Tag Archives: sun block

Sun Block and Photoprotection

29 Apr

Everyone should be wearing sun block. But is that enough?

Prolonged unprotected sun exposure damages cell DNA. Not only does this result in premature aging, but can also cause melanoma and other skin cancers. I am a HUGE believer in wearing sun block (and not just in your make-up… that really doesn’t count).

When Buying Sun Block

If you’re not wearing it year round (which you should be), you should replace your sun block every year. Products can break down from heat exposure and from not being stored properly. It’s worth doing. You want to make sure you’re getting the best protection you can. Check your bottle for the following:

  • “Broad Spectrum” (protects from UVA and UVB light)
  • SPF 30 or higher
  • Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide (physical blocks)

For more on sun block read It’s Sunny Out! (A Post in Honor of Sun Block).

Avoiding White Residue

I know people hate the white residue you get from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, but these ingredients really are the best for sun protection. If you don’t like the white residue on your face, consider either buying a tinted SPF or buying a product that has a micro-ionized formula (smaller particles). I’ve found people really love SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50. It’s really light weight, doesn’t smell, and doesn’t leave a residue. The product retails for about $34, so it isn’t super expensive either.

C E FERULIC

While on the subject of SkinCeuticals products, and sun block, I have just started using their C E Ferulic serum. C E Ferulic contains ferulic acid, an antioxidant that doubles the synergistic benefits of C E – neutralizing free radicals, building collagen, and providing improved antioxidant protection. No other antioxidant technology has been shown to deliver comparable levels of photoprotection. This product has won multiple awards including:

  • Allure Best of Beauty Three-Time Award Winner Category: Best of Skin Care – Serum
  • InStyle Editor’s Pick – 2011 Best Beauty Buy Best Antioxidant Serum
  • NewBeauty – Beauty Choice Award The Best Anti-Aging Antioxidant Product

Although retinol (Every Woman Should Own A Retinol Product.) and sun block are the only topical products proven to prevent fine lines and wrinkles, I think a good anti-oxidant is almost equally important. For those of you who prefer not to use a retinoid in the summer months, C E Ferulic is definitely a good product to add to your beauty routing; it is outstanding in conjunction with sunscreen!

**Products can break down if not stored correctly (like I said before) and pharmaceutical grade products like C E Ferulic should never be bought online. Just like it’s worth it to buy new sun block, it’s also worth the few extra dollars to know your product wasn’t exposed to extreme temperatures, tampered with, or expired. Talk to a medical aesthetician if you’re interested in learning more about C E Ferulic!

Why Is Photoprotection Important?

Photoprotection is a measure of a product’s ability to neutralize free radicals and protect against oxidative stress (which can be caused by UV rays). Oxidative stress leads to premature aging, hyperpigmentation, and loss of elasticity… my three biggest fears!


Recent Studies Reveal We May Not Be As Protected As We Think:

  • People don’t apply enough sunscreen to achieve full SPF. Real-life application of an SPF 20 sunscreen yields an SPF of only 3 to 4.
  • Even when applied properly, sunscreens only block 55% of free radicals.
  • Considering what we now know about sunscreens, photoprotection is more important than ever.

The sun is stronger than it used to be, and protecting your skin is not an option. It’s time to add an anti-oxidant to your daily skin care regiment!


XOXO, LK

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It’s Sunny Out! (A Post in Honor of Sun Block)

20 Mar

90% of Aging is due to the sun.  NINETY.

If I was stranded on a desert island and could only have ONE beauty product, it would be sunscreen (tinted of course!).  I bet you would neverrrrr think of your sunscreen as a beauty product, but it is ESSENTIAL to anti-aging.  Only sunscreen and retinol are proven to topically prevent fine lines and wrinkles and are therefore the two most ESSENTIAL products I recommend to people.

During the summer months, I decrease my use of Retin-A, because you can’t go in the sun when you are using this product.  This is also why I would choose sunscreen over Retin-A if I was ever to be stranded in a warm place.  😉

What is SPF?

A sunscreen with an SPF of X allows you to stay out in the sun X times longer without burning then you would with no sunscreen on.  THEREFORE the difference between the protection of SPF 15 and SPF 30 isn’t really as significant as you think.

  • SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays

As you can see… a 4% increase.



SPF – Doesn’t Measure Everything!

The SPF of a sunscreen only measures the UVB rays but there are UVA rays that are emitted from the sun which are just as dangerous.  The FDA is currently working on a star rating system that will help the consumer better choose a sunscreen.  Until that happens (we all know how quick the FDA is…) look for a sun block that is a physical barrier or a chemical barrier that says: broad spectrum coverage.

