Sunscreen Isn’t Just Sunscreen

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With Texas winters just as sunny as Texas summers, it’s still an important time to protect your skin, the RIGHT way. Did you know that only 3% of factors that lead to premature aging are genetic and 97% are related to environmental triggers of reactive oxygen species (free radicals that lead to cellular damage)? The majority of free radicals result from exposure to UV-A and UV-B light but there are other triggers. These triggers, believe it or not, include blue light from phones and computer screens, environmental pollutants, and infrared radiation. Sunscreens alone are ineffective in counteracting these factors. First and foremost, practice avoidance of direct sun exposure, if possible. The era of basking in the sun for hours, to tan our skin, should be a thing of the past if you want to maintain a youthful appearance.

So, how does one effectively avoid sun damage or counteract the years of damage already suffered from environmental factors?
The most effective means of preventing further damage to our skin, in addition to limited exposure, is a miner al/physical sunscreen solution. Common sunscreens are replete with allergens and chemical irritants. Some studies have shown up to 72% commercially available sunscreens have skin irritants and allergens and are very ineffective at blocking the harmful UV rays of the sun, or worse, can damage the skin. Because blue light, and chemical pollutants and airborne particles also contribute to premature wrinkling and discoloration of our skin, it is vital to wear a physical barrier sunscreen inside our homes as well as outside the home.

Although there are benefits of sun exposure (vitamin D strengthens our bones) and blue light (regulation of circadian rhythm), too much of either leads to free radical formation and damage to our skin. It is important to wear a mineral-based sunscreen indoors when exposed to ambient light, phone screens, and computer screens year-round. Most commercial sunscreens are chemical based. These products contain harmful chemicals known to disrupt hormones, contain allergens, and damage the coral reefs. They are also chemically unstable and can actually create free radicals that lead to cellular damage and hormonal disruption.

What to use?
For sunscreen protection, products with Titanium, Zinc Oxide, and/or Iron Oxide are the most effective. SPF should be 50 or less. F or pre-existing sun damage and to maintain youthful skin, antioxidants should be applied twice daily, in the morning and evening. This includes Hydroxy Acids, such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid, and a retinoid/retinoic acid product. Hydroxy Acids are potent antioxidants and lighten skin darkened by sun/light exposure.

Retinoids (retinol and tretinoin) are potent antioxidants effective at increasing collagen synthesis and blood flow in photoaged skin. By increasing collagen and other proteins in the skin responsible for elasticity, hydration, and fullness, they help to maintain a youthful appearance by diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. With all hydroxy acids and retinoids, sensitivity to the sun may occur, another reason to practice limited exposure.

The bottom line is to avoid excessive sun exposure, blue light exposure, and environmental pollutants. As a barrier to photodamage, the best product is a physical sunscreen like the C YRxMD Skincare line’s Tinted Sunblock or Sun Defense. These products should be worn daily, whether inside or outside, and are safe for all ages. To treat sun-damaged skin and to maintain youthful skin, antioxidants such as Hydroxy Acids and Retinols are effective daily treatments. They should be applied twice daily. The Antioxidant Cream and Retinol pads and T retinol 1% creams by CYRxMD are medical-grade products developed by a Ma yo Clinic trained physician, Dr Steven Cyr. 90% of the products in the CYRxMD SKINCARE line ar e free of allergens, chemicals, and preservatives. They are also cruelty free. For a detailed view of the products in the C YRxMD SKINCARE portfolio, please visit cyrmdskincare.com.

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