The author of this post, Lina Jacobson, is a licensed esthetician from Boise, Idaho who has operated her own salon for more than 18 years. Because she is a kindred soul who enjoys the rigorous scientific content found on BFT, Lina contacted us several months ago to learn more about AnteAGE, the anti-aging skincare system developed by Drjohn and Drgeorge (yes, we actually do wear daytime work hats.)
We have grown fond of Lina. We admire people who take the professional responsibility of providing modern scientifically sound skincare to their clients seriously. While there are many like her in the industry, we know that many are not. On more than one occasion, BFT has been utterly amazed at the scientific ignorance and naiveté of practicing estheticians. After reading what Lina has to say, BFT considers the people of Boise fortunate to have this woman and resource in their midst.
“Thank you for your great article on PIH. I have three comments I would like to share with your readers.”
First, I completely agree that whenever possible, sun protection is the first line of defense against PIH – easy to do and effective. Perfectly logical, right? Don’t be surprised if you sometimes get push-back.
I was recently working with a 14 year old girl with stage 3 acne and we were making progress. Because this young girl played soccer, I stressed with her and her mother (who is a nurse practitioner) that sun protection was very important because of the risk of PIH, especially with her skin type. Her mother argued with me that she didn’t like her children to use sunblock because of the risk of Vitamin D deficiency. (That sound you hear is duct tape being applied to my head to prevent explosion.)
Second, as your post points out, the risk of PIH in people of color is significant but sun protection is about much more than preventing PIH. More than 90% of all skin cancers are caused by sun exposure and the American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 3 Caucasians will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. And concerning sun protection, it is not helpful that there has been such confusion regarding the terms sunscreen and sunblock, as if they are interchangeable; they are not. (New FDA labeling requirements posted below should be helpful.)
About Solar Radiation
There are three types of ultraviolet solar radiation, UVA, UVB, and UVC. We need only concern ourselves with the first two as UVC radiation is prevented from reaching the earth’s surface by the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere. Be aware that UVA and UVB solar radiation penetrates through glass so riding in a car or being near windows still puts your skin at risk.
In older parlance, the term sunscreens referred to products containing chemicals that protected primarily against UVB (think burning) rays, wavelengths that range from 290nm to roughly 320nm. The one exception is Avobenzone, which covers 330nm to 400nm, but doesn’t cover the burning range from 290 to 330nm. Because sunscreens don’t block but rather absorb and dissipate UV rays, it is best to apply these products 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. While most people tolerate chemical sunscreens, many find them irritating. It was commonly believed that sunscreen protects against all solar radiation. Not so. Chemical sunscreen ingredients provide protection primarily against the shorter sunburn inducing UVB rays, not UVA.
Sunblocks (now an outmoded and FDA restricted term) contain the minerals zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, which scatter and reflect UV. They are protective immediately upon application and block BOTH UVB and UVA (think pro-aging) radiation. UVA rays range from 290nm to 400nm and can penetrate deeply into the dermis so their damaging effects on the skin are more profound – destruction of collagen and elastin, hyper or hypo pigmentation, and injury to the DNA. Newer formulations are more user friendly, avoiding the white heavy coated look and feel of past products. The result is increased compliance by both men and women.
New FDA label regulations issued this summer are intended to clarify the consumer confusion that arises from the terms sunscreen and sunblock. All topical sun protection products are now referred to as sunscreens. The new regulations are:
· Broad Spectrum designation. Sunscreens that pass FDA’s broad spectrum test procedure, which measures a product’s ultraviolet A (UVA) protection relative to its ultraviolet B (UVB) protection, may be labeled as “Broad Spectrum SPF [value]” on the front label. For Broad Spectrum sunscreens, SPF values also indicate the amount or magnitude of overall protection. Broad Spectrum SPF products with SPF values higher than 15 provide greater protection and may claim additional uses, as described in the next bullet.
· Use claims. Only Broad Spectrum sunscreens with an SPF value of 15 or higher can claim to reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging if used as directed with other sun protection measures. Non-Broad Spectrum sunscreens and Broad Spectrum sunscreens with an SPF value between 2 and 14 can only claim to help prevent sunburn.
· “Waterproof,” “sweatproof” or “sunblock” claims. Manufacturers cannot label sunscreens as “waterproof” or “sweatproof,” or identify their products as “sunblocks,” because these claims overstate their effectiveness. Sunscreens also cannot claim to provide sun protection for more than 2 hours without reapplication or to provide protection immediately after application (for example– “instant protection”) without submitting data to support these claims and obtaining FDA approval.
· Water resistance claims. Water resistance claims on the front label must indicate whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating, based on standard testing. Sunscreens that are not water resistant must include a direction instructing consumers to use a water resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating.
· Drug Facts. All sunscreens must include standard “Drug Facts” information on the back and/or side of the container.