Physical vs. Chemical Barriers

Physical (Sun BLOCK):

Create a reflective surface on the skin that reflects UV light or scatters it off of the skin’s surface. The active ingredients in these sunscreens are zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide. These types of sunscreens are very effective in blocking both UVB and UVA sun rays and are considered to be the safest sunscreens to use.  The best products of this type will contain all-natural ingredients.

These are the sunscreens I use. I couldn’t get a picture that was clear… so I copied the exact text (with possible spelling errors. Sorry.)




Chemical (Sun SCREEN):

Contain ingredients that absorb UV light before it can cause any skin damage. These sun screens (which include most commercial brands) have been proven to be effective in preventing sunburns, but the chemicals in them have never been tested and approved for safety.

To get “broad spectrum” protection with chemical barrier sunscreens, you need to purchase a product with more than one active chemical ingredient, which increases the likelihood of the product being potentially hazardous.

I happened to have this bottle of Sea & Ski in my bathroom, but I have never used it. It was $1.99 at Christmas Tree Shop. As you can see, UVA and UVB coverage does not make the product more expensive.



Best advice:  Use a physical barrier sun block.  Wear a hat.  And don’t use your Retin-A (for now).  Enjoy the warm weather Boston!

Evaluating Your Skin

23 Jan

Like your personality, everyone has different skin, and there are many extraneous factors that affect the physical condition of your skin.  Even though I know a lot about skin, I don’t pretend I know it all, and I often ask my aesthetician friends what they think about my skin’s appearance. Usually, when my skin deviates from the norm, it’s from something I did.  By looking at your skin, an aesthetician determines the classification (Skin Care Classification Systems.) but they should also ask you the following questions to evaluate the overall health of your skin. 

Skin Evaluation Questions 

(Marmur, Ellen, M.D., 2009, Simple Skin Beauty:
Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin, 20-21)

  • How does my skin usually behave?  Does it tend to be dry or oily?  Does it get irritated or red or hyperpigment easily (a sign of sensitivity).

My skin is normally a little oily, with rare break outs (because I regularly see an aesthetician and use products that are appropriate for me–but trust me–I’ve had my fair share of acne, hyperpigmentation, and dryness).  Because I take care of my skin, I no longer easily get irritated, red, pigmented, or break out.  But that’s MY skin). 

  • What is my lifestyle like?

I think there is not a woman alive that doesn’t have a high stress lifestyle.  But, when our stress levels get higher than normal, that’s when we can run into problems!  When I opened my first office, I’ve never had such HORRIBLE skin.  I was under so much stress!  I wasn’t eating, drinking, or sleeping (healthy right?).  I was broken out and my skin literally had a blue hue to it from not having enough oxygen and water.  It was NOT attractive.  Now I’m back to a regular level of high stress.

If you look at woman from other countries, you usually see they have nice skin.  Even though they smoke.  Well, the American life-style is high stress.  Women juggle families and careers and high levels of stress due to the pressure to achieve, and I think this is especially true of the Boston Woman.  Read more about  Skin Under Stress.

  •  Have I been doing anything differently in the last few weeks?

First Rule in Nursing:  have you done anything different?

Second Rule in Nursing:  stop whatever it is you did.

Did the symptoms stop too?  Cause and effect!  When it comes to skin reactions I like to ask if you have started using any different skin products, or have you changed your detergents?  (I personally am allergic to dryer sheets and I sleep with my face on a pillowcase… that would have touched a dryer sheet!)

  • What climate do I live in, or have I traveled somewhere recently?

Ugh, it is officially winter.  I know I have my heat on 80 right now and I am so thankful it is not forced hot air!  The type of heat you are using to heat your home will affect the air and your skin. (Check out Hydrating Ingredients in Skin Care Products.)  When the temps start warming up, of course we have the humidity… “it’s not the heat it’s the humidity!”  which can cause our skin to feel more greasy.

Changing climates from the dirty city are to the clean country air can affect your skin.  My skin likes the city 😉

  • What foods have I been eating recently?

Your diet DOES effect the appearance of your skin.  I’m not saying chocolate causes acne (don’t worry, there is zero truth to this one), but certain vitamins and minerals feed the skin.  Certain foods are healthier for your skin, just like certain foods promote a healthy liver (off the top of my head I can think of one food that is bad for your liver- alcohol)!  Avoid things high in sugar, they promote bacterial growth.  Look for foods high in vitamin A, C, and E.

  • What kinds of products do I use on my skin and how often?

I really hope by now you’ve gotten my point about over the counter products, and how they don’t do much but put a hole in your wallet.  But, pharmaceutical products aren’t always good to use everyday.  Case in point – Retin-A.  LOVE IT.  I really think Every Woman Should Own A Retinol Product.  But I don’t  think it’s for everyone EVERYDAY.  I recently upped my topical Retin-A usage to every other day.  My skin looks AMAZING, but if I use it everyday it gets red, dry, and flakey.  Ew.

