You Are My Sunshine (with SPF, of course)

Sunscreen and Tanning Myths, Tips, Tricks, and Info

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By Crystal King Booth, Founder of Fizz Facial Bar / Licensed Esthetician

Summertime is upon us, complete with cookouts, baseball games, and days on the lake. There’s so much to love about a hot summer day by the pool or watching ocean waves crash onto the shore. With summer comes more outdoor time which leads to more sun exposure, and if you’re not doing it right this could mean sunburns and sun damage.

Surely, you’ll agree there’s few things worse than a sunburn. Your hot, tender flesh against scratchy clothing, stinging from perspiration, feeling pins & needles when you step into the shower. It’s nearly impossible to get comfortable with a sunburn. Not to mention it’s a sure sign that you’ve just experienced significant and potentially threatening damage to your skin.

Did you know a sunburn is essentially a radiation burn from the sun’s ultraviolet rays? Yep! UV radiation from the sun damages DNA and the upper layers of skin cells which causes leaking blood vessels leading to excess fluid and swelling beneath the skin. Doesn’t just sound like some hot, annoying, pink skin now, does it? It’s serious business. Even minor sunburns greatly increase the risk for skin cancer and premature aging.

Did you know sunburns are completely preventable? Yep! You’ve heard the myths (and maybe even believe some yourself) - “I have to get one burn at the beginning of summer just to get it out of the way” or “I can’t tan unless I burn” or “sunburns are fine as long as they don’t blister”. Not true! Proper use of sunscreen (and other smart sun safety methods mentioned below) can help you sail through summer cool as a cucumber with no burn in sight. And yes, you can even tan through sunscreen! You can achieve a golden, gorgeous glow while wearing SPF and never burning. It’s true!

Choosing the perfect sunscreen:

1. SPF 30-50 is the sweet spot. Less than 30 really doesn’t do the trick for extended exposure and more than 50 is truly misleading.

2. Choose a separate SPF for your face, especially if you’re acne prone. Select an oil-free and lightweight formula.

3. Look for ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc. These are successful barriers that are mineral-based.

4. Check expiration dates. Don’t just use the same SPF from year to year because there’s some left in the bottle. You need a new SPF for each summer season. When shopping for an SPF, look for a clearly marked expiration date. If it doesn’t have one, choose another brand or formula.

5. Storage is important. Don’t leave your sunscreen in a hot car or in direct sunlight as it can affect the potency.

6. Say “no way” to spray. Spray sunscreens give a false sense of security as most of the product is blown away when attempting to apply. If you use a spray SPF it’s best to spray onto your hands and then apply to the body. Sunscreen in a lotion form is always the gold standard.

How to use sunscreen:

You might think this is a no-brainer, but we’ve all seen the lobster lady returning from a day at the beach or the guy with the red streaks and splotches from a haphazard sunscreen attempt.

The secret to successful sunscreen is application (and reapplication). No sunscreen works if it’s not used properly.

1. Your first application of the day is recommended 10-15 minutes before sun exposure.

2. Apply a generous amount and don’t forget your ears, hairline (or entire head if you’re bald), edges of swimsuits, hands, and feet. An SPF balm is recommended for your lips.

3. Reapply every 90 minutes or more often if you swim or excessively sweat. Set an alarm if you have to. The last thing you want to do is fall asleep or forget to reapply. One application is not going to protect you from six hours of exposure.

Other ways to practice sun safety:

In addition to sunscreen, there are other simple ways to avoid a sunburn and its damaging effects.

1. Wear sunglasses

2. Use UV protectant clothing

3. Wear a wide-brimmed hat

4. Be aware of medications and supplements that can make you more sun sensitive and plan accordingly (you’ll need less exposure and more breaks in the shade)

5. Avoid excessive direct sunlight during peak hours (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) by taking breaks under an umbrella or tent.

6. Choose UV free tanning options. The safest way to achieve a golden glow is using sunless tanning products. There’s a wide variety of lotions, foams, gels, sprays and drops to help you get the tan you desire.

Healthy skin is beautiful skin and sun safety is just one way to keep your skin at its best. For other ways to achieve your skin goals, visit the licensed professionals at Fizz Facial Bar. Fizz Facial Bar Skin Pros are “Skinny on Skin” certified through the Impact Melanoma Organization, a skin cancer education program for salon professionals designed to help those who are often in close contact with skin to learn how to spot suspicious moles or marks and encourage clients to seek medical care from a dermatologist or health professional for official diagnosis. In addition to this, the Skin Pros at Fizz Facial Bar perform a wide variety of customizable express facials. Facials start at $39, take about 30 minutes, and are offered 7 days a week at three Central Kentucky locations (Lexington - Liberty Road, Nicholasville - Brannon Crossing & Georgetown). Visit, download the Fizz Facial Bar app for iPhone or Android, and follow on Instagram and Facebook.

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