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Talk With Your Clients About Sunscreen

Posted: May 1, 2009

Honest, simple, clean and healthy; these are concepts that resonate with today’s skin care consumer. Now is the time for estheticians to embrace proven, tried-and-true wisdom and incorporate a back-to-basics approach. That, at its heart, is what sensible sun protection is all about.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the perfect opportunity to intelligently and confidently discuss one of the most crucial, yet all-too-often forgotten, components of glowing, healthy skin: sunscreen.

According to scientists at DDF, 70% of consumers believe that sunlight causes premature aging. And according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetimes. Yet only 18% actually wear a daily ultraviolet (UV) moisturizer. Estheticians are uniquely positioned to help right that wrong. Armed with the right tools, they can help their clients make decisions that will not only keep their skin looking good, but will help keep it healthy, as well.

When you consider how easy it really is to avoid sun damage, the facts speak for themselves:

  • Sunscreen doesn’t have to feel heavy. Many consumers associate sunscreen with the heavy or greasy feel of a recreational or waterproof product needed for continuous sun exposure, such as what’s necessary for a day at the beach. But the fact is, a light, clean, nongreasy daily moisturizer with an sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 offers adequate protection from the kind of incidental sun exposure most experience on the average day. And it’s comfortable to wear under makeup.
  • You are exposed to more sun than you think. Sure, just about everyone knows to wear sunscreen on vacation or at the beach, but most underestimate their daily exposure. It’s typical to be exposed to up to 18 incidental hours of radiation a week; plus, some radiation comes through the windows even when you’re indoors. That’s why it’s so important to wear sunscreen each and every day, even when it’s cloudy or raining.
  • All radiation is not created equal. UVB rays cause the most visible changes to the skin, such as inflammation and erythema (sunburn). But UVA rays, which make up 95% of the rays that reach the Earth, penetrate deep into the dermis and are linked to skin aging and carcinogenesis. A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both, but make sure that the product contains FDA-recognized ingredients, such as avobenzone and zinc oxide.
  • The numbers may not mean what you think. Many people know that the SPF indicates how long a person can stay in the sun in proportion to zero protection: 15 times longer when wearing SPF 15, 30 times longer with SPF 30 and so on. But did you know that the UV filtration of SPF 30 is not double that of SPF 15? In fact, it only blocks 3% more burning rays.
  • A little doesn’t go a long way. At least a half gram of sunscreen is needed to adequately protect the face; a full 30 grams or more (roughly the size of a shot glass) is needed to cover the average body. Without enough product application, the skin remains vulnerable to the sun’s damaging rays.
  • It’s never too early, or too late, to start wearing sunscreen. Trusted skin care professionals, in the form of educated estheticians, are the perfect bridge between consumers and a lifetime of beautiful, natural, healthy skin.