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Sunning Safely
by Wendy Fitos

I usually put a humorous twist to my articles because I want women to remember that keeping the skin in good shape and applying makeup do not require a college degree or hours of long hard work.

This month's topic covers learning how to protect yourself from the sun which as I continue to work with clients I am discovering that women are getting so many mixed messages that many are harming themselves when their goal is to do just the opposite. I regard sun safety as a very important topic as skin cancer continues to climb as a leading cause of death in the country.

The sun is very good for many reasons. Sun is the best resource for Vitamin D available and doctors actually encourage getting a daily dose to improve health and positive attitudes. People want to get outside and do physical activity that will help tackle many of the pounds that are mysteriously put on during the autumn and winter months.

The sun becomes a problem when the skin is not prepared for the strength of the rays that are being ingested.

Using sunscreen is important to all skin colors and types, as darker skins are just as prone to damage as lighter skin types. Although dark skins contain more melanin, which is the chemical in our bodies that give the skin its color, the texture of the skin can be very thin that needs to be protected.

The best type of sunscreen to use is one containing a UVA/UVB protection spectrum as UVA rays cause aging and UVB rays cause burning. Although there are many sunscreens on the market that carry an SPF higher than 30, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to recognize anything over an SPF 30 as being more protective to the skin.

I have many women ask me why the moisturizer they are using that contain an SPF is not enough protection for being out in the sun when they are walking or gardening and it is a question I am more than ready to answer. Moisturizers with SPF only protect the skin from minimum exposure to the sun which occurs let's say when we drive to work or are running errands from store to store.

Unless specifically stated on the bottle, most moisturizers with sunscreens may not contain protection from both UVA and UVB rays which is why for long exposure to the sun, a full sunscreen is needed in conjunction with a moisturizer for both the face and the body.

The other question I seem to answer the most is how to understand how an SPF protects the skin when we are outside. Many of us assume that an SPF 30 applied once for the entire time we plan to be out is enough to protect the skin. What the SPF 30 means is that our skin is protected for the time we can stay out in the sun without noticing any pinkness in our skin.

For example, if you are out in the sun and you notice your skin getting a tint of pink within 10 minutes you multiply the 10 minutes times the SPF 30 which means you get protection for 300 minutes or about 5 hours. This equation is an ideal world situation.

When thinking about applying sunscreen, it is also important to take into consideration whether you will be heavily sweating, swimming or the location in which you are getting the sun which may be many times warmer than the sun in Cleveland. Sunscreen application is the one exception to the rule that less is not more.

In this article, I am covering the basics of sun care. For more information on how to protect your skin, I suggest going to the website of the American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation.


Wendy Fitos is a licensed Makeup Artist and Esthetician. She can be reached to schedule consultations and lessons at Spa Ostara, 24945 Detroit Road, Westlake, Ohio 44145 (440)-835-2922 or by email at MkeupJunki@aol.com.



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