Complete Coverage: 5 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Skin Today
Your body’s largest organ—your skin—is the only shield between you and your environment. Handle it with care.
As a beauty professional, you know to hydrate your skin. Hydrating from the inside means drinking lots of water. From the outside it means applying moisturizer multiple times during your busy day. To protect against allergic reactions to salon chemicals, you may wear gloves. While these are important safeguards to avoid skin conditions that could shorten your salon career, it’s even more important to establish habits that prevent skin cancer, which could shorten your life.
Each year in the United States, nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer; melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is responsible for nearly 9,000 U.S. deaths annually. Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among U.S. adolescents and young adults, a development that the medical community blames on excessive exposure to UV rays from the sun and tanning beds.
The skin cancer rates have climbed so steadily that in July 2014 U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak called skin cancer a "major public health problem” and issued the first-ever Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer. This published decree sets five goals:
Goal 1: Increase opportunities for sun protection in outdoor settings.
Goal 2: Provide individuals with the information they need to make informed, healthy choices about UV exposure.
Goal 3: Promote policies that advance the national goal of preventing skin cancer.
Goal 4: Reduce harms from indoor tanning.
Goal 5: Strengthen research, surveillance, monitoring and evaluation related to skin cancer prevention.
Tom Porter, CEO of Malibu C, has made it his mission to educate salon pros and their clients about why oxidation is bad for your skin. The author of You’re Not Aging...
You’re Just Oxidizing!, Porter says that, over time, oxygen reacts with the skin to form free radicals that age the skin with spots, lines and wrinkles. “H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) is one of the harshest ingredients,” Porter notes. “You don’t have to stop using bleach or developer, but realize that rinsing the hair with water doesn’t remove the H2O2.” To remove it from your skin, Porter advises using a few drops of a formula containing vitamin C, an effective antioxidant.
“If you are having problems with dark circles or puffiness under the eyes, make sure your eye crème contains an antiinflammatory ingredient and an ingredient to reduce hemoglobin to combat dark circles,” adds Lisa Ryan, director, Cosmetologists Chicago (CC).
Salon experts recommend following the instructions you would give a skincare client at the salon. “Change your pillowcase after you have had a facial, microdermabrasion or facial peel,” advises CC President Denise Provenzano. “Your skin is fresh and ‘new,’so you do not want to transfer any ‘unwanteds’ from the pillowcase onto your clean skin.”
Always hydrate, says Karen Gordon, CC secretary. “It’s easy to get into the habit of drinking coffee, espresso or cappuccino all day to stay alert,” she explains. “Water, water, water! The more we hydrate ourselves, the healthier our skin will look.”
City of Hope recommends precautions you can take to prevent skin cancer:
1. Avoid sun exposure during the sun’s peak hours, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
2. Always apply sunscreen or makeup with an SPF of 30 or higher before going outdoors. If you’ll be in water or sweating, reapply sunscreen throughout the day.
3. When working outdoors, in addition to applying sunscreen, wear long sleeves, a hat and gloves.
4. Skip the tanning beds.
5. Examine skin monthly, and have any suspicious moles checked by a health-care practitioner. Also see a dermatologist annually to perform a full-body check.