is a nifty number created by the EPA and National Weather Service that is calculated daily (1 day prior) which indicates the strength of solar UV radiation that reaches the Earth through the protective ozone layer on a scale of 1 (low) to 11+ (very high). And conveniently, you can find your location on a map or enter your zip code/city and state to get the UV index for your location. I just checked for New York (it’s cloudy and muggy today), and our it’s a UV Index of 6/High.  So there’s one jewel of information – EVEN CLOUDY DAYS HAVE LOTS OF UV!

Tips for Skin Health related to UV Index

  • Check the UV Index daily: links to downloadable apps and facebook or bookmark the website link for UV index
  • UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m (long shadow- less exposure; short shadow/mid-day – more exposure)
  • Water, Snow and Sand (sometimes even clouds)  reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of sunburn – sometimes doubling your UV radiation exposure!
  • High elevations = more UV exposure

So add this to your list of good habits! And let me know what other helpful tips you know or do to check and deal with your daily sun exposure. Next time…what to wear! My favorite…

Your Skin and UV Rays – Jill Sung

We’re always talking about how to protect yourself from UV damage, but never about the UV itself or why. So a brief overview! (We’ll delve deeper in days to come…so please stay tuned.)

UV Primer: What is it?

Any time the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays (invisible radiation) are able to reach the earth, there is a risk for excessive sun exposure, meaning radiation that can penetrate and change the structure of your skin cells. Exposure to UV rays appears to be THE most important environmental factor in the development of skin cancer and has also been associated with various forms of eye damage, such as cataracts .  UVA and UVB have been shown to increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

There are three types of UV rays: ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC).

  • UVA: most abundant source of solar radiation at the earth’s surface, and penetrates beyond the top layer of your skin to cause damage to connective tissue
  • UVB:less abundant at the earth’s surface than UVA because a significant portion of UVB is absorbed by the ozone layer,  does not penetrate as deep into the skin as UVA does, but is still damaging
  • UVC: extremely hazardous to skin, but it is completely absorbed by the stratospheric ozone layer so does not reach earth’s surface
Know Thyself : Skin Type

UV radiation’s effect on each person depends on a few factors:

  • skin type
  • time of year
  • amount of sun exposure you’ve recently received

Your skin tone and susceptibility to burning can be checked on the classification chart to the left.  (Incidentally, this chart is also used to determine how you’ll respond to facial treatments.) But why is this important?

Why Should I Know Myself?

When UV rays start penetrating your skin,  the skin’s melanocytes kick into high gear and start producing melanin (dark pigment that gives skin its color – tan or skin tone), which results in a tan. People with fair skin, however, tend to burn, because they have fewer melanocytes and produce less melanin.

Knowing your skin tone is probably most important to help you prevent SKIN CANCER.  Skin tone types I-III (in red) have a greater risk of developing skin cancer than  types IV-VI. That means you need to do more to protect yourself. But those with darker skin tones don’t get away with it that easily either, you might be able to wear a lower SPF sunscreen, but no one is immune to ultraviolet rays and the damage they cause. (according to American Cancer Society)

Ok, so that’s it for now. What’s your skin type?  Any questions before we move on to UV Index then how to protect yourself?

Top 5 reasons why your sunscreen might give you a false sense of security – Yoshiko Roth-Hidalgo

Ah… summer… we’ve been waiting for you for so long.  T’is the season to go to the beach and enjoy, until you realize one day your skin is hot, red and damaged.  With store shelves filled with masses of high-SPF sunscreen bottles and sprays, how is it that people still end up with serious sun damage year after year?  Here are the top 5 reasons why your sunscreen may give you a false sense of security:

1)   Trusting a high SPF

SPF30 is better than SPF15 but it does NOT give you double the protection.  SPF15 filters out about 93 percent of the UVB rays; SPF30 filters about 97 percent of UVB rays. Once you go above SPF30, the added protection gets even more marginal.  Some dermatologists even suggest not going above an SPF30 because the added skin-irritating chemicals of a higher SPF outweigh the benefits of the added sun protection.

2)      Trusting that SPF is the end-all be-all

SPF only protects from UVB-rays so read labels carefully.  A sunscreen that sports an impressive SPF but contains no UVA-protection in the form of Avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide or Ecamsule (Mexoryl) will not shield your skin from the rays that age your skin, and as we now know, also cause cancer.

3)      Not using enough sunscreen

You need about a 1-ounce shot glass full of sunscreen to properly protect the skin on your body.  If you buy a 4-ounce bottle of sunscreen, the bottle should be empty after 4 applications.  So that person who pours a dime-size into their palms and rubs it all over may feel protected, but really isn’t.

4)      Not re-applying often enough

Heat and humidity in the summer make us sweat more.  All of that perspiring  makes the sunscreen on our skin less effective.  Add to that a dip in the pool or ocean and drying your skin with a towel, and you probably have hardly any sunscreen left on your skin.  Doctors recommend reapplying every 2 hours or after being in the water.

5)      When enough is enough

Once you feel the heat and stinging in your skin, you’re already well on your way to a burn.  No amount of sunscreen can stop that process.  It’s time to just get out of the sun, period.

What are your favorite and most trusted tips and tricks to protect your skin from the sun?