The answer is a definite, ‘Yes!’
AS the cool and cozy weather begins this time of the year, people tend to get too comfortable in skipping health and beauty regimens. With lower temperatures dragging down energy levels, gym visits become less frequent, healthy food choices are replaced by fast and easy meals, and methodical summer skin care regimens are quickly put aside.
But even as rainy days keep most people indoors, the body remains exposed to negative elements such as harmful chemicals, free radicals, viral and bacterial diseases, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation that are ever-present in the environment.
Hoping to raise awareness on the importance of daily sun protection despite dull weather conditions, dermatological pharmaceutical company Galderma tasked its in-house medical director and seasoned dermatologist Dr. Liz Casintahan to lead an afternoon discussion titled “The science of feel good skin care” at the Bonifacio Global City’s Sky Lounge in Taguig.
“Even though it is no longer the summer season or the peak sunny months, daily sun care protection is still important because sun damage doesn’t just happen during summer. Sun damage is beyond sunburn, and in fact can go deep into the cellular level,” Casintahan warned.
Scientific studies show that constant and prolonged exposure to UV radiation from the sun causes skin damage. They also note that whether it rains or shines, UV radiation from earth’s atmosphere, although not visible, adversely affect the skin and cause premature skin aging, cell death, collagen degradation, skin cell mutation, or in worse cases, skin cancer.
“Sun damage does not just affect the top layer of your skin, but it also affects the innermost DNA. At any given moment you are being bombarded not by just a single type of radiation, but three different and damaging kinds of radiation,” the dermatologist continued.
With her experience and expertise in skin protection, Casintahan advised that “Using sunscreen is the most cost-effective way to looking young.”
“Typically, women have different skin care products they apply daily. You have your moisturizer and whitening cream, even before you put on makeup. I always tell my patients that they can forget to apply all the other products, except for the sunscreen. And I cannot stress its importance enough because just 10 minutes of sun exposure can already lead to redness and irritation. Imagine how much worse UV exposure can affect your skin long term,” Casintahan told The Manila Times in a one-on-one interview following her presentation.
But with overwhelming sunscreen choices in the market, the dermatologist cautions the public to carefully read product labels before choosing one.
Casintahan explained that highly effective sunscreens should contain physical and chemical (organic and inorganic) ingredients that filter and reduce UV radiation-penetration. Meanwhile, sunblocks only use physical elements to completely block off all forms of UV radiation.
While sunblock effectively blocks off rays to the skin for longer periods of sun exposure, the doctor recommends sunscreen for daily use, which is easily absorbent and feels lighter on the skin.
The dermatologist also identified that choosing a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen is the best protection from the sun’s UVA and UVB (see sidebar). Moreover, the efficacy of sunscreen is measured through the Sun Protection Factor (SPF), which ranges from two to 50. The SPF number indicates the amount of UVB protection when using sunscreen. For instance, using SPF 15 sunscreen will take 15 times longer for UVB to redden the skin than without the sunscreen.
The International Skin Cancer Foundation recommends the use of sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher for effective sun protection. The foundation lists in its website (skincancer.org) that SPF 15 screens 93 percent of the sun’s UVB rays; SPF 30 at 97 percent; and SPF 50 at 98 percent.
“The skin does not need an SPF higher than 50. Since it takes 10 minutes for UVB to cause redness, and you multiply that by 50 you get 500 minutes of protection before UVB burns the skin,” Casintahan explained.
Other factors to consider in choosing quality sunscreen are your skin type and activities. There are oil-free, hypoallergenic sunscreens available in the market, as well as water resistant products best used when doing active sports.
Casintahan used as an example Galderma’s newest sunscreen inno-vation, called “Daylong.” She has found it effective in providing “daily, deep and complete sun protection” with clinically proven sun protection that goes deep into the cellular level.
Sunscreen for all
The dermatologist identified that UV radiation from the sun is at its peak between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which is the best time to stay indoors. Casintahan also recommended that sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure, and should be reapplied every two to three hours.
When heading to the beach, the recommended amount of sunscreen is 35 milliliters, which is about one shot glass. For the face, the daily amount recommended is five to 10 ml, which is the same amount needed for each arm. This is advisable even for those whose activities are limited indoors, say between home and office, as skin damage also results from heat emitted by light bulbs, computer screens and other electronic appliances, categorized under infrared radiation (IR).
For those with multiple skin care products, the skin expert advises to apply sunscreen first. After it dries, apply moisturizer, skin whitener, and other products, and finally makeup.
“Long term sun damage is cumulative. You might not see it now, but when you are 40 years old and you start attending class reunions, you’ll see the effects in skin aging, sagging, wrinkles,” she concluded.