In the latest episode of the Chanel series “In Conversation with Dermatologist Amy Wechsler”, Dr. Wechsler, a trusted advisor to CHANEL Skincare, discusses UV protection. You can view the video interview below and read the interview provided by Chanel below the video. Let’s just say she wouldn’t agree with Coco Chanel’s tanning…
Why is it important to wear sunscreen?
There’s nothing more aging or damaging than unprotected sun exposure, which is why sunscreen should be an essential part of every person’s skincare routine every day. Not only does it cause skin cancer, the sun causes wrinkles, fine lines, extra blood vessels, and dark spots. Beyond the beach and the pool in the summer, there are all kinds of places where we get inadvertent sun. In fact, any skin not covered by clothing when you walk outside is getting sun exposure. This is why it’s so important for everyone, regardless of age, race, region, or season, to apply sunscreen on any exposed skin in the morning before leaving home. I’ve been really diligent about sun protection since my early 20’s, and I think my skin is aging at a slower rate, thanks to the care I’ve taken to avoid sun damage.
What sunscreens are best?
You should always use a broad spectrum sunscreen. “Broad spectrum” means it
protects skin from both UVB and UVA exposure. Broad spectrum sunscreens usually
contain a physical UV filter, like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Those two ingredients
seem to be the best, because they block UV rays and they do it right away. You don’t
have to wait a half hour for it to start working. Put it on and you’re protected. They don’t
get broken down by the sun, so you don’t have to put them on every hour like chemical
UV filters. Because they’re minerals, they don’t clog pores and, for the most part, they’re
water and sweat resistant thanks to the formulation. My favorite sunscreen is CHANEL
UV Essentiel. The texture is aesthetically great, and the protection it offers is superb.
Can you be exposed to sun damage indoors?
There are two different kinds of rays: UVA and UVB. We can see the effects of UVB right away in the form of sunburn or a suntan. UVB is a short wavelength that gets blocked by windows. If you’re inside, you aren’t exposed to UVB. But you are exposed to UVA, which also causes skin cancer and premature aging. I nicknamed UVA “the Silent Wrinkler.” It penetrates deeply, but doesn’t give you a tan or a burn. You have no idea that you’re getting exposed to it, but over the years, it accumulates and causes wrinkles, fine lines, brown spots, skin cancer and all the other bad things that UVB rays cause, too. It would be nice to think we’re protected from UVA rays when we’re indoors, but we’re not necessarily. Some windows have UVA shields, but many don’t, including airplane windows and car windows. If you always have your broad-spectrum sunscreen on, you know that you’re protected. I always keep sunscreen in my purse for on-the-go re-application. It’s also a good idea to keep a bottle at your office.
What level of SPF do you recommend?
You can adjust the level of SPF to the season, the climate where you live, your skin tone and your lifestyle. If you have pale skin, you may want to use an SPF 30 or above in colder months and an SPF 50 in warmer months. In the summer and in warmer climates, I think everyone should wear an SPF 50. In winter, an SPF 20 would be fine if you live in a place where it’s cloudy most of the time or if you spend most of your daylight hours indoors. Use your best judgment. Personally, I wear CHANEL UV Essential with SPF 50 every day of the year. I’m very fair and even in the winter and on rainy days, I want to protect my skin from UV damage. The most important thing is that you wear some form of sunscreen with SPF 20 or above every day. People go out to lunch or they’re commuting in their car or they’re flying on an airplane and getting all kinds of sun exposure and don’t even realize it. That’s why being prepared and having that layer of protection on is a great idea.
Can I skip sunscreen if there’s SPF in my moisturizer?
You should always use a sunscreen in addition to your daily moisturizer, in my opinion. There are some products that are a combination moisturizer/sunscreen, but I think an added layer of protection in the form of a sunscreen is a good idea. Think of it as an extra bit of insurance.
How often should I reapply?
If you’re not going outside, you don’t have to reapply. But if you’re going out to lunch or out for a walk, apply sunscreen to any exposed skin. Put it on your face, your ears, your hands, your neck and don’t forget the tops of your feet.
What other steps can you take to prevent sun damage?
To prevent sun damage, it’s important, first, to know that it’s damaging and to not be in denial. Not to fool yourself into thinking that you’ll be able to undo it or fix it in the future. Yes, there are some things that we can do to address sun damage, but protection is critical if you want healthy skin. It’s good to think about sunscreen not just as sun protection, but as sun avoidance. Seeking shade is a really good idea. Walk on the shady side of the street. Wear sunglasses. When you’re walking in the shade and wearing sunglasses, you stop squinting; your whole face just relaxes. When your face relaxes, you’re not producing wrinkles around your eyes. None of this means you should stay inside and never enjoy the outdoors! Just protect yourself with a good broad-spectrum sunscreen, be mindful and have fun!