As you may know, for some time now, I have been working on creating my full beauty website. I have finally gotten to a place where I can easily transition Beauty and the Bay into Bad Ass Beauty. Though I will no longer be posting my content here, (will be keeping regular updates on Bad Ass Beauty though!) please be sure to stay up to date by following me, while I get rolling!
Welcome back to the final edition of the Skinny on Sunscreen series!
In my final post for this series, I’m going to discuss the almighty and powerful plant. Although some plant oils provide sun protection, the SPF number it provides isn’t quite as high as one would necessarily want it to be. Which leads me into our discussing picking your perfect number.
A Numbers Game
Now, you may want to refresh yourself by reading through Part I, where I discuss exactly how SPF and the number you see on the label works. A lot of this also has to do with your ethnicity, and your skin’s ability to produce melanin.
Let’s say you have beautiful, alabaster skin, you certainly (according to your background) would not want to ruin this with a blistering sunburn, by wearing an SPF 15 for a day at the beach. You may have darkly pigmented, ebony skin, but you probably don’t want to bathe yourself in zinc and titanium dioxide.
This where this really handy dandy scale comes in for estheticians like me, called the Fitzpatrick Scale.
The scale determines by your skin, eye, hair color, as well as skin sensitivity level, just how much or little you would need to protect your skin from the sun. (Although this is not it’s only use!) There are six types in the Fitzpatrick Scale, based on your level of pigment and nationality. The one pictured above is a fairly simple version, but since we’re strictly speaking sun here, it works.😉
You can easily determine your own Fitzpatrick type based on the chart above, and at which point you can determine a level of SPF you will need.
- Lighter, fair tones (1’s and 2’s) with light hair and eyes will most certainly need a SPF 35 and higher.
- Fair tones (3’s) will usually also have dark hair and eyes, burn but and gradually tan, will need around a SPF 30.
- Medium tones (4’s) also have dark hair and eyes with an olive or brown complexion, will need a minimal SPF 15.
- Deep tones (5’s and 6’s) have dark skin, hair, and eyes, but rarely will burn, not needing much of an SPF all, but can get away with 15 or less.
Take note, however, that those who have already suffered sun damage (lentigo’s, moles, etc.) will always want to choose and SPF of 35 or higher. Because your skin has already suffered damage, you will want to provide the maximum amount of protection to your skin.
I recently queried about SPF in natural, plant based oils. The thing to remember with plants, is that they don’t provide a super high amount of protection. Yes, there are some really great sunscreen products on the market which do contain these natural oils, but using them alone for an all-day outdoor session isn’t going to prevent you from burning or damaging your beautiful skin.
You can see a larger version below!
That being said, you can certainly opt for sunscreens that contain natural oils as mentioned, however you will want to make sure that your sunscreens contain a bit of zinc, or titanium dioxide.
Apply that SPF
In the final installment, we covered picking your perfect number, and learned the difference between protective oil and plants. Now that you have become well-versed in choosing sun protection, go ahead and hit that beach! Just remember to apply and re-apply your SPF!
Go Back to:
Below is a larger version of my SPF and Oils chart!
I’m taking a slight pause here in The Skinny on Sunscreen series to announce a couple of awesome happenings!
Last week, I received an email from the marketing peeps at my school, Cinta Aveda Institute… I had turned in several blogs for credit, and one of them was selected for publication! Now, I’m published in not one, but two places! Wooot! My blog piece discusses Dermatographia Urticaria, aka skin writing. Check it out here!
In addition to my blog being published, I was also offered a full time esthetician position at a boutique waxing salon! Compared to several other interviews I had experienced recently, this one felt AMAZING! At first, I was very fearful of stepping into the unknown, as I had gotten rather comfortable in my (very >.<) part-time job. However, I know that waxing is something that I have wanted to focus on in my career at this point, and I want to be a waxing QUEEN!
The beauty of the beauty industry is that you can be a chameleon in your career. In the last two years, I have gone from department store cosmetics peddler, to salon receptionist, to newb esthetician, to CIDESCO grad, to soon-to-be wax queen!
Welcome to Part II of the Skinny on Sunscreen Series! In my first two chapters, I provided you readers with some very valuable information, and it is pertinent in continuing this series. So, if you haven’t read the Introduction, or Part I, please go back and do so!
Today, there is going to be a little chemistry involved, and you definitely do not need to be a science nerd to understand it. I’ll be walking you all the way through!
What Do You Mean… CHEMICAL??!!
Okay, first things first, let’s talk about what a chemical is and is not. Basically, EVERY SINGLE THING on this planet is made up some type of chemical. Some chemicals are harmful, while others are not. Our bodies produce chemical reactions constantly. Chemicals have a stigma attached to them mainly because of marketing, as well as toxic or harmful chemicals that we have ingested from food, smoking, or otherwise.
If you need further instruction on this topic, please review some Bill Nye the Science Guy.😀
Physical Sunscreen Vs. Chemical Sunscreens
A physical sunscreen works by reflecting UV rays, for example, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide. Both are light-reflecting minerals, and are often found in mineral makeup, and effectively protect against UV A and B radiation.
