Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spa Girl loves the sun but not sunburns--what to do?

I'm definitely a sun goddess, but I don't like sunburns and I definitely want to take care of my skin and not look like a prune as I age.

Ask anyone who knows even a little bit about taking care of your skin and they will tell you the sun is the worst offender when it comes to skin damage, wrinkles, skin cancer, premature aging skin, and the list goes on.
With the new regulations in place, and new products coming on stream, selecting a good product has become much more complicated and finding the "one" that suits your skin type and textual appeal is so important.  Having a top of the line product and not wearing it daily, just doesn't cut it. 

Three decades in the making, new legislation has been put into place that requires a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect from the sun's radiation with both UVB (causes the skin to burn) and UVA (causes the skin to wrinkle). This legislation indicates sunscreen products must contain  both UVB and UVA with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher.  The rules will also ban sunscreen manufacturers from claiming their products are waterproof or sweat proof because such claims are simply not true.

Sunscreen products represent a $680 million+ domestic market which continues to grow as the boomers age and with alarming increases in the number of skin-related cancer.

So what does all this mean...

SPF which stands for Sun Protection Factor provides a measurement for how long you can stay in the sun using a sunscreen  product before getting burned.  SPF measures protection from sunburn caused primarily by UVB rays, but it does not effectively measure how well a sunscreen protects you from UVA rays.  It is the UVA rays that are present year-round that are the leading cause premature skin aging, including fine lines, deep wrinkles and uneven skin tone. When considering a sunscreen it is important to select one that has a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection. 
But don't get fooled, SPF 30 isn't twice as strong as SPF 15. While SPF 15 filters out 93% of UVB, SPF 30 filters out 97%, and UVA protection  begins to break down the moment your skin is exposed to the sun making you more susceptible to skin damage, wrinkles and premature aging.

My dermatologist recommended  Neutrogena which includes Helioplex, the first sun protection to effectively combine the ingredients avobenzone and oxybenzone for the greatest protection from ultraviolet light because of its photostable qualities.  It was specifically engineered to help provide stabilization in order to prevent the sun from breaking down UVB/UVA's effectiveness.  Neutrogena® developed the Helioplex™ technology in 2005. It was first introduced in the company’s line of Ultra Sheer® Sunblocks with SPF 55. Helioplex™ .  It was also voted #1 in texture by Canadian Dermatologists, something that appeals to me.  I like a sunscreen that is light and absorbs quickly and is not "gooey" or "heavy" on my skin.

There are however many other sunscreen products, and more hitting the shelves, which are incorporating stabilizing solvents such as Hallbrite TQ which researchers have determined when combined with UVA and UVB, help maintain their effectiveness.

And indeed there are several natural, organic sunscreens and zinc oxides to check out before deciding which one is right for your skin type and comfort level. 

Enjoy your summer, stay informed and remember sunscreen is only one of the tools to help care for your precious skin! 

WebMD asks... Wondering what to wear this summer? Get the latest facts before you buy your next sunscreen.


Sunscreen: Helioplex vs. Mexoryl

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Spa Girl says thank you to all the women in our life

Happy Mother's Day to all those brave women who love us, protect us, support our dreams and care about our well being.
Mother's and women generally tend to look after everyone else's needs before they even think about themselves.

Today give the women in your life a gift that keeps on giving, a day at the SPA!

Going to the spa is such an amazing experience, especially for those of us who tend to pamper--sometimes around the clock--all those we love and care about.  We do it naturally, without hesitation, and when treated to a day for ourselves it feels like such a guilty pleasure.  Spa Girl say GET OVER IT, charge your own batteries and put going to the spa on your "to do" list each month.

Whether you opt for a massage, manicure, pedicure, or hundreds upon hundreds of glorious spa treatments, research tell us, being touched makes us feel good about ourselves.  And needless to say, when we feel good about ourselves--those we love and care about will reap the benefits!

one of 200 bloggers from around the world contributing, a website dedicated to self improvement with a focus on personal productivity, motivation, and self education shares 6 reasons why you need to be touched.

1. Feel connected to others. We are social beings, and although we all fall in different places on the introversion – extroversion scale, we all need to have that sense of connection to other members of our tribe. While some of that connection can come from having conversations with others, touch also plays an important role in human communication. 
2. Reduce anxiety. Simply touching another person can make us feel more secure and less anxious. It can make us feel grounded and safe and not so all alone. It’s not just children who could use a warm, reassuring hug to make things a little better, so if you’re feeling like a bundle of nerves, go ahead and ask for a hug. 
3. Bonding. Touch is one of the ways romantic partners bond with each other and parents bond with their children. When partners and families get busy and let touch go out the window, they’ll often find that they don’t feel as close and relationships suffer. Regular touch is one of the ways that we continually renew our bonds with those we love. 
4. Lowers your blood pressure. Studies have shown that those that get regular touch often have lower blood pressure than those that don’t. Even having a pet can have beneficial effects! Touch can also slow the heart rate and help speed recovery times from illness and surgery. 
5. Improve your outlook. It’s harder to get into a pessimistic funk when you feel the confidence of being connected to others. Touch can make people feel more optimistic and positive and less cynical and suspicious. A positive, trusting attitude towards others can reduce tension in our daily lives and improve our relationships. 
6. Give us the sensory input that we crave. Scientists are just discovering how truly important it is to exercise all our physical senses for proper brain and emotional development. All the various kinds of touch from butterfly kisses to deep tissue massage send our brains the physical inputs it needs to make sense of the world. So, along with touching other people and pets, make time to explore different textures and touch sensations such as letting cool sand run through your fingers or taking a warm relaxing bath. 
Don’t let yourself get too busy that you starve yourself of touch. It’s important for your physical, mental and emotional well being to touch others and let others touch you.
We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth—Virginia Satir, family therapist

"Extensive research by the University of Miami's Touch Research Institute has revealed that human touch has wide-ranging physical and emotional benefits for people of all age groups. In the Institute's experiments, touch lessened pain, improved pulmonary function, increased growth in infants, lowered blood glucose and improved immune function.", a website dedicated to self improvement with a focus on personal productivity, motivation, and self education.

New York Times: Evidence That Little Touches Do Mean So Much

Complementary Healthcare Information Service - UK