Category Archives: Sun Protection

The Mineral Advantage ~ Why You Should Be Using Sun Protection Every Day


Aaaahhh Calgary! One minute it’s summer, and the next it’s winter. There’s just no in-between, and it has a HUGE impact on our skin’s health and hydration. One minute you are a sweaty, oily mess, the next, dry and flaky. But did you know that no matter the season, it’s best to wear sunscreen all day, every day? You read that right! If you want to prevent wrinkles, loose skin, brown spots and blotchiness, it’s best to use sun protection on a daily basis.


When you turn 70 and people think you’re 52, you’ll thank us for this valuable piece of skin care information! 😉


Before we get into why at SkinScience we prefer mineral sunscreen over chemical sunscreen, let’s address a very commonly asked question: What is an SPF and how does it work? 


Many people are confused when it comes to SPF values and why a higher number doesn’t necessarily mean better protection for our skin (especially over an SPF50). In order to understand SPF, we need to talk about UVA and UVB rays.


The Difference between UVA and UVB rays


There are two types of rays that we need to protect our skin against. UVB – The Burning rays and UVA – the Aging rays. 


UVB light is in the range of 290 nm-320 nm. There are 2 types of UVA rays, UVA1 and UVA2. UVA1 light is in the range 340-400 nm; UVA2 light is in the range 320-340nm.


To give you a better understanding, all light has different wavelengths and are measured in nanometers or nm for short. To put this into perspective, a nanometer is one billionth of a meter. Some are visible and some are not. These differences in wavelengths are important because specific sunscreen actives are needed to protect against these rays. UVA rays don’t burn our skin but can cross glass (and therefore windows) and cause significant damage to the skin.


What Exactly is SPF?


SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor.  This a measurement of how well a sunscreen will protect against UVB rays (based on the assumption that you apply enough ie. teaspoonful for the face), the kind of ray that causes sunburn, damages skin and can contribute to skin cancer. The number of an SPF is a measurement of protection from the amount of UVB exposure and this is where it gets a bit tricky.


If your skin would normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, applying an SPF 15 would (theoretically, if you apply enough sunscreen and in perfect lab conditions) allow you to stay in the sun for approximately 150 minutes (a factor of 15 times longer). Again, this is approximate and will depend on skin type, the intensity of sunlight, environmental conditions and the amount of product applied on the skin. That being said, an SPF value tells us about the amount of UVB rays screened/blocked, but doesn’t tell us anything about how well the product blocks UVA rays (the rays that cause skin aging).



For daily use, most dermatologists recommend an SPF 30 as it offers enough protection for an average day. If you are spending a lot of time outside for hiking, gardening, running, walking, sports or a vacation, a higher SPF will be beneficial for added protection. Most people don’t apply enough to get the true SPF rating. For example if you apply only ½ the amount needed (this is very common) of a 30 SPF your likely only getting an 15 SPF, so less protection. This is why dermatologists (and the Canadian Dermatology Association) have upped the suggested daily minimum from SPF 15 to SPF 30. Again this is enough for the average day. You still need to re-apply every 90 minutes ensure the best protection against damaging UV rays.


Higher SPF sunscreens often mean higher UVB protection but do not tell us anything about UVA (aging) protection. Remember that oh so silent but deadly ray we spoke about earlier? Most chemical sunscreens will claim Broad Spectrum Protection and can get away with it if it can screen one of the types of UVA rays. But remember, there are 2 different UVA rays with different wavelengths.  These rays are aging us and causing damage as we sit in our cars, offices and nap on that sunny spot on our couch! A true, well rounded Broad Spectrum Protection SPF will protect against all UVA (short and long) and UVB rays.


The Mineral Advantage


So, let’s get down to it. Why at SkinScience do we prefer mineral sunscreen over chemical sunscreen? It is really quite simple.


Chemical sunscreens have to absorb into the skin for 15 minutes before being active and then they absorb the rays to act like a screen. The actives found in most chemical sunscreens are a combination of oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and/or octinoxate. Some are known to be more harmful than others, such as oxybenzone. These have been recently called for more research by the Food and Drug Administration for further research on safety, including, skin irritation, hormonal disruption and even skin cancer. That in combination with not always being a true broad spectrum protection (all UVA and UVB protection) is enough to see why mineral sunscreen is a better option. Now let’s get to the benefits of a mineral sunscreen and you can draw your own conclusion.


Mineral sunscreen is safer and does not get absorbed into the skin. It blocks and reflects rays away from our skin immediately as opposed to being absorbed and then filtered like a chemical SPF. The actives in a mineral sun screen are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These are naturally found in our environment and are also safe for our oceans. Most protected reef tours will not allow tourists to use chemical sunscreens because it is harmful to marine life. Zinc is known to be a natural anti-inflammatory and can help regulate oil production (yay for acne prone skin!). Zinc oxide is a true broad spectrum protection and protects against all UVA and UVB rays. There are studies that show that visible light can age us. Think of our computer and television screens, our phones and even the office lighting. Minerals are blocking against these aging wavelengths as well. Can your chemical sunscreen do that? NO!