**I would like to add that I also just read in a medical book that Retin-A and sunblock are the only PREVENTATIVE topicals when it comes to fine lines.

  • What kind of makeup do I wear?

I ask my clients this all the time.  Usually I ask it like this:  “Do you wear MAC make-up”  and they say “yes.”  NOOOO.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love MAC’s eye-shadows.  I love their fake eyelashes.  But their face make-up is “stage make-up” which is NOT for everyday use!  It clogs your pores and can make acne much worse.  PLEASE stop using this product everyday!  Start using good skin products, and throw out your make-up!  Be natural!  (Yes, the Botox Queen supports natural!).  When I do feel the need to wear a face make-up, I stick to mineral make-up.

***Also, did you know that if your skin tends to be greasy you should use powder based foundation, and if it tends to be dry you should use liquid based foundations?

  • How many showers a day do I take?

I know we love long, hot showers in the winter, but try to keep it quick.  Not only does it make you “green,” but long, hot showers dry out your skin.  Moisturize!

  • Do I have a stressful job?

Obviously!  I’m not even going to start on this one!

  • Do I smoke?

I hope the answer to this is no.  It’s funny.  We know how bad smoking is for your health, but for some reason people still do it.  Well, if the threat of cancer hasn’t stopped you, and the insane cost hasn’t stopped you, perhaps this will:  smoking is bad for your skin.  It prematurely ages you.  It thins your dermal layer, destroys your cell’s DNA, and gives a yellow hue (from toxins).  I pray that if you have stopped by medical reasons, perhaps vanity can play some roll in ditching the cancer stick.  I know it’s hard, but it is really, really bad for your skin (and health and wallet).

  • Do I take any medications regularly?

There are TONS of medications which can interfere with the health of your skin.  Read your bottles.  Do any say stay out of the sun?  I promise you, the bottle is not lying to you.  Hypersensitivity to sunlight is a common side affect with many medications.  Be extra careful to wear sunblock, even in the winter.  Please and thank you.

  • Am I pregnant?  Have I recently had a baby?

I can safely say no to these questions, but, as I’m sure you all know, pregnancy comes with MANY hormonal changes.  And do not sound fun (I recently learned from patrons at a Botox Party the most important word to know during pregnancy- Epidural).

  • Have I had surgery or any health problems in the last year?

When your immune system is down, or your body is in a state of repair, the essential vitamins and nutrients your skin requires may be diverted to other organ systems that need them more.

  • Do I wear sunscreen?

EVERYDAY.  Even in the winter.  Like I said earlier, sun damage is the number one cause of fine lines.  Do you know how men can tell your age?  By looking at your hands, because they are always exposed to sunlight.  Ok, it’s winter, we go from home to car to job to home (at which point the sun is already probably gone).  So many of us think we don’t need sunblock.  WRONG.  You are exposed to UV rays in the car.  When looked at under a skin lamp, the drivers side of a face displays 90% more sun damage.

Check out There’s a fine line between tan and looking like you rolled in a bag of doritos.  (It is one of my most highly viewed posts!)

  • Do I pick at my face nervously?

I do.  It’s so bad.  I was actually put on Celexa at one point for this nervous habit.  I’m so glad I was too, because it worked!

  • How many products do I use on my skin and hair everyday?

You don’t need to be using a crazy amount of products, and you don’t necessarily need to be using everything, everyday.  We have this notion that if a little is good, a lot is better.  Not true.  Follow the directions for usage from your aesthetician, or at least the instructions on the products you are using (that are pharmaceutical grade).  As you can see from the picture, I have a lot of products–but I don’t use every one everyday.

  • Do I touch my face a lot?

As a nurse, I can tell you, nails are DIRTY.  Hospitals have banned acrylic nails for nurses in hospitals because of the germs they carry.  By touching your face, you are introducing those germs and bacteria to your skin.  One of the biological roles of skin is to protect the internal organs from infection.  If you are picking at your skin you are essentially breaking the barrier, and allowing an area of access for bacteria.

The skin is a protective barrier against dirt and bacteria.

Bacteria is under your nails.

Picking at your skin with your nails tears the skin.

THEREFORE:

Picking breaks the protective barrier and at the same time introduces bacteria and dirt from your nails.  BAD.

  • Do I use hair gel or pomades?

I don’t know what a pomade is….. I guess that is for short hair! I do know this… I often break out on my hair line when I am on day 3 of not washing my hair (you shouldn’t wash your hair everyday).  Hair products can contains skin clogging ingredients, or might contain ingredients that your skin is sensitive to.

**I’m not sure if I took this picture crooked, or hung the shelf crooked?            ———————–>

  • Is there a specific area on my face that is constantly a problem?

Like perhaps you break out where your cell phone constantly touches?  Swab down your phone with an alcohol pad, daily!

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