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Sunscreen is my favourite thing to talk about. There isn’t a day of the year, hot or cold, rain hail or shine, that I won’t be wearing my favourite skin anti-ager; sunscreen. I’ve noticed a few people from outside of Australia reading my blog, and I would love to get your thoughts about this article, or to find out if what I’m talking about is news to you or if it was something you were already aware of.
It is a well-known fact that there is a nice hole in the Ozone layer right above our island home; Australia. But what does that really mean to anyone that’s considering a trip to the land down under?
It means that our sun is a lot nastier. Probably some of the nastiest sun rays in the world are directed at us poor Aussies. I’ve seen countless cliche tourists with a painful red burnt skin, having spent too long on Bondi Beach. Many find it a genuine surprise that despite the fact they were wearing and reapplying sunscreen all day, and it’s SPF 100 (Sun Protection Factor), they come home and later turn red and start to feel the very painful burn.
What (I’m presuming) people visiting this amazing country don’t understand, is that the sunscreen they bring from their own country, might actually be an SPF 100 in their own sun, but compared to our sunscreen, it’s probably more like a 10. The law in Australia in regards to manufacturing sunscreens are very different to overseas laws, to compensate for the difference in our sun. It can take years of expensive testing to get a sunscreen formula approved for sale in Australia. It’s only been very recently that SPF 50 has come on to our market.
So, the best thing I can recommend is to buy it here. You don’t want to run the risk of going home with a nasty skin cancer, or skin conditions like pigmentation (once you’ve got it it’s really hard to get rid of it). It’s best to look for something that’s AT LEAST SPF 30+, and it must be BROAD SPECTRUM, this ensures that you get protection against both UVA and UVB sun damage
UVA – ‘ageing’ sunrays. These are the most common and what most sunscreens address in their protection.
UVB – ‘burning’ sunrays. These are the nasties which are in higher concentration in Australia because of the hole in our ozone layer.
Broad spectrum covers both. You don’t need to spend a fortune on it, the Australian Cancer Council sell quite cheap but very good quality sunscreens (especially good for stocking up on if you plan to spend a lot of time in the sun – what I actually do is get a cheaper sunscreen for the body, and use my skin care sunscreen for the face, everyday!) You will find that it’s actually sold at the airport on your way into the country.
My aim is to one day have campaigns alerting visitors to the consequences of the Australian Sun, all over the Australian International Airport. It’s scary how quickly it can cause lasting damage, and how little the people I’ve already dealt with have actually known about the subject. I’d love to get some feedback about this, is this something that you knew about? Or is the sunscreen situation in the land down under news to you?
Glycolic Acid. Many people talk about it and lots want to use it, but it’s very important to know exactly what these ingredients do, where they come from, and how they will effect your skin immediately, and more importantly, over time.
Glycolic Acid is a natural ingredient that is extracted from sugar cane (but is also made synthetically). It’s classed as an alpha-hydroxy-acid or AHA.
Glycolic acid has a great ability to penetrate into the deeper layers of the epidermis, which is why it is so popular in cosmetics. It aids in the keratinisation process, which basically means that it helps to maintain the renewal of living healthy skin cells that come up from the dermis and eventually make their way to the surface of your skin and die off. The benefit of this, is that it helps to keep plump, fresh skin cells constantly cycling through. These fresh skin cells are more hydrated and healthier, which helps with that fresh glowing skin that we all crave!
Glycolic (and AHAs) are a type of exfoliant. But they work very differently to a scrub (or something with grains that you can feel) – a glycolic product doesn’t actually need grains in it to work.
The way that it exfoliates the dead skin cell layer, is quite unique. What it does, is it targets the ‘intracellular glue’, which is the glue that bonds skin cells together, including the dead ones. As we get older or if we don’t look after our skin properly, it loses it’s ability to naturally regulate it’s balance of skin living and dead skin cells. Glycolic (in the right concentration) specifically targets the stratum corneum (which is a name for one of the epidermis layers – one that helps to form our natural skin protective barrier). It dissolves this glue and allows the skin cells to naturally desquamate (or exfoliate themselves) much faster, promoting new cells to come through to replace them.
Glycolics and peels can have fantastic results on skins that have pigmentation and acne problems. The encouragement of new skin cells helps (over time) to bring those pigmented cells up from the deep-down layers of the skin.
One thing that I would keep in mind though, is those brand new, fresh healthy cells that are happily parading themselves on your face. They aren’t used to the world! They need a lot of extra love, and most definitely a good layer of sunscreen, all the time. Especially if you are in Australia, the land of the ozone layer hole!
So, this is why I wouldn’t recommend continuous use. Use a glycolic to target a specific skin woe, or to just inject a little life into it, but give your skin a rest, too. Overuse could lead to irritated skin, or even worse, pigmentation issues.
If you have ongoing pigmentation or acne issues, and are thinking about going on a course of peels, I would recommend speaking to a dermatologist first, especially if you have any kind of sensitivity issues.
Using glycolic at home, in home-safe concentrations, you may notice a slightly uncomfortable tingling. This may stick around for a little while after applying too. It shouldn’t be painful, and it shouldn’t colour your skin any more than a pink flush. If this happens, use something gentle straight away to cleanse your skin. Apply a gentle, light moisturiser, something with Allantoin or a similar soothing ingredient, is ideal.
Glycolic Acid is a great, effective product, no need to be scared if you’re properly educated, and you know your own skin.
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How moisturising can help combat breakout: Breakout is a very tricky subject. I thought I would touch on it again after the popularity of my popping pimples article. It’s something I love talking about, but going through it can be … Continue reading