I Scream over Sunscreen!!
My first post on wanting to investigate and provide knowledge on the aesthetic industry requires some elaboration. I have been looking forward to talking about how I started looking at the aesthetic industry differently once I crossed over from a client, to being an entrepreneur and seeing how all the cogs actually work from within the industry. I will dive more into that topic a little later. In my desire to invigorate the industry, SkinONE also has an educational commitment that needs some attention first. Ultimately education will be the driver that raises the bar on the industry. Since July is sun awareness month I thought it befitting to talk about sun protection. Well, actually more like human behaviour and how it applies to not applying sunscreen. If we want to get better at our sun protection we need to start by acknowledging that humans, as creatures of habit, we have been known to be a bit lazy or unaware of the consequence.
Did you know that there is a ‘laser season’? In Canada anyways this is a known fact in the industry. It is a given that many people will be downing their tans in July and August which can affect many of the light based treatments that are ironically used to reverse the signs of sun damage. This may seem natural that clinics turn away clients during the summer for safety and other reasons. What makes it odd is that in south Florida and in San Diego there is no ‘laser season’. They perform the same leading corrective treatments 365 days a year where their sun is more or less just as intense as our Canadian summer. The conclusion I am drawing is Canadian sun exposure is less about climate and more about our sun protection habits, or lack thereof. The best sunblocks available last on average 2 hours. Which means if you added sunscreen to your morning routine and leave your house at 8 a.m. you probably need to reapply a minimum of 4 more times throughout the day to stay protected. I am certainly guilty of dropping the ball on this. I am also the guy that had sun damage at 30 and had a number of dangerous spots removed by 36. Learn from my mistakes please!
I genuinely think that applying sunscreen parallels many other human behaviours. Returning the shopping cart, putting your dishes in the dishwasher, drinking 8 glasses of water in a day and putting the toilet seat down. All things we know are either good for us or we know we should do, but fall short of the goal far too often. Mail in rebates are used in sales to entice people to purchase products knowing that the success rate of the consumer actually sending in the coupon is between 5-15%. Which means you can literally give away the product for free and up to 85% of the people will still pay full price. It is about the number of steps needed to complete the task. Not the reward, because free stuff and no skin cancer are pretty good rewards. But after you have finished doing hair and make up, dropped off kids, finished your first meeting and off to the next event of the day, the last thing anyone wants to do is stop and reapply sun protection, and mess up the look you might be sporting and enjoying at the time. I don’t even wear makeup and I still never look at a sunscreen bottle and think, man, I can’t wait until I am able to put that on my face. As a father I can also say that there are many good intentions that do not get done when a 2 year old is on the loose. That said, when it is play time my son never leaves our house without his SPF 50 or more. Again, the reapplying is not always as successful.
So how do Canadians learn to be better at something they don’t want to do? Take the pain out of putting on sunscreen. Make it easier so the thought of walking down the street to mail in your coupon doesn’t seem nearly as daunting.
To do this I consulted our senior Skin Specialist, Dana at SkinONE to give some tips on applying products in the morning to make sunscreen more effective. And also tips and some products that make reapplication less annoying .
“There's a right and a wrong way to wear a SPF,” says Dana. She created a comprehensive list to make your application flawless with full daily coverage.
‘To start, if you wear any serum based product such as Vitamin C or peptides you will want to start by using these products first before applying any cream or lotion for better absorption and to prevent pilling. Once you've applied the serums you can moisturize and apply and SPF before you do your makeup. For extra SPF coverage you can try a mineral based makeup with zinc oxide and touch up throughout the day with mineral SPF powder because it works by setting the makeup and protecting your skin at the same time. Lastly, loose mineral SPF powder is recommended to use every 2 hours.’
Health Canada recommends that everyone use a SPF 30 or greater. Which also means you cannot solely rely on the SPF in your moisturizer for protection. I will dive into the science and details of the types and levels of sunscreen in another post. For today I want to focus on our success at simply applying it. Just like safety belts and life jackets it doesn’t matter how good your sunscreen is if you don’t actually wear it. So how do we? Start by ensuring sunscreen is a part of your morning routine. This is the simplest time as you have already dedicated yourself to applying lotions and such. Everyone is different but for me, I enjoy a sheer sunscreen and like a matte finish (my current one is DAILY SHEER BROAD SPECTRUM SPF 50 by Z.O. Health). You will have to find something that gives you the feel you enjoy with the rest of your morning products. I recommend experimenting with both physical and chemical sunscreens. They can have dramatically different feels and textures. If you get used to it then, you will be surprised how you become less resistant to apply it later.
Another tip I recommend is to have varying types of sunscreen. I think everyone should have a ‘go to’ straight up sunscreen. Make it specific. Something you want to use on your face is going to have a specific feel to it. Something for the arms maybe more about value. It is important to find one for your face, neck and décolletage as they are always exposed. Good mineral makeup often comes with high SPF. Colorescience has many foundations and pressed powders with SPF of 20, 30, 40, even 50. So does Glow and a few other companies. These are high quality makeup products that feel great, look good and protect you. If you use makeup and reapply during the day this will help with your protection.
The last type of product that I think goes a long way to help us change our behaviour and start doing what we know is good for us, is a ‘brush on’ powder sunscreen. Just as it sounds, this is a powder physical protection that has a slight neutral shade that brushes on. Because it is powder it does not leave you feeling greasy which helps us actually want to use it. It is fast, easy and most are compact enough to slip in a purse, bag, or pocket. They are even great for men with thinning hair (but still look dashing) who do not want to wear a hat because they have another engagement in a few hours and are trying to avoid the hat head. Note that these products are fabulous for touch up protections, but are no still not a substitute for full lather protection as they do have a few limitations. The powder is easily disturbed which can affect the coverage and protection. Colorescience has had this product out for a few years and it has had great success. Other companies are following suit such as Z.O. Health. The more competition the better I say. We need innovation to help us as much as we can.
I like to think that we Canadians are pretty astute and savvy when it comes to our health, but when it comes to summer and sun we need to admit that collectively we are not doing a good enough job protecting ourselves.
If you have some tips on keeping your 2nd, 3rd and 4th application as consistent as your first, then please let us all know! Something as simple as good free advice can go a long way in saving someone's life.
Feel good in your skin!
Director at SkinONE