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Sun Savvy Information

Sometimes called photodamage, sun damage refers to the effects of the sun on the look and feel of your skin. Sun damage is caused by frequent exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, and undetectable form of radiation emitted by the sun.

  • UVA rays that penetrate deep within the skin- a source of aging skin as well as skin cancer penetrate through the epidermis, dermis and into the upper level of subcutaneous tissue.
  • UVB rays that primarily affect the skin's surface and are a key source of sunburns as well as skin cancer, penetrate through the epidermis and into the dermis.

Over time, UV light damages collagen and elastin within the skin, causing skin to sag, stretch, lose its bounce-back resilience, and become more vulnerable to bruising and tearing. Even young, healthy-looking skin can start to show signs of damage with prolonged exposure to the sun.

You've seen what the signs of sun damage look like. Now see what you can do to prevent them.

Be Sunscreen Savvy

Sunscreen works to keep harmful harmful UVA and UVB ray at bay. Chemical sunscreens (such as octinoxate) absorb the UV rays and radiation, while physicl sunscreens (such as zinc oxide) reflect and/or scatter them. Physical sun blocks provide the broadest spectrum sun protection, meaning they block both UVB and UVA rays.

For everyday protection against UVA and UVB rays, we recommend the following light lotions containing 9% zinc oxide:

  • Obagi-C-Rxtm System SunGuard SPF30
  • Obagi Nu-Derm System Healthy Skin Protection SPF 35

Slather It On

Regardless of how much or how little you're out in the sun, applying sun screen every day is perhaps the single best way to protect your skin from sun damage. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a product with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15. The quicker you burn, the higher you want your SPF. Here are some other sunscreen tips:

  • Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed areas at least 1/2 hour before sun exposure.
  • Swimming and perspiration reduce the SPF value for many sunscreens, so reapply frequently.
  • Use at least one ounce of sunscreen, enough to fill a shot glass, on your body.
  • Apply another 1 to 2 teaspoons to your face.

Cover Yourself

What we wear can help protect our skin from sun damage. Heavier fabrics like demim offer more sun protection than lightweight fabrics such as lace and linen. Availabel from many companies and online, specially designed sun-protective clothing have a tighter weave than typical summer frabics, and are usually darker in color. Look for the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) value on the labels; the higher the value, the more UV protection the article of clothing offers.

Want to know if your clothes will protect your skin from sun damage? Try this simple test.

  • Hold an article of clothing up to a light bulb. If you can see through it, its SPF value is probably less than 15.
  • If light gets through, but you can't see through is, its SPF value is probably 15-50.
  • If it completely blocks all light, it's SPF value is probably over 50.

You may also want to keep this in mind: most cotton T-shirts and summerweight fabrics allow as much as 50% of harmful UVB rays through to your skin when dry, and 60-70% when wet. Open mesh baseball caps and open-weave straw hats are just as bad, if not worse.

Hats On

Summer or winter, hats that cover the head and neck offer outstanding protection against the sun. Wide rims (2 to 3 inches) that go all the way around the hat offer the UV protection.

We can't completely undo sun damage. But. with the right help, the skin can repair itself. It's never too late to start protecting your skin, and yourself. Start protecting your skin and correct sun damage today. And enjoy a longer lifetime of fun in the sun.

If you are considering medical spa treatments or would just like to meet with one of the doctors to discuss the procedure you are interested in, please contact us at the Torrance office at (310) 784-0644 or send us an email.

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