Friday, August 7, 2015

Science Behind Sunscreen and Sunlight

Hope everyone is having a colorful week!  I also dare anyone to say this post title 3 times fast, because I know I definitely can't even say it once.  

By the way, you might have noticed that there have been some changes here on Blonde Rhombus, and this is because lately, I've want to make more thoughtful, informative posts instead of just writing about daily adventures.  This means articles on fashion, beauty, and health are coming your way. 
Let me know what you think!  Moving on…

Since the big move to California, the amount of sunlight my pasty Chicagoan butt has been seeing is much greater than ever before.  I’ve gotten a few more freckles than I’ve previously had and poor, poor Jake has gotten burnt to a crisp during a chilly cloudy day, which hardly seems fair at all.  While all of this extra sunlight is great, it got me thinking… Should I be adding a daily sunscreen to my beauty routine?

The answer is YES!  Absolutely, FUCK YES!

Over the last week I have done a nearly obsessive amount of research on the benefits of wearing a daily sunscreen and I will share that with you now!

First Things first, Let’s Talk About the Sun.

The sun emits invisible rays which can be broken down into either UVA, UVB or UVC.  These rays are classified by their wavelengths.  UVA and UVB rays are able to easily penetrate earth’s atmosphere and cause premature signs of aging, eye damage, and may suppress the immune system (yikes).  UVC rays cannot go through our atmosphere, which is great news since they are the most harmful type of UV rays.

Here’s what you need to know about UVA and UVB rays.
  • UVA rays account for 95% of the sun’s rays that reach earth’s surface and are apparent year round in nearly equal intensity.  These rays are longer in wavelength than UVB and UVC, which means they are able to permeate the deep layers of our skin.  UVA rays are responsible for tanning, wrinkles and discoloration (photoaging), possible development of skin cancer, DNA damage, and they are also able to seep through glass. Uhhh, what?
  • UVB rays are most commonly associated with sunburn and redness but play an important role in assisting UVA rays with developing cancers and photoaging.  Unlike UVA rays, UVB intensity varies depending on the season and time of day.  While they are always out and about, they are most common April-October at 10a-4p and they cannot penetrate glass.
  • UVC rays are the most damaging, but we don’t have to worry about them since earth’s atmosphere filters these out before it can reach us. 

What Role Does Sunscreen Play?

In short, sunscreen protects your skin against these harmful ultraviolet rays by either reflecting, scattering or absorbing them.  The effect on the sun’s rays depends on the ingredients used in the sunscreen.

What Products Should We be Applying?

 Ideally, sunscreen should be applied to your face and entire body every day since UVA rays can also penetrate clothes.  This seems a bit crazy at first, but they make great lotions with SPF which can make it a little more manageable.

Here are some formulas for different skin types that are great for daily facial use.

1) For dry, sensitive skin: SuperGoop $19
This is what I currently use on my dry, sensitive skin.  I love the fact that this is moisturizing and doesn’t leave a white residue on skin.  My skin is soft and supple after use and there’s no “sunscreen” smell at all which makes it a great primer for makeup.  I absolutely love this stuff!  Plus, the name is hilar.

2) For combination skin: Clinique City Block Sheer $24
One of my best friends swears by this sunscreen.  It’s light enough to wear as a primer for under makeup, blends extremely well and it helps control shine and oil.  This is also great for sensitive, temperamental skin.

3) For oily Skin: Shiseido Urban Environment Oil Free UV Protector $32
So I actually used this for a solid week and found that this sunscreen can be a little drying.  I gave it to a friend, who has oily skin and he found that this is great for creating a matte effect and controlling oil.  This also has a very high SPF per milligram, which means you can get protection from the sun after a very thin layer!  That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

4) For the body: Aveeno Active Naturals with SPF $10

This sunscreen is great for daily use on your non-face skin.  It’s not sticky or tacky and it goes on smooth, much more like a lotion than a sunscreen.  This is also water resistant in case you get a lil’ sweaty during the day and has a pleasant aroma. 

I hope after reading this, you are able to find a sunscreen to suit your needs!  Do the right thing and keep that youthful skin fresh and glowing.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, here are some extremely informative websites I got my information on!

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