Protect Your Skin from the Sun

Protect Your Skin from the Sun

Excessive exposure to the sun can affect your skin in various ways. Some changes, like increased wrinkles and freckles, may be frustrating but not necessarily dangerous. However, changes in color or unusual marks may indicate a deeper problem, like early stages of skin cancer. To protect your skin from the sun, there are several things to keep in mind.

How dangerous is the sun? There are many elements to factor into this equation. With the right precautions, you can enjoy those blissful rays of sunshine without having to worry about causing permanent damage to your skin.  And reduce your chances of developing various types of skin cancers.

Sun damage develops over time, so it is never too late to get started on a sun protection regimen and implement it in your everyday life.

Maximum Exposure

The sun is most intense between the hours of 10am and 4pm If you look down and notice a shorter shadow, try to find some shade.

While these are the prime hours for sun exposure, spending more than fifteen minutes out in the sun warrants some protection for your skin.

Things You Can Do to Protect Your Skin

If relying on shade is not an option, there are a few other things you can do to protect your skin:

Look for a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 to deflect and absorb damaging UV rays. SkinCeuticals offers a variety of sunscreen formulas, from mattifying sunscreens for oily skin to water resistant sunscreens specifically designed for extreme outdoor workouts. Apply at least 15 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

Apply Protective Lip Balm

Many people forget to protect their lips when venturing out into the sun, even though they are highly susceptible to burns. Be sure to apply a protective lip balm every hour.

Shield Your Eyes

The sun can wreak havoc on the eyes, causing wrinkles and other signs of aging. It could also cause cataracts, which affect your vision.

Cover your eyes, and the skin around them, with sunglasses. Wider lenses offer more protection, and make sure they have a label indicating 100% protection from UV rays.

Hang on to Your Hat

Create your own shade with a wide-brimmed hat that covers your face, ears, and neck.

Choose UPF Clothing

Like sunscreen, UPF clothing ranges from 15 to 50+, with higher levels offering more protection. These clothes have a special coating that help absorb UVA and UVB rays. Darker, tightly woven fabrics also provide more protection in general.

Treating Damaged Skin

There are several moisturizing creams and anti-inflammatories available for relieving sunburns. Even wearing sunscreen on a daily basis can help your skin heal and possibly reverse the damage. However, if blisters develop, you should seek medical care.

You should also watch for other warning signs, like freckles or other marks that are unusual in shape or color. Many symptoms of skin damage can be treated by medical professionals if caught in the early stages.

Sun Exposure and Damage: Q & A

Question: “How long can I safely be exposed to the sun, without sunscreen?”

Answer: It’s difficult to say. In the past, the ozone layer helped protect us by blocking harmful UV rays. Over the years the ozone layer has decreased due to air pollution and other environmental factors. As stated by the American Skin Association, we need to better protect ourselves.

A few minutes in the sun, here and there should be OK and can be beneficial, however, the time should be limited 10 – 15 minutes a day.

Question: “When do I need to wear sunscreen?”

Answer: The sun doesn’t sleep in the winter or even on a cloudy day. In fact, cloudy days can even be worse because you don’t feel the rays coming through as much. But guess what? They are still there. Incorporate sunscreen into your daily skin routine for maximum protection from the sun.

Question: “Is there any way to reverse or stop sun damage once you have gotten it?

Answer: Keeping up with regular sun protection throughout the year does help and can reverse or even stop further damage. Other things to do along with sunscreen use are moisturizing, exfoliation (to remove dead cells), staying hydrated, and always follow your doctor’s orders if there are any concerns.

Question: “Is there any way to reverse or stop sun damage once you have gotten it?

Answer: Keeping up with regular sun protection throughout the year does help and can reverse or even stop further damage. Other things to do along with sunscreen use are moisturizing, exfoliation (to remove dead cells), staying hydrated, and always follow your doctor’s orders if there are any concerns.

Protecting your skin from the sun is a necessary way to keep your skin healthy and looking youthful. Utilize protection everyday for the best results.

Not sure which one to try?

SkinCeuticals offers a range of protection for varying skin types and lifestyles, that deflect and absorb those harmful rays. To find the best one for you check out their line of products here:

Melasma: Symptoms and Treatment

Melasma: Symptoms and Treatment

Have you noticed skin discoloration on your face or chest? Melasma, a common skin problem, often presents as tan, brown or greyish-blue marks on the parts of our bodies that get the most sun. While this skin issue appears on a lot of women during pregnancy, men and woman of all ages are susceptible.

 What is Melasma?  

Melasma is a skin discoloration condition that most commonly affects women between the ages of 20 and 50 years old. It can also affect men; however, it is extremely rare. Melasma normally appears on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin, and upper lip in the form of dark irregularly-shaped blotches.

