Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sunscreen – arm yourself this summer!


Happy New Year! I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing some serious NOTHING, most of it outside and with very little on. I’m never far from a hat though, and some serious sun protection.
Whenever I’ve asked beauty experts – be they dermatologists, make up artists or cosmetic surgeons – for their pick when it comes to anti ageing skincare, they all agree that the most important thing you can do to keep your skin looking good well into old age is wear a sunscreen. Daily. No arguments, no forgetting on a cloudy day, no saying, “my olive complexion is a sunblock in itself”! Oh, and last year’s model won’t cut it either – most sunblocks don’t last more than 12 months after being opened, so always reinvest.
Finding the right sunscreen to fit your skin type and your lifestyle is vital, and many more of us are option for all-natural versions due to the fact that many chemicals found in your average supermarket brand sunblock can be more harmful to your health than the sun. The most controversial is Oxybenzone, which can change the way hormones work in our bodies. The result could mean something as relatively benign and not life threatening as fertility issues, and then something as potentially life threatening as hormone sensitive cancers, like breast, prostate, ovarian cancers. In Europe, sunscreens with oxybenzone must carry a warning label on the bottle. Still, others say that wearing sunscreen laced with oxybenzone is better than wearing none at all.
When choosing a sunscreen, it is important to select a reflective, non-absorbent formula, as the UVA and UVB chemicals are less likely to be absorbed into the bloodstream and are easier to wash off. Zinc and Titanium seem to be the best and safest on the market. Local beauty expert Lucy Marr tells me that second up, “look for a sunscreen high in antioxidants - ingredients such as Vitamin E. They protect the skin from damage by UV rays, help keep the formulation stable on the skin and "mop up" any free radicals”. She recommends Cosmedix Reflect, a titanium, non nano formulation in a spray form that provides excellent protection.
I recently travelled to the – very sunny –South of France, and before I left made the trip out to buy a new sunscreen for my son. He’d previously worn one by Dr. Hauschka that is now impossible to find, so I asked for the next best thing and was presented with one by Soléo Organics, a name I’d never heard of previously. Their sunscreen only contains natural and organic ingredients, so it is ideal for young children, people with sensitive skin and those who are simply health conscious. The brand’s formulations use zinc technology combined with antioxidants and plant extracts to provide comprehensive sun protection, without leaving your skin a rather unattractive ghostly white. The zinc oxide is the only non-organic ingredient in there, only because minerals cannot be certified as organic. Another super popular option is Invisible Zinc’s Face and Body Sunscreen SPF 30+, which is an easy-to-spread natural sunscreen that provides high broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. It’s very low irritant and is perfect for outdoor activities and beneath make-up.
A great way to ensure you wear sunblock everyday is to choose a moisturizer that already contains a more than decent one. I currently use Ultimate Zinc, which is the creation of Sydney cosmetic surgeon Dr. Michael Miroshnik. It is moisturising, anti-inflammatory and healing, as well as harbouring a super high protection factor. Another goodie is Osmosis Shelter from The Marr Lab, which is like a treatment and sunscreen in one. Like Ultimate Zinc, it’s only good for your skin as well as having a high level of protection built in. It’s also the perfect make up base, so there’s no excuse for ranting and raving that sunblock messes with your base.
Anyway… whatever your pick, a good sunscreen is a must this summer – don’t leave home without it!

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