Our skin is constantly under attack from the sun. Even on the cloudiest day the UV rays that damage our skin. Sunscreen is the number one protector of your skin. It should be applied EVERY DAY, rain or shine, whether you are ‘just going to work’ or intend to be outside all day.
Potted History of Sun Exposure
When we look back in history women have literally died for a ‘fair’ complexion.
A poisonous mixture of white lead and vinegar, gave the ‘fashionable’ gentle women their much sort after white face. Unfortunately it also withered the skin, caused sores and damaged internal organs. The unfortunate irony is that as the sores appeared they put more of the toxic paste on their faces, which, of course, lead to further breakdown of the skin!
If you developed a tan it was because you worked outside and had a manual job; having a fair complexion put you in the upper classes.
At the turn of the 20th Century doctors prescribed the ‘Sun’ as a cure all, especially for TB.
In 1920 the popular French designer Coco Chanel made a sun tan ‘the’ accessory to be had. She was closely followed by a lot of THE Hollywood stars, and what was good enough for them was a must for the ‘dedicated followers of fashion.’
By the 1960’s baby oil guaranteed the well cooked look! A tan also showed that you had the money to go an lay on a beach somewhere warm. Then with the invention of tanning beds we did not even need the Sun to give us that well bronzed ‘healthy’ look.
As we entered the 21st Century the rumblings of tan trouble started to be heard. Skin cancer was linked to sun exposure and tanning beds. What was not really understood then and has been difficult to convey is the aging effect that the sun’s rays have had on our skin.
UVA, UVB and UVC:
We are exposed to UVA and UVB rays from the sun each and every day.
There are many more UVA rays and although they are not as strong as UVB rays, they reach deeper into our skin. These are the rays that cause the damage in our dermal layer of skin. This is our ‘mattress’ layer giving us structure and fullness. Damage to this layer produces lines and wrinkles.
Although there are less UVB rays given off by the sun these rays are stronger; UVB rays give us our sun burn. Fortunately they do not penetrate the skin as deeply as UVA rays, staying and doing all their damage in the epidermal layer.
UVC rays are consumed by the ozone layer and do not reach the earth’s surface. (Although with a growing hole in the ozone this may change.)
There are some great easy to wear sunscreens available now; they do not leave the skin feeling greasy, they do not have an overwhelming smell, they are not full of chemicals.
Jane Iredale Make-up even makes a powdered sunscreen SPF 45, very easy to apply, especially over make-up for that mid day touch-up. It has also been tested under 40 minutes of running water, and still worked.