Fitzpatricks 4-6: Sun Care

Written by Lila Castellanos, L.E.

Although dark skin is naturally more protective against harmful rays from the sun than fair skin, people of all skin types are susceptible to burn if they do not apply sunscreen on a daily basis. The burn may not be as obvious on dark skin, but this does not mean it is harmless. Studies indicate that just one severe sunburn may increase the risk of developing melanoma by as much as 50 percent, with cumulative sun exposure carrying even more risk. Therefore, no one should consider themselves immune to sunburns and skin cancer.


SUN CARE FOR DARKER SKIN TYPES
Melanin may play a larger role, but it doesn’t protect from skin cancer, sunburn, or other forms of skin damage caused by sun exposure. Given enough exposure, any skin type can burn, regardless of how much pigment it has. Recent studies have shown that more than 60 percent of African Americans have never used sunscreen. And, a July 2016 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed that, although melanoma is more frequently found in the caucasian population, it is more deadly in people of color. African American patients were most likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in its later stages than any other group in the study; they also had the worst prognosis and the lowest overall survival rate. It’s up to skin care professionals to change those figures.


SUNSCREENS
Although it used to be difficult to find a sunscreen that was suitable for darker skin tones without leaving white residue from zinc, technological advancements have left many brands cashing in on inclusivity. Shade ranges no longer exclude darker skin tones and there are many different types of SPF products that provide proper coverage for outdoor activities in cream, gel, spray, and powder form.

Chemical sunscreen ingredients, such as para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and cinnamates, absorb ultraviolet rays and convert the sun’s radiation into heat energy. Physical sunscreens, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, deflect and scatter the rays before they penetrate skin. Both types can be effective and safe, if used properly. 


DAMAGE PREVENTION
We have all been told to stay indoors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest, but that’s not an excuse to forgo sunscreen. The sun’s ultraviolet rays penetrate through car windows and glass, so any exposure to light requires basic protection. Clients should wear sunscreen every day, in every season, even if it is cloudy, rainy, or cold outside.

Teach clients how to incorporate sunscreen as part of their daily skin care routine. If they are minimalists, have them opt for facial moisturizers that contain a minimum of SPF 30 or, if they prefer more of a finished face, apply the SPF moisturizer or pure sunscreen directly to the face before putting on foundation. Foundation does not contain the broad-spectrum sunscreen that is needed, so layering is a must. 

When it comes to protecting the body, be sure to apply sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. If exercising or swimming, reapply every 60 to 90 minutes. Look for sun-protective clothing, as there are many brands that have designed SPF-infused clothing, from bathing suits to scarves to lightweight tops and pants. 

When and if a client gets a sunburn, they should immediately apply 90 percent aloe vera gel or the juice squeezed directly from the aloe plant. It soothes damaged skin because it is anti-inflammatory and may prevent the burn from getting worse. If they do not have aloe, a moisturizing lotion that does not contain alcohol can also be healing.

Burns draw fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body, so it is easy to become dehydrated. It’s important to rehydrate by drinking extra liquids, including water and sports drinks that help to replenish electrolytes, immediately and while skin is healing.

If the burn doesn’t improve within 24 hours, they should consult a doctor for additional treatment.


CANCER FACTS
Melanoma has increased 300 percent in recent years. According to the American Cancer Association’s 2018 Cancer Facts and Figures report, the anticipated number of skin cancer diagnoses for the year was projected to reach 178,560 new cases of melanoma in the United States and 91,270 of those cases were expected to be invasive.

The three most common types of skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma, which spreads locally but is treatable; squamous cell carcinoma, which also spreads locally and is treatable; and malignant melanoma, which can be deadly if caught late.

Melanoma is a nondiscriminatory and deadly disease. It can strike anyone, at any age. Left untreated, it can advance rapidly, spreading to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system or bloodstream. Several factors increase the chance for melanoma, including an overabundance of moles, family history, fair skin, frequent sunburns, and overexposure to the sun, especially during the hottest time of day.

No one comes closer to the skin than aestheticians and dermatologists, so it is important to be educated about what abnormalities in the skin look like. Early detection is critical to survival. Through early detection, a client’s chances of having to endure disease-related changes affecting their body image and physical appearance, as well as their spiritual, psychological, and social well-being, are significantly decreased.

2019 Lila CastellanosFor the past 13 years, Lila Castellanos, L.E., owner of Doll Face Skincare Studio, has specialized in skin rejuvenation, lending her expertise to several different environments, including working as a paramedical aesthetician, as well as with day spa and mobile spa business models. It was through these varied experiences, along with the interactions with her loyal clientele, that she honed her passion for improving and maintaining the health and integrity of her clients’ skin. Her adaptability and versatility are equally impressive in providing antiaging facials, treating acne, and minimizing the appearance of scarring, or when addressing skin conditions that arise as a result of hormonal changes. By perfecting the art of delivering luxurious, personalized service along with up-to-date treatment techniques performed with professional equipment and specialized products, Castellanos has successfully developed a loyal clientele.

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