‘If only I cared for my skin when I was young’… The benefit of hindsight does not help us in our older years. So, we need to teach our kids from an early age some of the most important life lessons. Aside from getting a good education, exploring the world and saving money… the one thing that I have started with my children from an early age is skin care. When preparing young skin for the future, the most important thing is…
This is written in capitals for a very good reason. Sun damage attributes to most of the premature ageing we see on our skin, so I really cannot stress enough the importance of being sun smart, especially here in Australia.
Here are just a few ways the sun can cause damage to our skin;
- Precancerous and cancerous skin lesions – due to decreases in the skin’s immune function.
- Wrinkles – A sign of our time in the sun. Exposure to sunlight, even a long time ago, damages the fibres that prop up your skin, speeding up the wrinkling process, giving us lines and droopiness beyond our years.
- Discoloured areas of the skin (pigmentation).
- Dry, thickened and dull appearance to your skin.
There are many conflicting opinions when it comes to wearing a sunscreen. Especially on kids. There is the opinion that the chemicals in some sunblocks are harmful (perhaps some truth to this…) and there is the opinion that we all need sun. This is true. Sunlight, giving us Vitamin D, is an integral part of keeping us healthy. It’s actually a pre-hormone rather than a Vitamin. Vitamin D is synthesised through our skin from the suns UV rays. It supports healthy bones, teeth, immune system, heart and brain, just to name a few. But Vitamin D breaks down quite quickly, leaving our stores low – especially in winter.
So how do we maintain a healthy level of Vitamin D without damaging our skin?
It is estimated that you only require 5-10 minutes of sun exposure 2-3 times per week to absorb enough Vitamin D. With this in mind, and knowing that the average Australian spends much more time outside, how do we protect our skin safely in the other hours of the day?
Aside from wearing a hat, a good sunscreen is a must. There are many out there on the market though, so choosing a ‘healthy’ sunscreen can often prove difficult. There are a couple options; a physical block or a chemical block. Here are the differences so you can work out what is best for you and your family.
Physical Block – Zinc
A Zinc based sunscreen, containing Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide, is what you call a Physical Block. Naturally broad-spectrum, this sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays. It will act as an actual barrier between your skin and the sun. Rather than absorbing into your skin, a physical block sits on top of your skin, reflecting the sun away. As it is a natural product, it is recommended for those with sensitive skin and for children. But if you are having 80’s flashbacks of the thick, fluro and white zinc that we used to smear across our noses, rest assured. Zinc has come a long way since then and has now been micronised into a sheer formulation. As such, it is found in many of the makeup ranges we stock.
While it is effective when it sits on your skin as a layer, it can be washed or rubbed off after time which may leave you unprotected. It is advised to reapply after sweating, being in the water or rubbing your skin (with a towel or clothing).
Differing from a physical block, a Chemical Block will absorb into your skin (the epidermis and into the dermis). Here it absorbs the harmful UV rays before it can penetrate into your dermis and cause damage. Essentially soaking it up. Often you will find that these Chemical Blocks will also include ingredients such as Antioxidants in the form of Vitamin C and E. This will repair free radical damage that is caused by the sun.
As they penetrate into your skin, they don’t “wear off” with sweating, being in the water or rubbing at your skin. Instead they “wear off” over time, so you need to be diligent and reapply approximately every 2 hours depending on the brand. If you are planning heavy physical exercise this is often the preference.
Chemical blocks are sheer in formulation and often found in cosmetics.
A non-toxic chemical block that we all love is the Aspect On The Go Envirostat (one I use on my kids bodies when on holidays).
With this information, you will be able to understand the importance of sunblock and choose one that you think is right for you and your kids.
Preparing young skin for the future
For older children, in the mid to late teens, using an antioxidant rich cleanser and moisturiser such as Societes Everyday Cleanser and Prime and Defend Moisturiser is a must. Antioxidants repair environmental damage, such as sun and pollution exposure. Using antioxidant rich products that contain Vitamins C and Vitamin E, will assist in repairing and preventing damage, ensure their skin is healthy and gorgeous now and in the future.
Still not sure?
If you need more help or would like personalised advice on what skincare products are best for you, book now for your consultation with a skin care advisor. Check out our range of in-clinic services today.
Or fill in the Online Skin Consultation, and our skin care advisor will happily help you to choose the right treatments and products for your skin type or concern.
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