Everything You Need to Know About Sun Protection

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Everything You Need to Know About Sun Protection

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Michela Marra | Wednesday May 16th 2018

I never really learned to love the seaside until I realized the source of my discomfort there: it’s not the sand, not the heat, or even the saltiness that creates that annoying tight skin sensation. My real problem with the seaside was my incredibly sensitive skin. A single ray of sunshine would leave me with long lasting irritation.  If I did not use at least 50 SPF for the first ten days of sunbathing, I would become as red as a lobster.

And until ten years ago, I had really no idea how to protect my skin. By now, I have learned my lesson, and my sun care has made a total 180.

The good news: technology and research in sun protection have made great leaps in the last decade, and safely catching some rays is no longer a mysterious challenge, not even for my delicate skin. For every one of us, the right sunscreen exists to help us live our best vacation lives peacefully, with the necessary precautions.

To get my skin right for the summer ahead, I asked all of the best Italian dermatologists for their guidance. With their expertise, I sought to create a beauty routine for the summer prevent any kind of sunburn or irritation for any skin type. Because if you go on vacation (especially a long one), isn’t it nice to just enjoy yourself without any worry?

From beauty tips to advice and even a few personal challenges, here is what you need to know before you take off for you sea destination (or even mountain).

Let’s start with the basics: how do I pick the right sunscreen for my skin?
When it comes to sun protection, no skin type cannot benefit from a high SPF. Your immediate goal may be to prevent burning or discomfort in the immediate future, but please always remember that long term sun damage is pretty much irreversible, and overexposure to the sun without protection if the leading factor in skin cancer, which affects all skin. Historically, women with darker skin have been told they need less sun protection, but we now know that all skin needs high level protection from the sun.

So as your first step, it is better to study how your skin reacts to the sun. This is also highly dependent on your location (latitude and height) and certain skin situations such as recent esthetic treatments, tattoos or the predisposition of hyperpigmentation.

SPF 50: do I still get tan?
The answer is: absolutely. Let’s debunk the myth that higher SPF means no tan. It’s quite the opposite actually, with high level sun protection, your beachy bronze will last even longer. When choosing your sunscreen, make sure that it has all of the necessary filters (UVA, UVB, and IR) and check to see how the formulation of the ingredients defend the skin and reinforce your natural mechanisms of repair.

It’s the morning; I get up, have my healthy breakfast (rich with fruit containing Vitamin C and antioxidants) and put on my bathing suit. I throw my sunscreen in my bag and head to the beach. Am I good to go?
Well, kind of… Experts say that it is necessary to slather yourself with sunscreen at least 20 minutes before being exposed to the sun. That strong sun can even get you on your walk to the beach, which means you can potentially burnt just trying to find your spot in the sand.

What is the right amount of sunscreen to apply to your whole body?
The minimum quantity to apply is about two milligrams per sq cm of skin. Considering that the average skin surface of an adult, you should be using 30-35 grams of product, so let’s just say more or less the size of a golf ball for each application. If you reduce the quantity, you reduce the level of protection.

This is annoying and time-consuming, is there any way to get out of it?
No. Take the time to care for your skin and your skin will take care of you.

My must-have product for the summer of 2018:

Lancaster Sun Sensitive Body SPF 50

Not only does this have the UVA and UVB filters, it contains Lancaster’s Full Light Technology, which offers a unique protection against Visible Light and Infrared rays.

Skin Cream: how to pick the right protection (and use makeup while on your vacation)
The only way to defend yourself from sunspots is by using the maximum protection available. If you are not using a SPF 50, a 30 SPF should suffice, but should be reapplied, just like your body, every two hours. Not a fan of sunscreen? I also love to use a foundation that uniforms my color and protects me from UV radiation. Lots of these makeup products are out there in the market, from foundation to lipstick even powder and primers with sun filters included (you can even use these in the city). Don’t give up that touch up just because you are at the beach.

The product that is dear to my heart

UV Protective Compact Foundation SPF30 di Shiseido

Do darker skin tones need less protection?
The answer is no. Regardless of your skin tone, you for sure need to protect yourself from UVA rays, which penetrate deep to cause skin ageing, and from infrared rays, which are invisible and have the capacity to heat the skin, causing the inflammation of capillaries and worsening any varicose veins, according to AIRC, Associazine Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro.

I want to spend the day beachside, is sunscreen enough to protect me?
Sunscreen doesn’t cut it. Before going to the beach, don’t forget to bring with you a pair of sunglasses to protect you from the sun rays, and a hat to cover the décolletageand lower part of the neck, which we regularly forget.

I love to run, and I normally protect myself with sunscreen. Is applying before my work out enough?Not really. Your application should be reapplied often, if you sweat or every time you go in the water. “If your objective is to be active for a long time, then it is necessary that the sunscreen is resistant to water and sweat” says Piergiacaomo Calzavara Pinton, President of SIDeMast (Società Italiana di Dermatologia medica). Forget about super thick or sticky creams – nowadays there are creams with an invisible formula, not oily and easy to apply, but most of all a higher resistance over traditional sun filters.

My Top Product

Expert Sun Aging Protection Lotion SPF50 WETFORCE di Shiseido 

Ideal for swimmers, this cream is made of an innovative technology that uses some of the components in water and your sweat to reinforce the UV protection.

At the end of the day, is a fresh shower enough to calm my senses from the heat and red skin?
A soothing bath gel is a good solution, but not enough. After a long day in the sun, your skin is fragile and needs a little TLC. Make sure to carry an After Sun cream. “It should be applied right after your shower and slather on your whole body, including your face,” says dermatologist Magda Belmontesi. After Sun cream does not substitute certain anti-age and hydration treatments that are part of our everyday beauty routine. Experts suggest applying the After Sun cream after showering, and to follow up with night cream or anti-age cream right before going to bed. Some important advice: stay away from exfoliating or spot treatment products after you have been in the sun.

An extra beauty tip: make sure to stock up on your antioxidant vitamins – like Vitamin E, that has a reconstructing effect on your skin – and some vegetable extracts (Goji Berries, Soy, and Aloe), which calm redness and protect your epidermis.

Two in One Cream: Hydrating and After Sun

Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-replenishing Hydrator di Clinique 

A light and refreshing gel-cream that stimulates the natural reserve of hydration in your skin. The new auto-replenishing technology works nonstop for 72 hours, leaving your skin smooth and polished, even after you have washed your face.

I want to leave you Pretty Birds with some of my final suggestions that I have found useful for myself in order to really enjoy the sun:

1) Face and body products in gel form are amazing for the summer. Pick a cream for its fresh texture; it will be even simpler to apply it throughout the day. Love a good spray? The new products out there make your life that much easier because it always equally distributes the cream.

2) Stick some hydrating face masks in your suitcase.  It is important to enrich your skin.

3) Don’t forget an eye cream with a high SPF, the same one that you use for the your city beauty routine; that beautiful face of yours never gets a vacation from the sun.

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