The sun is starting to make a more regular appearance (fingers crossed!), and with that comes concerns about skin care
We sat down with top Vancouver dermatologist and founder of Riversol Skincare, Dr. Jason Rivers, to break down some myths and learn about cutting-edge sun care that will help us all age a little more gracefully.
Q: How often do we have to apply sunscreen for it to be effective?
A: Sunscreens do not have to be re-applied every few hours if a person is not engaged in physical activity that causes sweating or where the sunscreen may be removed inadvertently (for example, toweling off after swimming). If people are active, then the recommendation is to re-apply after activity or every few hours.
Q: What is the one sun smart mistake you see people making?
A: People wait too long before applying a sunscreen. To be effective, a sunscreen needs to be applied before you leave the house—before sun exposure. Studies have shown some people delay as long as an hour of being outdoors before they apply their sunscreen—it’s no wonder people may claim they still “burn” when they use sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens should be applied at least 30 minutes before going outside. Physical sunscreens (with zinc and/or titanium) can be applied much closer to the exposure time, nearly right before going outside.
Q: How can I correct sun damage?
A: Sun damage correction starts with prevention. That means reduction of sun exposure to the skin, skin protection by means of clothing and hats, the use of sunscreen and the use of a gentle cleanser to minimize the effects of air pollutants left over on the skin at the end of the day. To correct sun damage, we recommend agents that can lighten brown spots like the Riversol Corrector and topical retinoids to stimulate new collagen and reduce fine lines, complemented with lasers to reduce redness, uneven skin tones, and fine or deeper lines. Fraxel lasers are best for dark spots and uneven skin tones. IPL lasers will help with dark spots, uneven skin tones, and redness from rosacea. We have a good resource to laser treatments on the Riversol website.
Q: What are your three must-have products that every woman should be using?
A: My must-have products include a gentle surfactant cleanser. One secret to choosing the ideal cleanser is to look for one that produces little "foam" when lathered. While the ingredients that cause this foaming action can be well incorporated into a formula in moderation, too many can be sensitizing to the skin and cause irritation. Allantoin, derived from the comfrey plant is another effective soothing agent on the skin. This is harder to find in formulations due to its price tag as an ingredient, but we've included it in both Riversol cleansers, a fragrance-free and hydrating moisturizer, and an effective sunscreen.
Q: If your foundation or tinted moisturizer has a built-in SPF, do you need an extra layer under it, too?
A: That is not necessary. In Canada, the only way to claim that a product (sunscreen, tinted moisturizer, BB cream, etc.) has an SPF value, is to pass a series of rigorous tests proving their sun protection factor. If your tinted moisturizer is indicating an SPF 30, it has proven itself to be that protective. That said, not all SPFs are created equal. Watch for the UVA logo (it's a circle around the letters "UVA"). If you can find it on the front panel of a sunscreen, that product has been designed to protect against UVA and UVB rays, not just UVB alone. Also, I always recommend an SPF of at least 30. If your tinted moisturizer doesn't meet this mark, it may be time for an upgrade.
Q: What’s up and coming in sun care?
A: We are coming to understand that sunscreens themselves may be potentially damaging to the environment. Therefore, there is a move to recommend sunscreens that contain physical sunscreen ingredients only (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide). Some jurisdictions are planning to ban and/or restrict the use of “chemical” sunscreens (benzophenone and others) in the next few years. Riversol's uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and is 100 percent reef-safe.