The Sun’s Relationship With Your Skin

What you need to know about the sun’s relationship to skin, a message from your Medical Aesthetician.

We are all celebrating the break in the cold weather as spring is waking up in our city. The warmth and light of the sun is a truly wonderful and healing part of life.

It is important to understand how the sun affects your skin so that you can enjoy it safely. As you read this, please don’t stress about the past! I’m here to help you to deal with the results of those experiences, but we’ll get to that in another article. The amazing star that warms our planet and gives it light and life should not be scorned for its scorch; it’s our responsibility to learn and take care.

Sunlight is composed of visible light, infrared light, and UV (ultraviolet) light. UV light is a form of light energy – a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, or solar spectrum – which is harmful to us. UV radiation is a proven carcinogen and has three wavelengths: A, B, and C. UVC has the shortest wavelength and is mostly absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere.

UVA rays have the longest and most damaging wavelength and are not blocked by clouds, windows, or most clothing. 80% of UVA light still comes through on a cloudy day, which means you should wear sunscreen every day, no matter the weather. These wavelengths also travel the deepest into the skin, into the dermis and the hypodermis causing damage to the collagen and elastin fibers. The dermis is comprised of 70% collagen and is commonly referred to as the “scaffolding” of the skin, holding it up and giving it structure. The effect of UVA light becomes obvious over time as it accelerates the signs of aging – even if it never amounts to a sunburn. The damage is invisible and gradual, and the cumulative effects of this damage show up later as thickened, aged skin.

UVB is a shorter wavelength which cannot pass through window glass. It primarily affects the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, then gradually travels to the dermis. The radiation intensity of UVB is about a thousand times stronger than UVA, and it’s the major cause of skin cancer as it is highly cytotoxic (toxic to living cells) and mutates DNA. UVB is responsible for sun burns and tanning, both of which are forms of skin cell damage. Most commonly over time, this damage presents (visually) as dark spots, thinned skin which shows veins, enlarged pores, textural issues, and more. The saving grace of UVB is that it does contribute to the body’s synthesis of Vitamin D. While sunlight itself does not contain Vitamin D (a common misconception), it does aid in its synthesis.

What we experience with radiation on the skin is “free radical damage”. Free radicals attack and steal the electrons of our cells causing cellular confusion. They cause inflammation, oxidation, and photoaging. This is why antioxidants, which have extra electrons to support cellular function while correcting and protecting, should be a core aspect of everybody’s skin care routine.

L-Ascorbic acid, or Vitamin C, is a common antioxidant used in skincare. L-Ascorbic acid is an unstable molecule; it doesn’t hold potency when exposed to open air or light and needs to be properly processed in a lab. Look for medical grade serums with 10% (or higher) Vitamin C or ask your Medical Aesthetician for recommendations.

Other antioxidants for your skin include Vitamin E and A. For some people who struggle with acne, Vitamin E can be too heavy and cause breakouts. In others, it helps oxidative stress and softens the outer layers of the skin, thus aiding in a clear complexion. As we are all so unique, it is important to have discussions about your skin and skincare routine with an educated professional. Skincare consultations at Papillon Medical are always complimentary, and we invite you to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have.

One last point about sun protection is that not all sunscreens are good for you. Many drug store, chemical-based sunscreens actually contain free radicals themselves! There are two types of sun protection products: physical blocks and chemical screens. Physical sun blocks (look for products that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) do not penetrate the skin. Chemical sunscreens need to be reapplied often, as they are absorbed into the skin and are processed through the body. Many people find physical sun blocks too heavy and white appearing to want to use them on their face; this is why medical grade skin care lines have created a variety of blended physical/chemical sunscreens. My favorite way to protect my skin without looking like I’m wearing a mountain of sunblock is to use any ZO sunscreen after my moisturizer, and then dust Jane Iredale Pressed Powder (which has a mineral SPF of 25, made to match all skin tones) overtop. Finish with a spritz of rose petal water for a dewy set.

I hope this message inspires you all to reach for your sunscreen and add antioxidants A, C, and E into your daily face and body routine – especially during this warmer weather.

By Nicole Whiteside, Medical Aesthetician / Laser Technician
Papillon Medical & Dermatology

Summer Skin Check-in

Is it just us, or do you have that inescapable feeling that summer seems shorter with each passing year? Perhaps that fleeting feeling is why we become unabashed sun-seekers taking every opportunity to bask in its warm rays. We doze off on the beach, always opt for the table on the patio, and pop open the sunroof at every chance.

While we fully endorse taking full advantage of the inherent pleasure summer brings, we also know that’s it’s easy to overdo it. It’s probably time for a mid-summer check-in to make sure you’re treating your skin well.

1. Use sunscreen every day. We know you know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — and that is especially true when it comes to preventing sun damage. To fully protect yourself against harmful UVA and UVB rays, it’s essential to use a high-quality product with an SPF of at least 30.

Daily sunscreen application has come a long way from the smelly, goopy formulas that make you look like a ghost. We carry a wide range of luxury sunscreen products that can help you achieve your specific skin-care goals, including products from ZO Skin Health. Our go-to for summer is the ZO Skin Health Daily Sheer SPF 50 Sunscreen. It goes on nice and smooth and doesn’t leave you oily throughout the day. 

2. Apply sunscreen throughout the day for maximum sun protection. We are in love with any beauty product that serves more than one purpose, that’s why we love the Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50 by Colorescience. This handy mineral powder sunscreen has a hint of colour and a bit of shimmer to help your skin look its best. Keep one in your car, one in your purse, one at your desk, and one at home to make sure protection is never very far away. 

3. Give your skin some extra TLC with the Teoysal Redensity 1 Beauty Booster — it’s like an Instagram filter for your skin. You might have seen this treatment and its amazing results all over social media and YouTube. Let us assure you, it really is a game-changer!

We use a V2 injector to deliver Teoysal Redensity 1 directly to the face, lower eyelid, forehead, neck, décolleté or hands. This unique product stimulates growth factors while producing hydration and nourishment to the upper layer of the skin. V2 technology also triggers fibroblasts, which encourages the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. In other words, tighter, firmer, glowing skin!

4. Go for a deep clean. Your skin has gone through a lot this summer and, if you’ve experienced a sunburn, dead skin left behind might be giving you a dull appearance. This is when our HydraFacial comes in. Say hello to your skin’s new best friend.

This invigorating treatment deeply yet gently cleanses and exfoliates your skin with a technique similar to microdermabrasion and resurfaces with a mild chemical peel solution. Impurities are then extracted with a gentle suction while the freshly exposed skin is moisturized and then drenched with peptides and antioxidants.

There is no downtime for this treatment, so you can show off your soft, smooth, glowing skin immediately!

5. Nourish your body from within with an IV Nutrition Treatment. No, you don’t have to be Hollywood royalty to take advantage of this truly incredible experience that delivers vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids via an intravenous drip.

Appointments are quick and comfortable, so it’s the perfect lunchtime treatment when you’re feeling rundown or if summer indulgences are making you feel a bit sluggish. Each IV therapy has its own unique formula that is targeted to what you need the most, whether it’s fatigue, dehydration, anxiety, illness, headaches, poor sleep, and more. Contact us to chat about what IV therapy might be right for you.

Show your skin some summer lovin’ and save!

Until September 30, 2019, save 20% on Summer Safe treatments including Beauty Booster and HydraFacial. Call now to schedule in or book a complimentary consultation.  

Calgary: (403) 263-0661
Okotoks: (403) 982-7771

Offer valid on one treatment, per person.