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Sunscreen Tips for Youthful Skin
The number one thing that ages skin is sunshine.
Not just the sunburn, the relentless day-to-day
exposure to the sun causes the skin damage that
leads to discolored spots, wrinkles and sagging
skin. And don¡¯t be fooled as most sunscreens do
not protect from all the skin-damaging rays. If
you want youthful skin then your number one skin
care strategy is to avoid excessive sun and use a
true sun protective sunblock.
Sunlight Basics
Just below the spectrum of light that is visible to
our eye lies the ultra-violet (UV) light spectrum.
First is the longer wavelength UVA (315-400 nano-
meters, nm), then intermediate UVB (280-315
nm), and last the shortest wavelength UVC (100-
280 nm). The shorter wavelengths are more irri-
tating to the surface while the longer wavelengths
penetrate the skin and do deeper damage.
The visible light spectrum (400-780nm) gives us
our rainbow of colors, starting with violet-indigo-
blue-green-yellow-orange and finally red as the
light spectrum goes on up into the ¡°infra-red¡±
spectrum (> 780nm). Infra-red rays radiate heat
and give us warmth.
UVC is actually the most damaging of the UV rays,
causing the skin to burn and promoting cancer
changes. UVC will even kill germs and is known
as ¡®germicidal¡¯ rays. Fortunately most all UVC is
blocked by the earth¡¯s ozone layer.
UVB causes the familiar ¡°sunburn¡± by damaging
the skin¡¯s outer layer, the epidermis, leading to
dark spots, fine wrinkles, broken surface capillar-
ies, and skin cancers that arise from the epider-
mis. Cumulative sun exposure causes the familiar
basal and squamous cell skin cancers to erupt
from the skin¡¯s epidermal layer. These are typically
gray in color, either smooth or scaly lesions, that
show up on the face or arms where the skin has
been most exposed.
UVA causes the darkening of skin known as ¡°sun-
tan¡± and was once thought to be harmless but is
now known to be very damaging to the skin. By
absorbing into the deeper dermal layers UVA
ucts, blocks most of
the UV spectrum but
misses a bit of UVA.
Zinc Oxide really
blocks the UVA spec-
trum well and thus is
commonly blended
with titanium dioxide
to add full UVA
Further, the actual
protection offered by
any and all sun-protec-
tive products relates
directly to their level
of concentration, how
long they remain sta-
ble when exposed to
sun, the film thickness
applied to the skin,
as well as the careful,
total coverage of the
exposed skin sites.
causes the collagen that supports our skin to
simply waste away leading to thinning and sag-
ging of the skin. UVA is responsible for much of
the premature aging of skin evidenced by in-
flammation and dryness, and eventually uneven
pigmentation, fine wrinkles, and skin cancer.
UVB exposure occurs mainly in the summer
months and is worse from 10am to 4pm. It does
not penetrate glass and is basically filtered out
during winter months. However, the UVA rays are
present all year round, all day long, and go right
through glass. Even while driving the UVA rays
are streaming into the auto and soaking right into
exposed skin.
High altitude allows much more of the UV rays to
get through the atmosphere. This explains why
the mountain states have a high incidence of skin
cancer! And more sun damaged, aging skin.
Sun Protection
The well-known sun-protection-factor or SPF is
misleading, outdated, and frankly worthless when
it comes to insuring your skin is protected. The
SPF ratings only apply to UVB rays. Many prod-
ucts advertise ¡°blocking both UVB and UVA¡± but
in fact only a tiny percentage of the UVA spec-
trum is really blocked, just enough to allow the
marketing, but not even close to the complete
blockage we really need.
There are about 15 FDA approved chemicals that
will absorb UV rays and are used in various com-
binations as sunscreens. Some examples include
Octyl Salicylate, the oldest in use, Padimate O
which is the most common in the US, and Octyl
Methoxycinnamate which is the most common
world-wide. These sunscreens block a narrow
range of UVB light in the 300-315nm range,
leaving the UVA spectrum untouched. Thus,
other chemical absorbers, such as Oxybenzone
and Avobenzone, are mixed in to give a bit more
protection up into the UVA range, but they are
limited in effectiveness.
Physical blockers, known as ¡°metal oxides¡± are
the most complete remedy for truly blocking the
UVA and UVB rays. These naturally occurring par-
ticles will physically block all UV rays, as well as
protect from wind and block the heat from infra-
red rays thus keeping the skin cooler.
Titanium dioxide, used to lighten cosmetic prod-
2014 July
Pg 6 - The Sunshine Express
Health & Nurturing
In Harmony
by Scott Rollins, M.D.
Skin Protection
As skin goes through repeated cycles of sunburn
and suntan, inflammation and skin darkening
occurs, and over time the photo-aging and skin
cancer. The UV rays cause damage to the skin
that generates damaging ¡°free radicals¡± that
react and oxidize any tissue in the area. The in-
flammation and oxidation lead to skin breakdown
and DNA damage that promotes cancer. Even the
defenses against infection are impaired as the UV
rays suppress the skin¡¯s immune system.
Supplemental nutrients can be added to provide
direct and indirect protection to the skin. Antioxi-
dants such as vitamins E, C and A, and selenium
help ¡®clean up¡¯ the free radicals generated by
sun damage. Bioflavonoid antioxidants such as
pycnogenol from pine-bark, and resveratrol from
grapes, are also found in better products. Stud-
ies describe the ability of these highly specialized
antioxidant bioflavonoids to augment vitamin
C, protect cells and collagen tissue, and also to
strengthen blood vessels and capillaries.
If you want to preserve your youthful skin, then
get a high quality sunblock and apply it gener-
ously and regularly. Reapply several times during
prolonged outdoor activity. Apply daily to the face
and back of the hands where we see the most
sun exposure. Remember, it¡¯s easier to keep
healthy skin than it is to reverse the clock of sun
(Scott Rollins, MD, is Board Certified with
the American Board of Family Practice
and the American Board of Anti-Aging and
Regenerative Medicine. He specializes in
bioidentical hormone replacement for men
and women, thyroid and adrenal disorders,
fibromyalgia, weight loss and other com-
plex medical conditions. He is founder and
director of the Integrative Medicine Center
of Western Colorado ( and
Bellezza Laser Aesthetics (www.bellezzala- Call 970.245.6911 for an appoint-
ment or more information.)
Healthy Optimism
My favorite aunt was my father¡¯s only sister. She
was born third in a family of four siblings. That
being said, she was adored by her two older
brothers, and tolerated by her baby brother. She
was Bounia¡¯s interpreter, adding to her mother¡¯s
25 words more or less of English. She was by
Bounia¡¯s side as soon as she was old enough to
understand American ways. She remained by
Bounia¡¯s side for the rest of Bounia¡¯s life.
I was age three when she married my handsome
Uncle Mickey. He was Italian, with dark curly hair
and a gentle nature. I was selected to be the
flower girl at the wedding - I was the only neice
born to the family at the time, Jeanne Marie is 5
years younger than I - so the chances of my be-
ing excluded were quite slim. I cannot remember
if I was nervous or frightened with all the people
in the church, but I do remember seeing my
soon to be uncle waiting at the altar in front of
the congregation for my Aunt Anne to walk down
the aisle. I was on a mission. I was first to go
down the aisle of the church with my basket of
rose petals and right to the side of Uncle Mickey.
I wanted to be the bride, I was wearing a pink
gown and flowers in my hair, it seemed so right.
by Sandy Lauzon