My daily sunscreen... rain, hail or shine?

Do you apply daily sunscreen for health or beauty?

The importance of applying daily sunscreen for prevention of skin cancers and the preservation of youthful skin cannot be more emphasised - sun damage begins in our youth and even a single episode of sunburn can increase the risk of later developing deadly melanoma.

It is common knowledge that UV light plays a major role in the development of skin cancer. Studies have long demonstrated that using sunscreen on a daily basis can help prevent the development of skin cancer, premature aging, and exacerbation of some skin conditions. Although there are several sun protective measures available, sunscreen remains the most popular and widely used. Sunscreens on the market today contain either organic (chemical) or inorganic (physical) UV filters, or a combination of both based on their chemical composition and photo-protection mechanisms.

 

I stress to my children and whoever I consult to, the need for them to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin every day, regardless of the weather and whether it may be sunny, raining, clear or cloudy. Harmful UV radiation mostly passes through clouds and enters through windows, and bounces around from the reflective glassy and metallic surfaces of our urban environments. Looking up the daily UV Index gives us another parameter to prepare ourselves with.  A really useful and free Android or i-Phone/i-Pad App is available from Victorian SunSmart program that allows you to receive your local area UV Index and relevant customised reminders and alerts.

I know that there have been media reports on the possible health dangers of wearing sunscreens. I have even heard such uncertainty expressed by people working in the pharmacy industry! They all misrepresent the present evidence, which is that there are absolutely no health risks from wearing current sunscreens on intact human skin. If you have any concerns please speak with me about them and I can direct you to the correct evidence that dispels such misinformation.

Does skin health or keeping our looks, matter most?

If you have trouble encouraging your children to take responsibility to apply their own sunscreen, you will appreciate the following information and videos! 

They come from a recent American study which demonstrated that Year 11 teenagers were 3 times more likely to use sunscreen if they were educated (with a 5 minute video) on the beauty benefits of wearing sunscreen and preventing wrinkles, rather than similar education on the health benefits and preventing skin cancers! It suggests that appearance-based messages may be more effective than traditional medical health-based ones in promoting sun protection measures - and maybe not just in teenagers!

In my daily consultations, I find that messages may be more powerful if they speak to you now. Appearance-based messages are more about tangible short-term risk, versus health-based messages about abstract long-term risk.

See for yourself in the short videos below. Note that you will have to click on the video links twice to view them on YouTube in another tab.

Health-based educational video

Appearance-based educational video

Which video do you prefer and is more likely to  influence your behaviour?

Please share them with others, especially those with children as they were specifically designed for a younger audience :)

At Clinica Medico Estetica, I have a win if the single most important message I can convey to anyone, regardless of age, is to wear daily sunscreen for both skin health and appearance benefits. That is over and above the importance of any other topical creams, lotions, serums or  other treatments.  I know that the biggest barrier to wearing daily sunscreen has always been the acceptability characteristics of the product, with most traditional sunscreens being thick, greasy and clogging, cosmetically unsuitable to wear  under make-up or other skincare products. Those issues are now past, with modern formulation technology bypassing the problem and giving us lightweight yet full strength SPF 50+ lotions that  quickly absorb dry, allowing layering of our other skincare products as needed. Remember that you must apply your sunscreen on first, onto clean dry skin, and that moisturisers and make-ups containing some SPF are not designed to replace dedicated sunscreen but to augment sunscreen and work in conjunction or as an adjunct to it.

We stock some of the most advanced sunscreens that do allow you to layer up with your day creams and make-up and  they are reasonably priced. So why not stop by at any time to try some on and see what you think!

Treating sun damaged skin is our special interest, so if you feel you haven't worn enough sunscreen in the past and are now showing the effects of sun damage, please visit us for a no-obligation consultation to learn what you can do about it now!