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With the warm weather around the corner, I know that we are looking to ditch our winter clothes and are ready to enjoy some much needed sunshine. At least, I know I am. I’m looking forward ditching my winter gear and breaking out my summer outfits. Of course, this means more of my skin will be showing and of course exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. This is why my skin needs the best sun defense it can get.
Sun protection should always be a part of our skin care, no matter the season. However, in my personal experience I tend to see the most damage in the summer, when the sun is out for longer periods of time and I’m outside for longer periods of time. When I don’t provide my skin with the best sun defense, I risk the chance of creating irreversible damage to my skin. We should always be ready and willing to slather on that SPF in the morning and be ready to put it on again throughout the day. Truth of the matter is that SPF breaks down over time. In the summer it breaks down faster due to sweat, water activities, etc. We do so much outdoor activities that the thin layer of sun protection we offer our skin isn’t enough to last all day, unless we re-apply.
Black don’t crack?
As a Black woman, I was often taught that the amount of melanin present in my skin was enough protection. Unfortunately, that is not true. As much as being Black and being a woman is a privilege and a superpower, it is not enough to protect me from UVA and UVB rays. The damage that these two ultraviolet rays do can often lead to life threatening damage if not sun protection is not enforced quickly. The good news is that it’s never too late to get started.
But how damaging are UVA and UVB?
First off, let me start off by that there are many different types of ultraviolet rays. However, the ones you’ll hear the most about are UVA and UVB. That’s because they are the most damaging to the skin. Keep in mind that the skin is the largest organ in our body. It is one of the primary defense to our survival. When it repeatedly gets hit with UVA and UVB rays, our skin continuously becomes exposed to free radicals that cause oxidative stress to our skin.
UVA rays are known for playing a major role in causing skin cancers. They are able to penetrate the skin much more deeply and play a role in forming wrinkles in our skin prematurely via photoaging. They cause damage to collagen, elastin and other dermal structures. There are about 500 times more UVA rays than UVB rays.
UVB tend to play a role in creating sunburn. They also play a big role in causing skin cancers, including the one that shows up as a black mole on the skin, malignant melanoma.
Vitamin C+ SPF = Power Couple
This is why antioxidants are so important when it comes to sun care protection. SPF is great for offering your skin sun protection, but to really boost it’s efficacy, you may want to add an antioxidant. A topical antioxidant, such as Vitamin C is great for neutralizing free radicals that would otherwise wreak havoc on your skin. Vitamin C is also good for brightening the skin by blocking the abnormal production of pigmentation to even the skin tone and fade dark spots.
Your skin is only as strong as you allow it to be. A good SPF should be able to block the sun’s rays but it’s not 100 percent effective. Pairing it with a good topical Vitamin C serum is a great way to ensure that your skin stays as youthful as you feel.
Not all vitamin C serums are the same. In fact there at least 10 different topical vitamin C serum. Some are water based and some are not. Also based on your skin type and how sensitive your skin is you may find that your skin will become irritated by some serums. This is why it’s important to do your research and to listen to your skin. If you’re skin is irritated or shows sign of tenderness you will want to stop using it and go for a water soluble based vitamin C serum. You may find that you’ll want to use L-ascorbic acid as it is the most ready to use when applied to the skin. However, if you find that this version of vitamin C is too harsh on your skin, then magnesium ascorbyl phosphate may be the better option.
You will want to put your serum on first, let it dry then follow up with your moisturizer and then your SPF. Always apply your SPF last, no matter what your favourite influencer says. It will do wonders on your skin and you can safely enjoy the sun while you are out and about.
Few Things To Remember
When it comes to sun protection, here are a few things you want to remember.
- Always wear your SPF, LAST.
- Always re-apply your SPF, especially if you are out in the sun.
- Your SPF, should last 20 days if applied correctly.
- You do not have to settle for an SPF with a white cast. Nobody wants to look casket ready
- A vitamin C serum will boost your SPF protection
- A vitamin C serum is great for protecting your skin.
- Listen to your skin.
I hope that this blog was helpful. Let me know in the comment section below.