The meaning of the SPF number in sunscreen has caused much confusion. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number afterwards comes from a formula. The formula is used to calculate the number of minutes your skin be safely exposed to the sun before it starts to have negative effects.
Think of it as a stop watch that starts when you step out into the sun. The higher the number, the more minutes it buys you.
Protection increases slightly as the SPF number goes higher by allowing less percentage of rays to hit your skin.
Do SPF 15 and 50 have the same ingredients?
SPF 50s will have more zinc. The higher the zinc the more protection, but also the whiter the cast that it leaves. In fact, you can buy a zinc stick, which is like a chapstick for areas where you’re highly exposed.
Keep in mind that sunscreens do not always protect you from burning. It will definitely extend the amount of time you can safely be in the sun before it starts causing damage. However, for some skin types will burn anyway with or without sunscreen.
Physical vs Chemical?
Physical sunscreens are made of minerals and act like sunglasses for your skin. zinc is a mineral is a finely ground rock that has been finely crushed that sits on the skin. When you apply it, it binds to your skin at the surface and provides a “shade” over your skin.
Physical sunscreen is the best type of sunscreen to use over your face or for sensitive skin types. On the other hand, they tend to be a little greasier because they do not absorb into the skin. Also, they can leave a white cast depending on how high your SPF is.
Chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin right away, they are not greasy and do not leave a white cast. however, they are actually going into your skin and interacting on a cellular level, coating each cell. While they have benefits, the fact that they are going into your cells leaves room for adverse reactions.
New day sunscreens
Some product lines have become more sophisticated with their formulations and are able to dilute the white cast without losing efficacy or adding ingredients.
Now that you know the meaning of the SPF number in sunscreen, which SPF is right for you?
Retinol does pretty much everything. Firstly, retinol helps accelerate the cell turnover rate. The cell turnover rate is how quickly your cells are coming up with a new one, bringing it up to the surface, and purging it. Young skin is constantly regenerating; retinol has that affect on skin in general.
Retinol is meant for temporary use. When you are using it, it forces your skin to exfoliate. This exfoliation process will give you textural repair, as well as remove scarring and hyperpigmentation and acne. In addition, due to its regenerating capacity, it is also used in anti-aging products.
Can you use retinol if you have sensitive skin?
The negative side effects outweigh the benefits of retinol for someone that has sensitive skin. Keep in mind there are different types of sensitive skin. Sensitive skin types include rosacea and can range to a dryer, more mature/sensitive skin.
Using retinol when you have sensitive skin may cause irritation. For instance, rosacea can look like an abundance of skin, which leads clients to exfoliate more often than they should.
However, the reality is that inflammation is causing the skin to get thick and the pores to get big. As a result, the type of exfoliation provided by retinol will make the problem worse. Instead, we recommend using salicylic acid. Salicylic acid will exfoliate the damaged skin and also take down inflammation. Additionally, salicylic acid helps to strengthen the fibres of the skin which greatly helps rosacea.
Sometimes rosacea acne gets confused for regular acne, however, rosacea pimples will never burst. Salicylic acid is the only way to get rid of those pimples.
In conclusion, using retinol when you have sensitive skin is not the best option. Try using products with salicylic acid.
In a city like Edmonton in Alberta, the seasons change drastically and we get to experience many diverse climate conditions! Whether the seasons are changing or you’re moving to a different part of the world, your skin will react to its surroundings. This is why it is important to acclimate your skin to the climate conditions of your environment. Adding or exchanging certain products in your routine can help avoid breakouts during seasonal skin changes.
We all have our skin type to work with, however, seasonal skin changes are due to environmental influences. For instance, the summer tends to be hotter with higher humidity levels resulting in much higher water loss. In addition, the longer days often mean we receive more sun exposure. As a result, your skin is more likely to become damaged and dehydrated. You will collect excess buildup from sweat, makeup, and dirt which can clog your pores.
We recommend using products that cleanse away that build up. Also, exfoliation becomes more important in the summer because it helps to remove the surface layers of the skin.
Can skin types change with the season?
Normal combination skin types that border on dry skin can experience full-on dryness in the wintertime. This is due to changes in the environment, for example, cold exposure. The cold can be harsh on the skin as well as cause wind rash. We recommend physically covering you skin with a scarf during the winter months. Just remember to keep the scarf clean!
In addition, in the winter you get double sun exposure coming directly from the sun, and the reflective exposure that bounces off the snow. For this reason if you find yourself on a mountain, or going skiing or doing anything outdoors, make sure you wear sunscreen! Plus you’re more likely to get a chapped sunburn/windburn so make sure to protect your skin.
On the other hand, normal combination skin types that border on oily skin can become full-on oily in the summertime and are more prone to breaking out due to heat exposure or high humidity. They should switch to a lighter, oil-free moisturizer in the summer.
Treating seasonal damage
In the fall, skin starts to dry up a little. Summer damage should be lifted with skin treatments such as photofacials or chemical peels. Ideally, these treatments should take place at the end of summer or the beginning of fall.
The goal of the treatments is to remove the cap of dead summer skin and rejuvenate your skin. This will help the ingredients in your products actually make it to the cells that need the extra hydration and nutrients.
We recently had a client who was concerned about using hyaluronic acid out of fear that it would remove her freckles. This left us puzzled because out of all the acids used to remove hyperpigmentation, hyaluronic acid is not amongst them. So that got us thinking…
“Where could this myth have come from?”
