Beautiful Skin! Chapter 1: A Guide to Protecting Your Skin

Beauty is not only skin deep. That being said, your skin is your body's largest organ, it contains the most surface area, and it's then part of you that's exposed to everything external. The care and protection of your skin is not only essential to the way you look, but also your overall health. During this next series of entries, I will discuss various ways to care for and protect your skin to assure that your largest organ is aging beautifully. 

You hear it every day, especially in Summer. The Sun is bad for your skin. It can cause skin cancer, it can cause sunburn, and it ages your skin. But has anyone ever explained how or why it happens? I'm about to give you a little run-down on the structure of your skin, the reasons the sun is so bad for it, and how to protect it with a few of our amazing products.

The photo below is a cross-section of your skin. The outer layer, the part that shows, is the epidermis. This is what protects and "waterproofs" your body. it has no blood vessels, but is instead nourished by the vessels found underneath, in the dermis.

The dermis is where nerve endings, sweat glands, oil glands, blood vessels, and hair follicles are found. The tissues spread throughout the dermis are collagen, elastic tissue and reticular fibers. It is split into several, more complicated layers of connective tissue, and functions to cushion the body from stress and strain.

Underneath the Dermis, you will find an area of fat cells known as the hypodermis, which connects the skin to the muscular tissue and insulates the organs.

What's attacking your skin?

This world is full of pollution that contains oxygen isotopes known as free radicals, which attack your skin, break down the collagen, change your DNA and RNA, and can even cause cancer. To counteract the effects of free radicals, antioxidants are needed, and it's important to find skincare that is rich in antioxidants. 

Far more scary than free radicals, and often found in conjunction with them, the sun's ultraviolet rays cause extreme damage. It is important that your sunscreen protects against all of the harmful radiation emitted by the sun. 

UVB Radiation-"UV-BURN" rays. These rays affect the epidermis, or outer layer, of your skin. They are the rays that give you a tan, and cause sunburn. They are most intense during the hours of 10am and 2 pm, when the sun is brightest. 

UVA Radiation-"UV-AGE" rays. These rays penetrate deeper into the skin to the dermis layer, and although they do not cause sunburn, they can damage the structure more efficiently than UVB rays. They are intense throughout the entire time the sun is visible, and are not filtered by glass (i.e. you can get damage through a window from these rays).  

So how do these rays affect the aging process? 
It's a little scientific, so follow me if you can. In the dermis, sunlight can cause the breakdown of collagen fibers, which causes the accumulation of abnormal elastin. When the accumulation occurs, it triggers enzymes that rebuild the collagen, but since it's been damaged by the sun, the enzymes don't always work properly. This results in the formation of disorganized collagen fibers known as solar scars. When the skin repeats this imperfect rebuilding process over and over, wrinkles develop, skin loses overall elasticity, and pores enlarge. The combination of the abnormal elastin buildup and the damaged genetic material from the free radicals is what can cause cancer to grow. 

Thickening or thinning of the skin can also occur from UV exposure as collagen and elastin structure is altered, and blood vessels can become more pronounced as a result of the vessel walls thinning. Discoloration such as freckling, liver spots, hyperpigmentation (darkening), or hypopigmentation (white spots) also occur as melanocytes--color producing cells--become sun damaged. When melanocytes are damaged, they produce freckles or liver spots. When they are destroyed altogether, they cause white spots. Raised moles, known as actinic keratoses, are also found in areas of high sun exposure, and are the bases for melanoma--or skin cancer. 

What about your immune system? 
Your skin is the first line of defense in your complex immune system. Not only is it a physical barrier, but it also contains white blood cells and special skin cells known as Langerhans cells that protect against infection and cancer. When the skin is exposed to sunlight, however, certain chemicals are released that suppress these immune factors. When you get a sunburn, you also experience another line of defense known as apoptosis, or cell death. This is usually seen when you peel after a burn. However, extended UV exposure can prevent this cell death, allowing cells to continue to divide and possibly become cancerous.

What kind of skin cancer is out there?
There are three main types of skin cancer: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. 

Melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer because it metastasizes more readily than the other skin cancers. It is believed that the amount of exposure of the skin to the sun before the age of 20 is actually the determining risk factor for melanoma. 

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer and tends to spread locally, not metastasize. 

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer, and it can metastasize although not as commonly as melanoma. The risk of getting basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma is determined by a person's lifetime exposure to UV radiation and the person's pigment protection. (Brannon, Heather M.D.)


Now that you're forever afraid to go anywhere near the sun again, I'm here to tell you that you will be okay! There is a very easy way to protect yourself from ALL of these harmful effects of the sun! At Blush, we carry a great line of skincare known as Kiehl's, and it's been around since 1851. They have several options for sun protection, from the barely-there to the super-sun-shield. 

 Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 is great for those who want a protecting moisturizer. It's sunscreen protects against UVB rays and the moisturizer is great for all skin types. 

Khiel's Ultra Facial Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 is great for those who want a little bit of coverage with their moisturizer. It's lightly tinted, so it evens out skin tone, without looking like you have makeup on. Its lightweight, so it doesn't feel greasy or heavy on your face, and contains broad-spectrum SPF, so it protects against UVA and UVB light.

Khiel's Abyssine Cream+ SPF 23 is an anti-wrinkle defense cream with survival molecules that are found in hydrothermal vents at the depths of the ocean. It helps to soothe and protect skin, repair wrinkles, and contains protection from UVA, UVB, and free radicals. It's great for those who are already experiencing the effects of sun damage. 

Need a bit more protection? Try the Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+. You can layer it over moisturizer or use it alone to prevent 90% of all aging caused by the sun. Its Oil-free, ultra-lightweight texture delivers a synergistic UV filtering system combining patented photo-stabilized technology with long-lasting broad-spectrum protection to deliver outstanding efficacy against UVA & UVB rays on the skin’s surface.

Now of course, We can't forget about your body. Khiel's offers several levels of body sun protection: Vital Sun Protection in SPF 15, 30 or 40. Each formula is a lightweight, non-greasy lotion providing UVA and UVB broad-spectrum sunscreen protection. It is formulated with Aloe, Vitamin E, and skin conditioning ingredients, which nurture and help to soften dry, parched skin. Each lotion is a very water-resistant formulation, protecting up to 80 minutes in water, so it is suited to help meet the year-round sun protection needs of active adults.

Skincare is not the only place you can get UV protection. There are several lines of makeup that also protect against the sun. BECCA Cosmetics offer broad spectrum SPF 25+ in their Luminous Skin Color, and SPF 30 in their Stick Foundation. Jane Iredale offers a physical protection of SPF 20 in their mineral powder foundations, and is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as a prevention method.  With all of these great products available at Blush, you can leave knowing you are protected against the sun! 

Sun protection is just the beginning to having great skin, but it is definitely one of the most important parts. Stay tuned for the next few chapters, as I will discuss how to care for all different skin types, colors, textures, and ages. Because gorgeous skin is not only your first step toward overall beauty, it's also part of keeping yourself healthy! 

<3 C 

1 comment:

  1. Skin is outer covering of our body and taking its care is one of the most important part and natural products are the most important way to keep it safe and healthy.