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Sun Protection for your Skin

Tips for Protecting Your Skin, Safely

Spending time in the sun is one of the best ways to harness vitamin D. In fact, doctors recommend exposing your skin to direct sun rays so they can activate your natural ability to create vitamin D. The catch? Direct exposure also leaves you at risk of skin problems such as premature aging, sunburns, and in the worst cases, can increase the risk of skin cancer

So, how can we protect our skin while also enjoying the benefits that come with sunlight exposure?

Using Sunscreen

Slathering on sunscreen is one of the most common options for protecting your skin. There is no reason why you shouldn’t grab a hat and go out in the sun as long as you’ve applied a protective sunscreen layer on your skin. Sunscreen protects your skin against ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, both of which are responsible for sunburns, age spots, skin cancer, wrinkling, and other long-term effects on your skin.

Lathering up on sunscreen protects your skin from these rays, allowing you to spend time in the sun safely. How does this happen? There are two types of sunscreen: chemical sunscreen and mineral sunscreen.

Chemical sunscreen works by absorbing UV rays before they penetrate the skin and damage your skin cells. The active ingredients of this chemical filter form a protective film that acts as a barrier, absorbing the rays and converting them into heat before releasing them away from the skin. Common active ingredients include aminobenzoic acid, avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone. 

There have been a few concerns raised in the media about oxybenzone, but research shows “no conclusive evidence that oxybenzone is harmful to humans,” according to Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing

Mineral sunscreen are essentially physical blockers that sit atop your skin and reflect UV rays away from the skin. Unlike chemical sunscreen, they don’t penetrate the skin. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are common active ingredients. These tend to be thicker, and not always the best choice for oily or acne-prone skin.

Using Sun Protective Clothing

Sun protective clothing offers extra protection for people who are more sensitive to the sun, such as those with fair skin, children, and people who are on medication, as some drugs can increase sun sensitivity. Such apparel comes with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) ratings indicating its effectiveness against both UVA and UVB rays.  

Sun Protection For Hair 

While most people will rarely go out in the sun without their favorite sunscreen, research shows that excessive exposure to UV rays can be hard on your hair too, fading or drying out your hair and causing breakage. Proper sun safety means protecting yourself from head to toe by investing in sunscreen for your scalp and hair in addition to your go-to-sunscreen and facial Sun Protection Factor (SPF). 

Spray or powder sunscreen will protect your scalp from sunburn, while formulated sunscreen designed for hair and scalp will offer total protection for both. You can also invest in a good hat for a much needed physical barrier.

Sun Protection for Eyes

UV radiation also poses serious damage to your eye health and is associated with an increased risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration (which causes vision loss), corneal sunburn, and conjunctival cancer. That said, you can still enjoy the great outdoors by investing in proper eye protection. Some simple strategies to protect your eyes include:

  • Wearing sunglasses and/or shades that block 99% to 100% of UV rays
  • Wearing a wide-brimmed hat with no holes
  • Using prescription glasses or contact lenses with UV filters

What to Look for When Buying Sun Protective Gear

  • When choosing sunscreen, go for a brand that has a high SPF rating: at least 30. Always remember to apply liberally to increase its effectiveness, and reapply every two hours. 
  • Also, consider using a broad-spectrum brand as this will offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays. If you have very sensitive skin or are shopping for your kids, consider choosing mineral sunscreen as its ingredients are milder.
  • For sun-protective clothing, look for a high UPF rating as this indicates better protection against UV radiation.
  • Sunglasses that offer 100% protection against UV rays are also best, while wide hats made of tightly woven fabric will offer increased protection for your eyes, hair, and scalp.

Your skin plays a vital role by protecting all your internal organs. Taking simple measures to protect yourself from the sun before heading out can help prevent cancer, sunburns, and lots of other skin problems. Do you have more questions on skin care that we can help with?  Contact us!

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Our Ever-Changing Hair

Our hair is often one of the first things others notice about us. Yet hair concerns (and bad hair days), so often cause women grief. The good news is, there are ways to keep our mane looking great even if we have a few problem areas. 

Common hair concerns 

Hair undergoes many changes throughout our lives. Usually, when we’re in our 40s or 50s, hair starts to grow finer and will appear noticeably different than it did in our 20s when it may be more lush and full. Other typical concerns include:

  • Thinning hair —it happens to women of all ages. Common reasons include general aging, hormonal changes (reduced estrogen and progesterone and increased androgen production), recently giving birth, undergoing chemotherapy, and or wearing your hair in tighter styles — like ponytails and braids. 
  • Split ends —are commonly caused by chemical processing, vigorous brushing while hair is wet, or too much heat (as from blow dryers and curling irons). Missing vitamins and minerals in the diet, and hormonal changes, can also cause a breakdown in the hair shaft.
  • Texture changes —in our hair can be alarming, but most of the time there’s a simple explanation for it. Hormonal changes, whether from menopause, childbirth, or puberty can affect the way hair grows. A diet that lacks sufficient protein is another reason the texture of your hair might change. 

Ways we damage our hair (and their simple fixes)

While there’s not much we can do about hormonal changes, we can curb the ways we damage our hair. From styling tools to salon visits, simple hair care practices we follow can wreak havoc on our locks. So how else does our hair get damaged?

Sun damage: If the sun can damage our skin, why wouldn’t it harm our hair? Well, it can. Prolonged exposure to UVA and UVB rays can discolor hair and cause frizziness and split ends. The sun weakens our hair’s protein and elasticity.

  • The fix: Limit sun exposure or wear a hat if you’ll be out in the sun for a while. There are also serums available to protect and polish hair making it smooth and healthy.

Styling tools: Trying to recreate a trendy haircut with styling tools is a good way to damage hair. Using a flat iron or blow dryer often causes more breakage.

  • The fix: Lowering the temperature is always better — it achieves the same look without harsh hair results. And instead of trying to follow the herd with that fashionable new do — try finding a look that’s suitable for your own hair, not what’s “on-trend.”

Hair coloring: Frequent use of hair dyes can cause our hair to dry out, leaving it more prone to breakage.  The chemicals can take away the natural protective layer of the hair, which makes it brittle and more easily damaged.

  • The fix: Instead of frequent salon visits try a natural concealer without the harsh chemicals. There are different shades available, and they’re easy to use.

How to keep hair looking great

Just like our skincare regime, caring for our hair changes as time goes on. Healthy habits and behaviors are key in keeping our insides strong but also have a dramatic effect on our outward appearance. Here are simple tips to keep your hair looking great.

  • Check your diet — healthy hair needs plenty of protein, iron, omegas 3,6 and 9, and antioxidants to look its best.
  • Stay away from hairspray — the alcohol in it can cause dry, brittle hair.
  • Avoid shampoos with sulfates — which can strip the hair of color and natural oils.
  • Consider a scalp serum or oil — used regularly these can aid in creating an environment for healthy hair.
  • Try a hair mask — used about once a week they can help make hair smoother and more lustrous. 

Our hair needs are constantly changing, and sometimes we need to freshen up our routine to revitalize our hair. So what are your hair care questions? How can we help?

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