Hyaluronic acid does not have the ability to remove freckles or other forms of pigmentation. It is a molecule that is found within cells that interacts with water, not melanin.
However, hyaluronic acid would a good accessory and support system to pigment removing serums or products. This is due to the fact that every function in the skin needs water. Hyaluronic acid supports water retention in the skin. Picture hyaluronic acid cells like little sponges that can hoard water. They can hold one thousand times their weight in water!
So, if someone was inadvertently using products with ingredients that remove pigmentation, the hyaluronic acid would have powered that product right up, hence creating a myth.
Purposely removing freckles and other forms of pigmentation
On an acid level, our personal preference to remove deep pigmentation, for example, freckles, melasma, and other stains or splotches on the skin, is glycolic acid.
Glycolic acid stimulates exfoliation and treats flaky or dull skin and hyperpigmentation. The smaller a molecule, the more easily it gets into the skin and penetrate deeply. Because glycolic is the smallest of all the acids, it yields the most dramatic results.
On the other hand, if a person is experiencing uneven skin tone, for instance, the forehead or around the mouth is a little darker than the rest of the face, then we recommend lactic acid.
Lactic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) derived from sour or fermented milk. It has skin softening abilities and also leaves a fresh glow.
Are there dangers to using hyaluronic acid?
There are none whatsoever because hyaluronic acid is naturally occurring and lives within your skin. In fact, no matter what age or skin type you are, hyaluronic lives gets depleted as you get older.
In addition, because its a water molecule, anything that causes evaporation is going to deplete your hyaluronic acid levels, for example, being out in the sun a lot or not drinking enough water.
Pitting is caused by enlarged pores that once held a large cystic acne lesion. Cystic acne is different than whiteheads. Whiteheads are blockages in the pores whereas cystic acne lesions are attached to the skin. They feed on the skin’s nutrients. As the lesion grows it creates a pocket deep in the skin. Eventually, through the skin’s natural process, the lesion comes to the surface. Once the lesion is at the surface it can be extracted, however the empty sac is left behind.
Extracting through facials
Successful and complete removal of the sac is important. Failure to remove all contents from the sac leaves the surrounding tissue exposed to infections. The service we recommend for extractions is our Pore facial.
Do pitted acne scars go away?
Yes, texture scars go away over time with your skin’s daily shedding process. However, you have to “do the time” as they say and may have to wait years before seeing smooth skin. This depends on the frequency and number of lesions, your age, and other factors.
Chemical (a.k.a. acid) peels expedite the shedding process. They speed up the wait time between shedding thereby getting you to that smooth layer much sooner than the natural process.
On the other hand, photofacials accelerate the healing process by building extra collagen and plumping the skin. They add volume to damaged skin.
How long after my last breakout should I start treatment?
We recommend having your skin under control before starting treatment. A dermatologist can help to manage acne before starting repair treatments. We define “under control” as acne that has been decreasing over the course of 6 months, and in remission for another 3-6 months.
In the meantime, exfoliation helps to maximize skin shedding, however, selecting the right exfoliant is important. Mechanical exfoliants may be too abrasive for sensitive skin types or skin with large pores. For these skin types we recommend the Phyto Calm Enzyme Mask.
Free of fragrance and dyes, this formula has been clinically tested for skin not well suited for manual exfoliation.
Combination skin is best described as oily down the ‘t-zone’ and normal-dry over surrounding regions of the face. The condition of combination skin can vary with fluctuations in routine, diet, climate, stress levels, and age. These shifts can cause combination skin to become rough, dehydrated or oily, and blemished.
Combination skin becomes oilier during the summer months due to the increased humidity and heat. The winter months can bring about a dull complexion, coarse texture, and fine lines. This is mainly due to cold temperatures, and artificial heat exposure from heaters.
So, now that the snow is here to stay – let’s talk winter care for combination skin!
How do you treat combination skin in the winter?
Our favourite treatment for instant results and the perfect level of exfoliation is – dermaplaning!
Dermaplaning removes the superficial layers that build up from sun damage through the summer months. Although tanned skin adds a flattering glow to the complexion, it can leave the skin looking dull and damaged. Clearing away the damaged cells that build up through the summer brightens and evens the overall complexion.
There’s nothing like applying your skincare products to a freshly dermaplaned face. Once the skin is clear of buildup and dull skin, it quickly and effectively absorbs products and active ingredients.
Should my skincare routine change during the winter months?
As with any skin type, it is beneficial to adapt your skin routine to the changing climate throughout the year, this includes product selection. Try our Home Care Selection Guide for Winter Skin Care recommendations.
We highly recommend professional skincare products containing hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid attracts and maintains hydration to hold 1000 times its weight in water.Even if you drink 8 glasses of water per day, by the time your other organs have taken their share of water, there is very little that actually transmits to the visible layers of the skin.
Hyaluronic acid molecules act like a breathable capsule absorbing and retaining water molecules, thereby, preventing water from leaving your skin through evaporation.
Another benefit of Dérmaplane is the instant and painless removal of fine vellus hair. The precise technique and fine blades allow for precision removal and a smooth finish.
Take it up a notch.
An excellent pairing for Dermaplane is an AHA BOOST. The combination of hydroxy acids applied to the skin amplifies hydration levels by pushing fresh cells to the surface. These fresh cells are at their prime for proper absorption and hydration retention and therefore make your skin look and feel JUICY!