Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Here comes the sun...don't let it age your skin!

Almost everyone enjoys summer, especially after the long and dreary Vancouver spring. In fact, most of us can't wait to shed our cardies and jeans, and get into shorts and a tee. There's only one problem: It's already almost Summer Solstice—when the sun is strongest, and our winter-pale skin at greater risk for burning.  Last year, the weather pattern was similar, and the incidence of sunburn far greater than in previous years, when the sun introduced itself slowly during April and May.

So what  should we do to best prepare our skin for summer exposure?

Of course, of greatest importance is wearing sunscreen—no matter how much you want to sport an attractive tan. The sun is the skin's number one ager, and also increases the risk of skin cancers and other lesions. But people still want to look healthy and sun kissed, and this is where a high quality faux tan comes into play.

Spa Utopia has you covered  in both respects. We have some of the best sunscreens/skin enhancers available today, and also St. Tropez self tanning products and salon spray-on tan. This means you don't have to ruin your skin by basking in the sun (or worse, in a tanning salon), and can look healthy and tanned in a matter of hours.

Blocking UV light

People are always surprised to know that the rays that cause wrinkling are not restricted to the UVB rays we encounter outside on sunny summer days. Rather, wrinkling is accelerated by UVA light, whcih is all about us every day of the year. UVA light is daylight: if it's light outside, then UVA rays are present. These skin-spoilers pass through glass as well, meaning your skin can age as you sit next to a window during the winter, reading about your next sunny vacation destination! UVB light is strongest in summer (and closer to the tropics) and also damages the skin's collagen and elastin matrix. However, people are more likely to protect themselves against UVB light as these are burning rays. UVB light can, however, pass through clouds, meaning you can sustain a sunburn even on a dull day.

The answer to both UVA and UVB damage is to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day of the year, even if you are intending to stay indoors. Spa Utopia carries a number of sunscreens for the face and body (don't forget the back of your hands) such as Pro-Derm™ and the always-popular Jane Iredale SPF 20 mineral makeup.

The perfect self tan

St Tropez self tanning products are second to none in quality and—applied correctly—will give you smooth, sleek colour. Try St. Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan Mousse for the body and Everyday Gradual Tan for the face (plus a number of other formulations including a tan optimizer and self-tan spray). Until midnight, June 16, if you purchase any St. Tropez tanning product/s online, we will include an Applicator Mitt free of charge. Shipping is free if your purchase exceeds $50.

Of course, before using a self-tanning product, you will need to exfoliate, perhaps with our wonderfully smoothing Spa Utopia Body Scrub & Polish. Exfoliation ensures that the actual tanning ingredient doesn't stain heavily keratinized skin cells that are due to flake off as part of the skin's renewal process.

You might also consider having a St. Tropez Full Body Spray Tan at Spa Utopia, for an instant tan that will have your friends and co-workers wondering how you slipped off to Hawaii without anyone noticing!

Other suncare tips

Here are some ways to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays (some you will likely know, and some may be new to you!)

•  Cover up with a wide-brimmed sunhat (this year's "in" fashion accessory) and cap sleeves. No matter how high the SPF of a sunscreen, it will still allow rays through. Long sleeves and pants are even better.

•  Following on from the above, use a sunscreen that contains antioxidants to minimize damage from rays that do slip through. (Pro-Derm™, available from Spa Utopia locations or online, contains antioxidants.)

•  Always apply your sunscreen at least half an hour before going into the sun. Apply according to packaging instructions. Most sunscreens absorb UV light and, in doing so, break down and become less protective— making reapplication necessary every two hours or so. Others are formulated to keep on working all day without reapplication.

•  Avoid direct sun between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

•  Remember that sand and water intensify the sun's rays. Always wear waterproof sunscreen when swimming on sunny days.

•  Munch on broccoli (raw or cooked), carrots and dark chocolate and sip pomegranate juice.  All these foods increase your skin's ability to reduce sun damage.

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