Recently, there has been controversy surrounding the use of “nano” particles in connection with oxides of zinc and titanium. By definition, a nano particle is smaller than 100 nanometers. Some theorize that particles this small may have the ability to penetrate through the different layers of skin, possibly being introduced into the bloodstream where they could wreak havoc on distant cells and organs. That has not yet been definitively proved and the FDA has thus far declined to weigh in on the issue. Many sophisticated formulations on the market completely avoid the nano particle controversy altogether by using larger particle sizes.
Read Your Labels
Because sun protection is serious business and ingredients matter, I am not an advocate of products that combine multiple functions. Moisturizer is moisturizer, makeup is makeup, and sun protection is sun protection. Keep it simple. In my opinion compliance with sun protection is important enough to stick with a single product devoted solely to that purpose.
Bottom Line – be a label reader. Ingredients matter so don’t just look for a SPF rating. In fact, I strongly believe the use of SPF ratings has led the consumer to a false sense of security, “If I’m not burning, I must be fine”. Not necessarily so and now you know why.
Third, solar radiation causes inflammation (i.e. sunburn) which not only is contributory to PIH, but is also directly injurious to collagen, elastin, and DNA. Beyond sun protection, there is something else one can consider that can be of significant benefit – using a science-based therapeutic product to provide anti-inflammatory biosignals
In my opinion, the two doctors of this website have done their homework; they have tapped into the latest research being done on stem cells, particularly the cells that are the focus of regenerative therapies in medical research. The very same bone marrow derived stem cells that control healing and inflammation throughout our lives.
Keeping skin beautiful requires counteracting all the processes of aging, extrinsic and intrinsic. The Cellese AnteAGE Serum and Accelerator have clinically proven active ingredients that address both. The stem cytokines, the anti-oxidants, actives like niacinamide, CoQ10, Vitamins A, E and Ester C, panthenol, grape seed extract, and organic Black tea are the highlights of their fully loaded arsenal for skin protection and regeneration.
Anti-inflammation Is Anti-Aging
What my clients have experienced is exactly what I have experience – less redness, smoother texture, and a more even toned and firmer contour. The anti-inflammatory effect has been particularly pronounced in clients with rosacea. One in particular has been able to discontinue her prescription medications as AnteAGE has calmed her skin so much she no longer experiences “flare ups”. Since inflammation is now well recognized as being pro-aging, the anti-inflammatory effect is definitely an anti-agng benefit as well.
BFT editor note: Drgeorge concurs with the anti-inflammatory benefit seen with rocasea, which he has had for over two decades. On July 1st, it will be two years since he started using AnteAGE and two years since his last rosacea flare-up. It is also two years since he took his last daily dose of oral doxycycline or applied his Metrogel twice daily. Coincidence? He thinks not. Disclaimer: This is a personal observation by Drgeorge and not a medical claim for the use of AnteAGE in diagnosing or treating any disease or condition.
Recently I came across an article (print copy of USA Weekend thrown away) that offered some basic facts about sun & skin cancer: the standard things to do and not to do etc. I was really surprised that it, also, stated that many skin cancer growths (melanoma) can start on areas of the body that are rarely (if ever) exposed to the sun. I forget the percentage referenced in the article re this phenomenon. But, it seemed super odd to me given all the standard info re sunscreen, protective wear while out in the sun, sunburns etc. that the risk of skin cancer in unexposed -to-the-sun areas of the body is, also, high.. Any thoughts?
It is well established that solar irradiation is a major, and controllable, factor in skin cancer risk. But it is not the only risk, and light is not the only thing to cause DNA mutations. Mutations in the p53 tumour suppressor gene have been linked to several types of cancer. There is a baseline level of genetic mutation occurring in all cells, which accumulates, and seems to accelerate, as we age. And our natural defenses against cancer at a cellular level also decreases with age. Age is a variable we cannot control, but we certainly don’t want to add to it by sitting under sunlamps (or chronically exposing our skin to known toxins).
All types of skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body. While melanoma can be life threatening it is not the only skin cancer to be taken seriously. Both basal and squamous cell cancers are found mainly on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun- the head, face, neck, hands, and arms. Actinic keratosis, is know as a precancerous condition because it has the potential to develop into squamous cell cancer. All types of skin cancer are to be taken seriously so to take what preventative steps you can to avoid the repercussions are worth every bit of effort.
Well said, Lina.
I have a little tale for you to pass on to your vitamin D deficiency concerned mother, if you’re still in contact.
I live in Colorado (330 days of sunshine per year) at 8750 feet elevation (dangerous UV!). Years ago, I was outside most of the day (I did wear a hat usually but I got sunburned often) with no sunscreen. I am very pale skinned (Irish descent). I happened to have my vitamin D level checked when there was a Health Fair nearby that offered very cheap testing. When the lab tested my blood, they were so concerned that they CALLED me!
Want to guess what my vitamin D level was, with my pale skin and extensive exposure to sunlight at high altitude? I had NO detectable vitamin D. Since then, I’ve gone vitamin D deficient again twice (I’m no good at taking the pills). After 20 weeks of 50K D3 (once per week), I have to take 10K every day to keep my D level up.
So there’s something else to it. Sunlight doesn’t protect everyone from vitamin D deficiency.
A good lesson in how different we all are in terms of metabolic makeup.