Pregnant women, those who take chemical contraceptives, or postmenopausal women who take progesterone replacement therapy commonly come down with this condition.  Melasma in pregnant women is also known as chloasma, or “the mask of pregnancy”.

 Cause and Symptoms of Melasma?  

At the bottom end of your outer layer of skin, you have cells called melanocytes. These are what produce melanin. A change in your progesterone and estrogen levels combined with sun exposure can stimulate the irregular production of melanin. This is the most common cause of melasma. In and of itself, this condition causes no other symptoms beyond the skin blotches. It is a cosmetic condition and has not been linked to cancer or any other dangerous skin diseases.

However, autoimmune thyroid disease and Addison’s disease have been associated with melasma. The development of Addison’s disease can cause melasma above the kidney area. Therefore, if discoloration occurs in other areas than your face, you may want to consult a doctor for additional information and testing.

Can It be Treated?  

Fortunately, there are several treatment options for this condition. There are many topical treatments that will reduce melasma such as hydroquinone, cysteine hydrochloride, or azelaic acid. Some patients also respond to microdermabrasion which removes the outer layer of skin reducing dark areas.

There are products on the market recommended by skin care professionals that can help with skin discoloration treatment. Different products offer multi-layered hyperpigmentation correction that can assist with existing spots, block excess melanin, or boost pigment resistance.

An effective chemical peel can be an excellent option to consider. Chemical peels are capable of reducing discoloration and providing your skin with an overall improved, more even tone.

Melasma can develop slowly and it takes a while to clear up.  Skin type plays a role in determining the best treatment.  Melasma caused by serious sun exposure can be the most difficult to treat.

Preventing Melasma 

While many cures exist, including chemical peels and skincare products, you can take preventive measures to lessen your odds of acquiring melasma.

Avoid excess sun exposure, and wear shade-giving hats if you must be outside for a long duration of time.  Sunblock and sunglasses are extremely important as well.  A sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 which contains physical blockers like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide is recommended.

Contact NJVVC today for advice on achieving a more youthful, glowing look.

Editor’s Note: This blog has been updated in May 2024

Chemical Peels: Separating Fact from Fiction

Chemical Peels: Separating Fact from Fiction

Chemical peels have gotten a bad rap due to DIY horror stories, but they’re actually a great way to treat a number of skin issues when administered by a qualified physician. They increase skin turnover to improve the appearance of acne, mild scarring, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, sun damage, discoloration, and dark spots. They’re also great for improving the youthful appearance of skin, so they’re not just for people with skin problems.
Properly applied skin peels can change the look and feel of your skin with minimal down time. We want to dispel the most common myths and misconceptions about chemical peels.
  • Myth: All chemical peels are painful.
  • Truth: The level of discomfort depends on the depth of the peel. Most people will only feel a light tingling sensation, which can increase with deeper peels. A physician can help you determine the level of peel you will need to achieve your desired results but, peels should not be painful. During the procedure you may feel a slight tightening of the skin and after the procedure your skin may be slightly sensitive. You shouldn’t do anything that might irritate your skin for a few days, such as use any type of exfoliant. Staying hydrated is essential for your skin.
  • Myth: You must stay home for days after a chemical peel because of flaky skin, redness and sun exposure.
  • Truth: In most cases, you can go about your day directly following a peel. Many people can even apply makeup after our Lunchtime Peel. Modern peels are gentler on the skin, so there’s less irritation and downtime after a treatment, but it may depend on the type and sensitivity of your skin and how deep a peel you get.
  • Myth: You can do chemical peels at home.
  • Truth: Chemical peels should only be performed by a qualified physician. There are many factors that affect the success of a peel, such as skin sensitivity and skin disorders. Performing a peel without professional training can lead to severe complications or even permanent damage to your skin.
We’ve seen many patients who have actually caused damage to their skin and come to us for help. A professionally administered peel will always yield better results.

An experienced physician should properly assess your skin, take time to understand what you are trying to achieve, and provide you with realistic expectations. Only then can they determine the right application for you, and the correct length of time the product should remain on your skin. For some people, getting a series of peels will achieve the best results.

  • Myth:  Skin Peels Are Not Safe
  • Truth: One of the most common questions we get is, “are skin peels safe”?  When performed by a professionally trained physician or esthetician in a controlled setting, and if all pre-procedure and post-procedure instructions are followed, skin peels are safe.
For best results, the procedure should take place in a sanitary medical environment where the appropriate steps can be followed before, during, and after the application.
Chemical peels are a wonderful, non-invasive way to improve the look of your skin. At NJVVC, we’ll work with you to determine the best solution for your skin.
Contact us today to schedule an evaluation and find out which chemical peel is right for you.
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