A chemical sunscreen works by absorbing UV radiation. Olive oil, carrot oil, and coconut oil, are all excellent examples of chemical sunscreens. Additionally, many mass-marketed sunscreens commonly contain some type of chemical sunscreen such as oxybenzone.
Oxybenzones, and other similar physical sunscreen ingredients are often put up for debate, as to their ‘toxicity’ level, which essentially has spiraled out of control into a weird fear-mongery-food-babe type paranoia. This is where that whole SUNSCREEN GIVES YOU CANCER thing comes in.
But Sunscreen Causes Cancer!
WRONG! Sunscreen does not cause cancer. First of all, any of these ingredients are not strong enough on their own to absorb into your blood stream/lymph system/endocrine system and mutate your cells into cancery assholes.
Secondly, sunscreen as skin care product shouldn’t be penetrating into your skin anyway, because it would basically be rendered ineffective! You want your sunscreen to sit on top of your skin!
Makes sense doesn’t it?
The reason people believe this is because well, they read and believe pseudo-science. Pseudo-science, and people who claim to have cured cancer by eating an all-carrot diet, is meant to scare you into believing things aren’t what they say they are. These types of materials and information, widespread throughout the interwebz make false or exagerated claims by misusing and handling of actual scientific research.
For further reading, you can check out this IFL Science article!
Apply that SPF!
Let’s review: we learned that we, and everything else in the universe is made up some kinds of chemicals, some chemicals are harmful to humans/plants/animals/the environment, while others are not. We learned the difference between physical sunscreens and chemical sunscreens, and how they work. We also learned that sunscreen does not cause cancer, however, a lifetime of bad lifestyle choices, bad diet, lack of activity can.
Also, we learned that drinking carrot juice for 6 months straight will not prevent cancer, nor cure it. It may however, turn your skin slightly orange.
Stay tuned for Part III, where we will discuss skin cancer, how to stay safe, and valuable tips only an esthetician will give you! Coming up: Pick your perfect SPF, and all the hype about plant oils.
Welcome to my latest series, The Skinny on Sunscreen!
As I discussed in the introduction, I have encountered way too many clients who don’t wear sunscreen, or (in their defense) do sometimes, but often forget. If you’ve ever suffered a bad sunburn before, you know the absolute burning, stinging, lobster-red pain you have experienced.
Now, what the hell is all this SPF, Broad-spectrum, and UV stuff about? Lemme ‘splain.
UV = Ultra Violet. Ultra-violet is an invisible light on the spectrum. Now, I realize many of you know what a UV ray is, but trust me, many people get confused when it comes to the varying UV rays emitted by the sun. How does this factor into a burn, skin cancer, hyperpigmentation, and why can’t we just play all day in the sun?
First of all, there are three forms of UV light that we are concerned with.
You can also call these the ‘aging’ ray. UV A rays causes short term sunburn and stimulates melanin (the brown pigment in the skin) production. However, long term exposure can cause premature aging and damage to the skin.
I fondly refer to this as ‘leather-chest,’ in which someone looks 40 from the neck up, but 65 on their chest. But we’ll get more into sun damage later.
You can think of these as the ‘burning’ rays. UV B rays are the most serious to be concerned with, as these cause long term damage and severe sunburn. In particular, UV B is associated with skin cancer.
Now, with UV C rays there are varying schools of thought on whether or not they actually penetrate the atmosphere. Though they are the most dangerous, UVC rays have the shortest wavelength (which means they aren’t necessarily strong enough to make it into our atmosphere and radiate our butts to a crisp). However, I highly recommend coming to your own conclusions in regards to your own exposure.
SPF simply stands for Sun Protection Factor. What this means, is the amount of protection that a sunscreen gives, or in other words, it’s effectiveness. Roughly, based on how long it takes you to burn, you should adjust your SPF number accordingly. Therefore, if it takes you an hour to burn, then you can safely get away with using a smaller number. However, if you burn in a shorter amount of time, you will want to wear a higher number.
Keep in mind that all of this can vary greatly depending on the time of year, day, sun intensity, and your own individual self. You can better determine your personal number by multiplying your personal burn risk time by the number of SPF. Below is a handy-dandy equation for your to follow:
ex: 30 minutes x SPF 15 = 450 minutes, or 7.5 hours
Additionally, sunscreen can fade away through perspiration, water, etc. so it is important to re-apply every couple of hours!
IN EUROPE, SPF NUMBERS ARE MEASURED ON A DIFFERENT SCALE. FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, I AM BASING MY CALCULATION AND INFORMATION ON THE US SCALE. EUROPEAN NUMBERS ARE LABELED LOWER THAN US NUMBERS BY COMPARISON, THEREBY A EUROPEAN SPF 15 IS ROUGHLY A US SPF 30.
