Sunscreen Made Simple: What you Really Need to Know

UVB rays mostly cause sunburn and they are filtered by windows

UVA rays mostly cause wrinkles, sagging and aging, and they blast through windows

SPF numbers ONLY apply to UVB, and SPF 30 keeps out 97% of UVB rays

All sunscreens need to be re-applied after 2 hrs if you are out in the sun

All sunscreens need to be re-applied after swimming or sweating excessively

No sunscreen is perfect, wear a hat and apply enough to protect you

A day at the beach will require 1/4 to 1/2 an 8oz bottle of sunscreen

Different types of sunscreens protect against different types of rays

UVB chemical blockers include chemicals such as octinoxate, octisalate

UVA chemical blockers include avobenzone, and oxybenzone

Safety concerns have been raised about avobenzone, oxybenzone and other chemical blockers but only 1-5% of what you put onto your skin actually penetrates it

UVA and UVB physical blockers include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide

Chemical sunscreens need 30 minutes to bind to the skin before they are effective

Physical sunscreens, (zinc & titanium), are effective immediately

Sunscreen does not cause Vitamin D deficiency, this is a myth

Sunscreen is still necessary on cloudy days

Look for a sunscreen, like PCA, with the "Skin Cancer Foundation seal of approval

PCA sunscreen has both chemical (octinoxate), and zinc oxide for full protection

PCA has a new physical only tinted sunscreen, with both zinc and titanium

Find a sunscreen you like, approved by the Skin cancer foundation, and USE IT!

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Heliocare: Adding SPF from the Inside Out

What is Heliocare?

Heliocare is an extract from a tropical fern found in South America. This supplement (used both topically and orally) has been used to primarily treat dark spots or pigment for over 30 years.

Over time Heliocare scientifically known as Polypodium leucotomos Extract, has been shown to protect the skin from the damaging effects of the sun, generalized oxidation and chemical damage. The only pure and reliable form of the extract is sold as "Heliocare" or "Fernblock" and this is the formulation that has been studied extensively.

Is Heliocare Safe to use?

Heliocare appears to be very safe. Over 40 years of published studies have not revealed any serious side effects. In one of the larger studies the individuals who took this supplement had six times lower chance of getting sunburn. In additional studies positive results were shown on allergic skin conditions, and some results for improving long term sun damage.

Can I use this instead of sunscreen?

NO! You ALWAYS need sunscreen and this supplement will never replace sunscreen. The use application for Heliocare all depends on your skin type.

How do I know how much to take?

If you are white skinned and just generally want to be protected it may be a good idea to take 1 capsule in the morning and 1 at night. If you have Melasma, the chronic brown pigment which usually springs from hormonal issues, it appears to be useful to take 2 capsules twice per day. If you are going on vacation, and are going to have more sun exposure than usual, you may want to increase to 5 capsules/day (maybe 3 in the am and 2 in the pm). You can also just try Heliocare to see how it affects your skin, as the safety of the supplement has been well established.

Normally I'm not a big fan of supplements, as I think that eating real food is far superior to anything you can get out of a pill. However, since South America is pretty far and munching on ferns doesn't seem that appetizing, Heliocare seems like a pretty good bet. It's available on Amazon, and at Walgreens.

The Truth About Sunscreens

Your face ages as a result mostly of sun damage. 90% of the stuff on your face that looks OLD, is actually caused by the sun; this includes wrinkles, roughness, broken veins, dryness, brown spots and generally irregular color. 90% of non dangerous skin cancers are also sun related. Tanning is actually a sign of a stress in the skin, and is the result of DNA injury. Skin harmed by the sun has decreased amounts of collagen and elastin, both of which normally serve to support your face. How can you prevent these problems?? You know the answer already. SUNSCREEN!

It's clear from all the research that protection from the sun is the best way to prevent the signs of aging in your skin. There are two kinds of ingredients that protect the skin. The first is an organic ingredient which mostly protects from UVB radiation; examples of these are octinoxate or avenobenzone. The second is inorganic, and it generally protects from UVA; an example is zinc oxide. Our favorite sunscreens, made by PCA, have both these ingredients included to provide maximum protection. But it only helps if you put it on!! Most people don't put on enough, and they don't reapply. Putting it on every 2 hours is recommended. This is tough to remember to do, so for this we recommend our little PCA sample sizes which are small enough to put in your purse or car. Some people have concerns about the safety of sunscreens. These concerns are not substantiated by the research. There is no evidence that they have adverse effects on humans. In 1980 a study in rats where they were given HUGE doses, showed some effects, but all the studies in humans have NOT shown significant absorption. So don't worry, it won't hurt you and the sun will.

Studies suggest that sunscreen can repair pre-existing damage, as well as preventing future problems. Adding an antioxidant to your routine is another way to protect yourself further. The skin has its own network of antioxidants working to prevent injury, and fighting to defend your skin at all times. If you add more antioxidants, you'll get more protection against the free radicals causing the damage.

Examples of these antioxidants are Vitamin C, and glutathione; both of which are included in our PCA C Quench product. These topical antioxidants, along with Retin A, are the first line in treating damaged skin. Using these products every day guards you against DNA damage, collagen loss, as well as preventing new injury. Getting a peel of any kind, will also repair sun damage as it causes a cascade of healing which creates new collagen. Protection is so crucial that I'll include a free PCA travel size sunscreen this month when you get a facial and peel with Aundrea, our new aesthetician.

So put on that sunscreen/moisturizer and make sure to reapply! You can improve your wrinkles with Botox and fillers, but if you skin doesn't look healthy, you don't look healthy.