If summer and sunscreen aren’t as synonymous to you as peanut butter and jelly, they really should be. Skincare isn’t where the mind goes when contemplating activities like surfing, biking, and volleyball, yet beyond sunburn, the sun can have a devastating effect on the skin itself. And it’s important to understand why.
As a skin care doctor in Vancouver, Dr. Roz Kamani is adamant about the importance of applying sunscreen year round, no matter the weather. But in the summer it’s even more important—and that’s regardless of skin tone or one’s tendency to burn.
“My concern for clients is related to both Health and Beauty,” says Dr. Kamani. “Sunburn is ultimately skin death. It causes a cascade of inflammation and damage at the cellular level, and that damage can go well beyond the swelling, peeling, and discomfort of the sunburn alone.”
Any impact visible on the skin is damage—tanning is damage, reddening is damage. And beyond the discomfort, the really scary thing is the long-term impact. According to some skincare doctors, if you get just one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence, you have more than doubled your chances of developing melanoma later in life.
While skin cancer is certainly the most significant reason to diligently use your sunscreen, long-term effects of sunburn also include premature aging. UV damage accounts for 90% of visible signs of aging such as lines and wrinkles, or other signs of sun damage like brown spots. And if you haven’t been protecting your skin, the signs can start showing up as early as your twenties.
When the skin changes colour, it’s an indication that your skin’s natural defenses are being overwhelmed. In the case of bad burns, the damage leads to an engorgement of the blood vessels from the second layer of the skin, the dermis. Liquid ends up being released in this process, and that liquid needs someplace to go—which manifests as a blister. Even freckling is a kind of defense mechanism—it’s like the skin throwing up a little shield to protect the DNA.
“Sunscreen does not require a very high SPF to be effective,” says Dr. Kamani. “Even SPF 15 will block out 94% of the damaging rays. But most people tend to skimp because they don’t like the texture, smell, or chalkiness. A dab about the size of a quarter is all that’s required for the face. If you don’t want to apply as much screen, then opt for a higher SPF. And it’s always important to invest in a good product.”
Dr. Kamani carries sunscreen from two distinguished lines at her skin care clinic in Kitsilano. ZO Skin Health and SkinCeuticals both offer an array of products that are both clinically tested and pleasant to wear.
It’s important to find a sunscreen that really works with your lifestyle, and it can be difficult to choose between all the lotions, sticks, and sprays on the market today. So come in and learn more about the products that are right for you. Ask for a free skincare consultation by calling 604.222.9998