The following table (courtesy of TiZO) gives a great visual explanation of why zinc oxide is the best mineral sunscreen for you, and why you should not use a sunscreen containing Titanium dioxide alone. Always use a Zinc oxide based sunscreen, or a [zinc oxide + titanium dioxide] based sunscreen.



Our Clinic’s Favorites


 Some of our favorite mineral sunscreens are:

SkinCeuticals – Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF50 & Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF50 

DermaQuest – SheerZinc SPF30

Image Prevention Plus – Daily Hydrating Moisturizer SPF30 & Daily Tinted Moisturizer SPF30 (oil free).

Colorescience – Sunforgettable Powder Sunscreen SPF50


Good to Know (and Remember)


  • The sun is wonderful for your overall health, but can be damaging to the skin (and eyes). Wear your SPF daily, and sunglasses too!
  • UVA and UVB rays are present even on a cloudy day, whether it’s spring, summer, fall or winter.
  • While UVB rays are not as strong in the winter, UVA rays are constant throughout the year and can contribute to skin aging.
  • UVA can easily go through glass (and that includes windows) into your home, car or office.
  • Even if you are not feeling or seeing the burning effects of the sun, the rays are still there.
  • Think of your SPF as a daily moisturizer and not just sun protection because you now know a mineral SPF can protect against so much more!


Wondering which mineral SPF would be best for YOU? Search no more, come and visit us today and let’s find a sun protection you will fall in love with! (yes, it is possible!)



Online Shopping:


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Tried, Tested + True >>> Why Zinc Oxide Might Be Your New BFF!

Zinc could be your new skincare BFF!

This little skincare ingredient has a lot of good to give your skin. Here is ALL you need to know about Zinc in your skincare and where to find it!

1. SKIN HEALING // Helps with skin regeneration and promotes healthy healing while reducing inflammation

2. ACNE FIGHTER + SPOT TX // Reduces redness associated with acne and helps vitamin A (a gold standard in acne treatment) work better!

3. REDUCES OILINESS // Zinc is like a STOP sign to sebum (the oily stuff on your skin), because oily skin types make lots of sebum, using Zinc in skincare can get sebum production back to normal!

4. SUN PROTECTION // Zinc is the ultimate (and healthy) sunscreen ingredient! It’s stable, protects against UVA, UVB, infrareds (heat) and visible light! The ultimate summer multitasker

Our favorite Zinc products?

DermaQuest SheerZinc SPF30

IMAGE Prevention + Hydrating SPF30

IMAGE Prevention + Matte SPF32

IMAGE Prevention + Ultimate SPF50

Younger Décolletage in 5 easy steps

It’s easy to forget that the appearance of your décolletage might be giving away your age. We tend to focus on our faces, and unfortunately this important area can be sidelined.  The décolletage is an area that. For the vast majority of us, has lots of sun damage, making it very prone to wrinkling, loss of elasticity, thinning and crepey-ness. There are five easy things you can do to help this area look more youthful!



Dead skin cells can build-up anywhere on your body. They serve an important purpose, but unfortunately, they also make crepey skin look worse, wrinkles look deeper and skin overall looking duller and older.  We generally don’t recommend scrubs on the delicate décolletage, especially since crepey-ness is the first sign of collagen and elastin loss (meaning skin wont bounce back from harsh scrubbing), however the Vivier Vitamin C Scrub is AWESOME. It will gently lift away dead skin cells without causing further damage to thin skin AND it gives a dose of plumping hyaluronic acid to help smooth out fine lines!


Avoid: Strong AHA’s or BHA’s as they can be quite overpowering on the décolletage.



We often moisturize our bodies right out of the shower, but sometimes that is not enough.  In the arid environment that is Calgary, we need to actually help retrain our dry skin to KEEP moisture in. When moisturizer is applied, but skin still feels dry (or crepey) adding a layer of skin plumping hyaluronic acid before you moisturize will increase the amount of water your skin holds onto, creating healthier skin with fewer fine line.



The next step is soooo obvious.  Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.  Find one you like, so that you remember to use it, and put it on, every morning.  The AAD (American Association Dermatology) recommends an SPF 30 for daily use. Studies have shown that it’s never too late to start using an SPF daily, so remember, even if you think you are too far gone for an SPF to help, in truth ; it’s never too late!



Serums offer the highest concentration of anti-aging ingredients per ounce. There are a wide a variety of anti-aging serums on the market, the best ones for décolletage tend to focus on rebuilding collagen and elastin as well thickening skin. We recommend the use of peptides to rebuild collagen, growth factors to thicken skin with damaged elastin and something to stop glycation.  You don’t need to use all three, be consistent with always using one of these in the long run and you are sure to be delighted with the results.  Our favorites:


Neocutis: Bio Gel

SkinSceuticals: AGE Interrupter

Dermaquest: Stem Cell Rebuilding Complex

(Check our online store for all three!)


Avoid: Serums or creams containing Retin or Retinoic Acid.  The décolletage frequently responds with rashes and irritation to these ingredients.



