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SPF Addict and Sun Stats
SPF – it’s imperative for keeping your skin young and cancer free. You’ve all heard it before: the sun ages you by breaking down the collagen in your skin, it causes skin cancer (which is the fastest growing cancer in the US), and it can impact you even on cloudy days. According to SkinCancer.org, a whopping 90% of skin “aging” is caused by the sun.
What does this tell me? I can look great forever if I don’t tan! I’ve gotten flak for my sun avoidance for years, but I’m finally starting to see it pay off as some of my peers are getting crows feet, wrinkly chests, and spots starting as early as age 24.
Have dark skin? You aren’t safe either. SkinCancer.org states that the annual incidence rate of melanoma is 1 per 100,000 in blacks, 4 per 100,000 in Hispanics, and 25 per 100,000 in non-Hispanic whites. And remember, anyone can burn.
So why do people keep tanning? Because it feels good, looks good, and the consequences take time to show up. That’s why I love this viral video that uses an ultra violet camera to highlight skin damage on people before it’s physically visible.
SPF Addict: Sun Protective Clothing Prevents Damage Without the Grease!
One of the common complaints about sunscreen is that it’s greasy and a pain to put on. While great non-greasy sunscreen options are available, the easiest and fastest way to protect yourself when you can’t avoid sun altogether is with sun protection clothing. Remember – clothing that is not tightly woven (like a t-shirt or summer dress) has an average UPF of only 4!
For this post, I collaborated with SPF Addict, an innovative brand recently featured on the Today show. SPF addict was founded by Marina Arnold, RN, a laser skin specialist with 30 years of experience in Newport Beach, California. Marina is in high demand as a laser skin specialist, and is constantly treating people to remove years of sun damage. Her experiences inspired her to create the brand, which is a labor of love. “The most common place that I remove sun damage from is the chest,” says Marina, “I wanted a stylish alternative to help cover up some of the most vulnerable areas.”
SPF Addict is UPF 50+ (it blocks 98% of UVA and UVB rays) and chemical free. The fabric is Tencel, made from eco-friendly, organic plant cellulose fibers that are tightly woven and absorb the sun’s rays. The fabric’s effectiveness was tested in independent lab research, after 40 washings.
SPF Addict's sun protection clothing is super comfortable, fashionable, and available in men’s and women’s styles including cute shirt dresses, tees, scarves, jackets, and even pants. My personal favorites are the long sleeved tops, since they fit seamlessly with my usual casual chic weekend look and cover my chest and arms. The Summer Jewels is also one of my favorites, and has thumb-holes so you can pull the sleeves down to protect your hands.
When to use sunscreen:
From 10am-4pm, the sun’s rays are at their strongest. Even if you seek shade during this time, the rays reflect off objects and on to you, so sunscreen is always must if you aren’t protected by sun protection clothing like SPF Addict.
My favorite non-greasy formulas:
Hands down, for daily and beach use I have never tried a less greasy sunscreen than theCoppertone Clearly Sheer, in either SPF 30 or SPF 50. For my face, I use L’Oreal Paris Advanced Suncare SPF 50+ which is the least greasy of all that I’ve tried (don’t forget to get this as close to your eyes as you can tolerate for crows feet protection). I carry a small Go Toobs travel bottle of Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion with Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 15 to use as a hand cream when I wash my hands.
Every inch of your skin (including your ears and under your bathing suit) must be covered for full protection. I recommend getting naked and spraying/slathering yourself down from head to toe in the shower on beach days, and covering the majority of your limbs on other days. In the winter, I tend to rely on my clothing for protection though technically we should protect under our clothing all the time due to the low UPF of regular clothing.
Physical versus chemical sunscreen
Physical sunblock contains finely ground minerals that sit on top of your skin and block UVA/UVB rays. Look for sunscreens containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The benefit? They work to block rays immediately, and new formulas prevent the white pasty look of these creams. They don’t break down as quickly as chemical sunscreens, but I have yet to find a brand that doesn’t feel oily.
Chemical sunblock contain chemical absorbers that absorb UV rays and diffuse them before they come into contact with your skin. Which is best? Whatever one you will use. More info here.
Why do you need to reapply every 2 hours?
Since chemical sunscreens breakdown with exposure to the sun, and it’s recommended that sunscreen be applied every 2 hours when in direct sunlight, regardless of type. In temperate San Francisco, I wear bare legs and skirts or dresses to work almost daily and I’m always covered by my favorite non-greasy SPF 50 spray. According to my research, because I’m indoors most of the day my chemical sunscreen is likely still effective by the time I walk home.
I’ve always looked at myself as an experiment in age prevention. We were all born blessed with youthful skin, and I plan to keep mine that way! Some people love the feeling of the sun, which has been proven to be addicting in ways similar to heroin (more science on this here). I’ll stick to a good spray tan and a gradual self tanning lotion!
Some sun exposure myths:
- It’s never too late: Contrary to popular belief, 80 percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is not acquired before age 18; only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18.23
- UVA versus UVB rays: UVA rays are present even on cloudy days, and penetrate deeply into the skin and are most associated with aging. UVB rays are present mainly in the summer, cause burning, and are most associated with cancer. Protect against both, all year. (more http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/uva-and-uvb)
- Just one indoor tanning session increases users’ chances of developing melanoma by 20 percent, and each additional session during the same year boosts the risk almost another two percent.46