Friday, June 5, 2015

Loving your skin - Sun Safety Week 2015

How many of us actually do aware that our body is fully covered with skin?

If you do not know yet, our skin is the largest organ in the integumentary system. It protects us against heat and light, injury and infection. Our skin also regulates body temperature and stores water, fat as well as vitamin D.

Since our skin is one of the organs that plays vital roles in our daily lives, now, comes the question - when was the last time you loved your skin? When was the last time you took time and pamper your skin?

I was inspired to write about sun safety by a health insurance company I recently discovered, Oscar. If you do not know yet, Oscar is a health insurance company in New York and New Jersey that is focused on making health care a better fit for your life.

Since it is summer all year round in Malaysia (and to those of you who are entering summer 2015), it is important for us to know what harms the sun could bring.

I am definitely not going to tell all of you to stay indoor for the rest of the summer but with appropriate care, you can still go and have fun in the sun.

I am very much aware that majority of us love the sun but for typical Asians, we kind of try to avoid the sun because we believe that exposure of the sun will cause the skin to become darker. Before I got to know there are ways to avoid effects of exposure to the sun, I pretty much stay indoors most of the times due to the beliefs that the fairer you are, the more attractive you are.

Honestly, here are much more serious matters to worry rather than being too dark and not that attractive.

Through years and via my work experience in cosmetic industry, I have learned that being dark is not the one and only side effect of prolonged exposure to the sun. However, there are several others more SEVERE effects.

1. Sun spots

2. Freckles

3. Premature ageing which includes fine lines and wrinkles

4. Skin cancer

You can read more about the effects of sun damage here.

I know some of the things sound scary but for those of you who loves the sun, fret not because all you have gotta do is just to spend an extra few minutes to protect your skin from darkening and voila, you are safe and about to roam under the sun!

Today, I am going to share a little bit of my skin care routine - hopefully, you would find this helpful.

I am born in the sunny country of Malaysia and being a Chinese, my complexion is neither dark nor fair.

Even though people around me have been telling me, "Angel, you have no dark spots or freckles, why do you have to worry so much about protecting yourself from the sun? You should go out and have more fun in the sun!"

Seriously, I find these people are too narrow-minded. When you do not have it, that is the time that you should prevent it!

I usually start my day with my toothbrush and toothpaste, then, I would move on to washing my face. Nothing really fancy but that is just first step of skin care. After washing and drying, the next step would be toner, followed by serum and moisturizer.

Okay, now comes the most important step that each of us always pays very less attention to - sunblock or sunscreen.

My current favourite is Mary Kay Timewise Dry Solution Sunscreen SPF35.

What is SPF?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number you see associated with SPF represents the length of time you can stay out in the sun without burning, multiplied by the corresponding number. So a person, who would normally start to burn in 10 minutes, a UV sunscreen of SPF 15, would allow you to stay out in the sun 15 times longer. That means you could theoretically have 150 minutes of sun protection.
Before you are going to ask me, "Why do I have to apply sunblock or sunscreen even when I am not going outdoor?"

Okay, be glad that you've asked that question.

Even when you are exposed to the lights indoor, chances are, you are still going to be exposed to UVA and UVB hence, wearing sunblock or sunscreen even when you are indoor is very, very important.

What is UVA or UVB?
UV basically means ultraviolet radiation. Both UVA and UVB are classified by their wavelengths once they hit Earth and they are not visible through the eyes.
Since it is not visible to our eyes, most of the times, we tend to just forget about it as effect doesn't come immediately. Prolonged exposure to it will cause skin cancer in the most severe case.
As important as it may seem, I am not asking you to choose a product with the highest SPF ever. In fact, when I was working for a Korean cosmetics company years ago, I was taught by my Korean bosses that higher SPF doesn't necessarily means it is a good product especially for our faces. We keep it mild for our face - SPF15 to SPF50 maximum.

If I am going to meet my friends during the day, I would choose a BB cream or foundation that has SPF in it - extra protection.

My current favourite would be Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream with SPF47 PA+++ as well as the Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm.

What is PA and what does the +++ symbolize?
Depending on your needs, PA is to counter UVA and PB is to counter UVB. The +++ symbol denotes + (the least) to +++ (the most).

There is no specific reason why I love them but well, they works for me and they have SPF for extra protection!

As for the body, I usually stay in the range of SPF30 to SPF50 if I am going to be indoor or just staying in the town.

My current favourite is Biore UV Water Gel SPF30 PA+++ just because I love the texture of the sunblock so, so much! It is water based and not greasy at all. The gel leaves a minty and soothing feeling after using.

If I am going to the beach or going to stay outdoor, under the sun for a longer period of time, I would go for any other sunblocks with SPF50 to SPF80.

Remember, higher SPF doesn't mean it is a good sunblock - choose the trustworthy brand because our skin is precious to us!

My last routine before I go to bed is to wash my face during shower to remove all my make-up. Contrary to the belief that sunscreen or sunblock is not cosmetic, hence we do not need make-up remover to remove it is WRONG!

Sunscreen or sunblock is categorized under cosmetic and in order to fully remove it before you go to bed, you need make-up remover!

Please remember to remove the sunscreen or sunblock before heading to the shower to wash your face, alright?

Alright, let's say you've been out to the beach for quite some time and by the time you get home, you feel like your skin is burning - what do you do?

My remedy is this product!

~ courtesy of Walmart ~

Banana Boat After Sun Gel.

This baby soothes my burnt skin and constant application makes my skin feels better after a long day under the scorching sun.

Before I end this entry, these are few tips for you to prevent side effects of prolonged sun exposure.
  1. Use a shade - hats, sunglasses, umbrellas - especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  2. Avoid sun-tanning and UV tanning booths.
  3. Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with a water resistant SPF of 30 or higher.
  4. Apply sunscreen or sunblock to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
I hope these tips could help all of you out there!

Stay healthy and beautiful!

PS - I do not own majority of the pictures as my phone is not functioning well. Credits goes to Google for letting me find these amazing pictures. Credits to those to produce those wonderful pictures too.

PSS - Remember to pay Oscar a visit to get to know more about them!

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