We are lucky to live in Medicine Hat! We get, on average, 6 weeks longer summer than the rest of Canada. The downside of our little place in the sun is that we need to protect our body’s largest organ – the skin – from harmful UV light. The human body only produces Vitamin D during the first 20 minutes in the sun, after that, it starts breaking it down. The other harmful effect from UV light is damage to the skin, causing damage to melanocytes (cells that give us even skin colours), causing them to overproduce pigmentation (dark spots, freckles, skin cancer). Too much UV light builds up anti-oxidants (harmful molecules that break human tissues) that break down collagen and speed up the ageing process (wrinkles, lines). So, more sun is not better for us if we do not take precautions to protect against it.
This month I would like to share an education in sun protection: a true Sunscreen must contain a metal element such as Zinc or Titanium. This acts like little mirrors and reflects UV light away so that it does not penetrate the skin. It might sound dangerous, but these are large molecules and do not enter the skin, they sit on the surface only. The element with the biggest misinformation surrounding it is SPF. Sun Protection Factor does, unfortunately, penetrate the skin and is a harmful molecule. SPF breaks down collagen, leading to sagging skin with lines and wrinkles. All levels of SPF need to be re-applied after 2 hours in the sun, whether it is factor 10, 20 or even 100. So, it is better to use a high quality 20 or 25 and not go above 30 to limit the harmful effects to the skin.
The main anti-oxidant that fights sun damage in our skin is Vitamin C. It only stays in our body for 24 hours as it is water-soluble (meaning we urinate it out) and needs to be replaced every day.
We expose our staff to a continuous world-class education in Medical aspects of skin care at HummingbirdMediSpa. We invite you to come see us for the best possible care of your skin’s health. Use the correct sunscreen, with the correct SPF and Vitamins. Call us, we can help!
Ph: 403 529 2006.