The most popular treatment at SkinScience for décolletage is IPL.  It creates a smooth, even, fresher décolletage. At Skinscience we recommend 2 treatments to start, spaced 1 month apart. Results are seen quickly and are long lasting. An IPL treatment will target sun-damage, redness AND stimulates collagen!! The treatment is comfortable, and the results are consistently good!



What are you waiting for!  Call today to find out how you can have a more youthful décolletage! As always we are here to help you create the perfect, customized routine and treatment schedule for YOUR skin!


(403) 287-1477

Ouch! You Have a Sunburn, Now What?

So, you’ve got yourself into a pickle.  You tried to avoid it, but still ended up with a sun burn. So now what the heck to do about it?  We have a step by step plan to recover from your sunburn!


Re-Hydrate Your Body

Spending the day in the sun can really dehydrate you. Sunburns will only amplify that. If you are dehydrated, you will have a harder time recovering from your burn.  If you are concerned you are dehydrated, start with a rehydration supplement (Gatorade will do) and then keep up with drinking extra water for the next 24 hours.


Manage Discomfort

Start with an NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory). An Aspirin or an Advil will go a long way in helping to reduce the painful, hot, inflammation from the inside out. Reduced inflammation often means faster healing. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to determine dosage and which one is the best for you.


Hydrate Topically

Our favorite is the Avene Thermal Spring Water, in the aerosol spray can. You can buy it at many large chain pharmacies (Shoppers Drug Mart if you are in YYC). The water is medically sterile, and bottled in France at the Avene spring, which is world renowned for its healing properties.


Aloe Vera It Up

If you have a plant, that’s obviously perfect. In Canada though, that is not always an option. Find an Aloe Vera gel at your pharmacy with as few ingredients as possible and apply it as needed.  Keep it in your refrigerator for extra soothing and cooling.


Things to Avoid

Hot water in the shower or bath (48-72 hours)

Saunas, steam rooms (4-7 days)

Heavy, thick creams that can trap the heat in your skin (48 hours)

Scrubs, loofas or anything abrasive (5-7 days, or until healed)

AHA’s, BHA’s and retin or retinol (5-14 days, or until healed)


Important to Remember

It takes hours for a sunburn to fully develop. Once you see the signs of a sunburn, its already happened! Take steps as soon as you can to prevent it from getting worse.


If you need to go outside again while you have a sunburn, find a Zinc based SPF. Zinc is a naturally occurring mineral that creates a physical barrier between UVA/UVB rays and your skin while simultaneously reducing inflammation. Chemical sunscreens will reflect or absorbs rays, a process which can create heat in the skin and be quite uncomfortable if you already have a burn! So, find some Zinc based sunblock!


If you have burned to the point of blisters, it is wise to seek medical attention from your family doctor to make sure that it doesn’t get infected.



Practice safe sun! Apply your sunscreen every 2-3 hours, keep yourself hydrated, and watch out for peak UVA/UVB hours. Enjoy your summer and know, we are always here to answer your questions about which sunscreen is right for you!




More Important Than Sunscreen

The dog days of summer are upon us.  The heat is high and the sun is strong!  You are armed with your SPF to prevent aging and sunburns, but what is even more important that sunscreen?

Planning your outside activities at the right time. In this blog, we are out to show that an ounce of sunscreen is just as important as an ounce of planning.


The Ultraviolet Index (or UV index) is a tool the World Health Organization endorses and sets guidelines for that helps sun-seekers understand how quickly they can be harmed (aka sunburned) while in the sun.  It is a scale from 1 – 12. The lower the number the lower the risk and less likelihood of getting burned.  The higher the number the higher the likelihood of burning and greater risk to skin and eyes.  It’s pretty straight forward.


A UV index rating is applied to a specific place on the globe. A specific area or city’s index rating is determined using several pieces of information; including elevation, forecasted ozone levels, forecasted cloud level and the ground level strength of ultraviolet radiation. Depending on the calculation model, there are sometimes other factors included as well.


Finding a UV index now a day is pretty easy.  Most major newspapers publish it on the weather page. Google offers a quick UV rating for your location. We love Apps for your smart phone! UVLens is a free app available in the Apple App Store, and it allows you to enter information about your skin tone and coloring to give an idea of how quickly you would burn in your current location.  (We are not paid endorsers of this app, we are just sharing a tool that we have found helpful!) It also allows you to check the UV index forecast for the near future, so that you can AVOID the sun when the UV index is at its peak. Because sometimes a little bit of avoidance is worth so much!


Don’t have your phone with you? Trust the shadows. A quick way to determine how quickly you will burn is to see how long or short your shadow is. The shorter your shadow is when standing outside, the higher your risk is. The longer or taller (than you) it is the less your risk is.


Whenever possible, avoid being outside during peak UV times. This usually is in the middle of the day. When you have to go out during peak hours, make sure you’ve got sunscreen AND a hat AND sunglasses. If the numbers are really high, clothing is helpful and knowing your shady areas in advance.


For sunscreen recommendations, sun safety tips, help getting rid of sun damage and more, call us! We will help you have the skin you’ve always wanted!