This one is simple, and also forays a bit into marketing. Broad Spectrum simply means that a sunscreen will protect against both UV A and UV B rays. The FDA also recently created a law which requires ALL sunscreens (even the SPF in your moisturizer) sold in the US screen out both UV A and B rays, thereby making ALL sunscreens effectively, ‘broad spectrum.’
I have seen quite a few sunscreens on the market that still brightly label ‘Broad Spectrum,’ but it’s seriously not going to make a difference compared the one next to it labeled ‘UV A and B protection.’
Block or Screen?
Okay, let’s set the record straight on this. Often times, people refer to sunscreen as ‘sunblock.’ This is not correct, and it’s also rather outdated. There is no chance in this universe as we know it that a sunscreen, t-shirt, hat, or otherwise will block–as in physically block–the sun’s rays. (We’ll get more into physical vs. chemical sunscreens later–and no, neither are harmful to you! In the mean time please do not confuse the chemistry of sunscreen with type of protection a sunscreen provides!)
Applying That SPF!
Let’s review! We learned the difference between the major ultra-violet rays we are exposed to, and we also learned how they effect us. We learned our numbers, and how to calculate which SPF is right for us! We also learned the correct terminology when referring to a sunscreen.
In the next part of this series, we will learn about ingredients, chemistry, and all about the anti-sunscreen hype. We will also discuss basic types of sun damage and skin cancer. Let me firmly state (again!) that sunscreen does not cause disease! Stay tuned for Part II!
Welcome to my latest installment series, Meet Your SPF.
As a beauty pro, I too often have clients who don’t wear sunscreen, or even sometimes, kinda, sorta, forget it. They know it’s there, in their medicine cabinet or beauty drawer, but just never seem to wear it. And can you guess what one of the most common complaints I hear from my clients? Freckles. Age spots. Dark spots. Yet, many seem to never, or barely ever wear sunscreen!
I have even come face to face with a scarier subject: skin cancer.
Please note, that as an esthetician, i cannot make diagnoses or inform a client that she has a melanoma, OR OTHERWISE. I do not make diagnoses, and will refer the client to a dermatologist, or their pcp, IF I DO HAPPEN UPON ANYTHING SUSPICIOUS.
Now, without making this into some huge fear-mongering series, I intend on informing all of you readers out there the science, marketing, and down-right skinny on sunscreen. I will be including topics such as ingredients, ultra-violet radiation, and a handy dandy guide to knowing your numbers… Should you be wearing an SPF 15 or 75??
Look no further, as the following installments will give you the ultimate guide on sunscreen, making the aisle in the supermarket or drugstore, a lot less daunting. Per a fan request, I will also be giving some insight into ‘natural’ sunscreens like olive oil, and how can those work for and against you.
Stay tuned for Part I of the Skinny on Sunscreen!
So I have done a lot of deliberating, meditating, and although this veers off from what I have been posting regarding the status of BATB as well as Bad Ass Beauty, I have to decided to no longer maintain my Bad Ass Beauty domain, with my current income/expense level. However, I will be keeping Bad Ass Beauty going, by transitioning into a WordPress site & Blog, under the Bad Ass Beauty moniker.
I have also taken this time that I haven’t been blogging to regain my social life, and basically come down off of the CIDESCO rollercoaster.😀 I have reprioritized my goals as an esthie, and put more effort into always improving my skills at work. Also I had a special visitor in town, so that has also occupied a bit of my time.
With that, I have some great super amazing awesome blog posts to announce…
The Skinny on Sunscreen!
I was recently inspired by an anti-sunscreen post I had seen from a Facebook aquaintance. Her posts progressively sounded more and more nutty. I promptly removed her as a friend. I had faced previous situations such as this, and I encourage everyone to educate themselves. This foray into sunscreen will be another in my series format, providing scientifically backed information, as well as all those lurking, confusing questions you may have. Olive oil or octinoxate? What???
I will even explain a bit about skin cancer, and how melenin production works in the skin!
As a working esthetician, I often find my clients use products that, although are budget-friendly, often contain not-so-great ingredients. Having been studying cosmetics chemistry, everything from our mositruzer, to our face wash can contain both good and bad ingredients.
Afraid of that word, “chemical?” Well, I’ll be also providing some education on exactly what it means when you say chemical! For starters, everything is a “chemical,” but the word takes a bad rap when it comes to harmful ingredients the masses often fear.
This is also going to be in a longer series format, in which I will explore the esthetician’s arch nemesis: Apricot Scrub* and talk about how moisturizers containing SPF work (and don’t work).
Bad Ass Beauty Mantras Continue!
While trying to finish my remainder of CIDESCO, I found it too exhausting with my schedule and upkeeping the Bad Ass Beauty Mantra. However, with a little more freedom in my schedule, they are returning!
Although I have fielded a few questions through my Facebook page, I would love to keep providing this. Not sure what type of spa service is right for you? New to skincare? Think that one product is going to do everything? Ask away!
See you soon! Look forward to my Skinny on Sunscreen Series soon!