Apothecary: Protect Your Skin

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Thought you knew everything there was to know about protecting your skin from the sun? Think again. The spectrum of sun damage is wider than previously thought, and it seems those years of slathering on the sunscreen wasn’t enough.

According to SkinCeuticals con-sulting scientist Dr. Nadim Shaath infrared radiation will soon be the major focus of sun protection. In the past, scientists concentrated on UVA and UVB rays, but new studies suggest infrared radiation penetrates the skin more deeply than either of these solar wavelengths, causing free radical damage and accelerating signs of aging. Where UVA and UVB only make up seven per cent of the total solar spectrum reaching the skin, infrared radiation accounts for 54 per cent.

There are three types of infrared radiation: IRA, IRB and IRC, but the one causing concern is IRA, which penetrates down to the dermal layers, where you find the structural support for skin cells and dermal fibres like collagen and elastin. Studies show that IRA causes free radicals to form and diminishes the skin’s antioxidant capacity.

Free radicals induced by IRA have been shown to affect genes responsible for the skin’s structure and signalling pathways. Where traditional sunscreens do not protect against IRA, products rich in antioxidants have been clinically proven to prevent damage caused by IRA. Though many brands are in development of products to address IRA, Shaath recommends SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($152), whose blend of antioxidants “neutralize free radicals, suppress radiation-induced oxidative re-actions and inhibit UV-induced melanogenesis.”

And what about the damage already done  by years of exposure to IRA? Shaath says the serum boosts collagen synthesis to help diminish existing fine lines and wrinkles. For ultimate sun protection, pair  the serum with a broad spectrum sunscreen like the ones below. For a store locator for SkinCeuticals, go to www.skinceuticals.com/canada.

Editor’s Picks Aveeno Positively Ageless Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30, $31 at drugstores; Kibio Solaire 50 SPF Suncare Face Lotion, $22 at Shoppers Drug Mart and Murale; Neutrogena Age Shield Face SPF 110, $17 at drugstores.



Achieving a dewy complexion is possible, no matter what your age. Use a scrub to banish dull, drab skin. We love RoC Smoothing Scrub with its pink micro-exfoliating beads and its high levels of glycerin, which won’t strip mature skin of much-needed moisture. $19, available in drugstores











Consider this the anti-Spanx for your hair. Nioxin Diamax’s blend of four ingredients – caffeine, panthenol, niacinamide  and dimethicone – increases the thickness of each  hair strand by 4.5 per cent after only one use. It may not sound like much but, over the whole head, with every strand, the cosmetic results are immediately visible. Women and men can use the spray on wet or dry hair, and the product also makes the hair shaft more resilient against breakage. $60, available in salons


(June 2012)