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How living on the French Riviera affects your skin

beautybeauty tips & t…

31 January 2017

When I think of my French Riviera I think of palm trees, clear blue sea, glorious weather and star studded events. The lifestyle for the most part is relaxed yet exciting and there is always the promise of a great ski season on the alps, or the warmth of the Riviera summer just around the corner. This (as most things do) got me thinking about the effects living on the Riviera has on our skin. Are we doing enough to prevent the brown leather bag look that is all to evident as I glance the sea of sun worshipers along the glittering shore line. We may be able to forgive the older generations for this barbaric act and put it down to lack of sun safe education years before. But now we know better, so there shouldn't be any excuses! Yet every week I'm faced with another case of sun damage and uneven skin tone. Amazingly skin cancer is on the rise! We live in a place where the sun shines 211 days of the year, and we wouldn't have it another way, but it comes with a price!

Do you wear SPF?

"Do you wear SPF?" is a question I ask every single client that walks through my door. The short answer is usually "Yes when I go out in the summer" but this is not enough. As the sun shines strongly through my window this cool January afternoon I am reminded that its forgivable to think that inside is a safe zone, but UVA rays can absolutely penetrate glass, if there is sunlight shining on your skin, then you are getting exposure. There is a lot of evidence showing that ongoing exposure to low level UVA rays leads to skin ageing and skin cancers.

Windscreens must be made of laminated glass, which means they're formed from three parts: two 2.1-millimeter layers of glass separated by a 0.8-millimeter piece of stretchy plastic, This layer of plastic helps windscreens absorb allot of the sun's ultraviolet rays. The same however can't be said for the side and rear windows which are usually made from cheaper tempered glass, which is around 4 millimeters thick and doesn't include a layer of plastic.

It bothered me when researching this, as we could be neglecting to protect the skin of our most precious and vulnerable members of the family, our delicate skinned children and babies.
How many of us think to apply sun screen to our little ones before chauffeuring them around?

It's important when choosing a sunscreen that you make sure it contains UVA and UVB filters.

I always recommend Environ's RAD spf15 as the antioxidants also amp up the natural Sun Protection Factor and the formula suits almost every skin type I have come across. (More on SPF and the myths around sun screen in my next article!)

Ultraviolet radiation is invisible and you can't feel it on your skin. It penetrates deeply into our cells, causing changes leading to sunburn, skin ageing, eye damage and skin cancer. There are 3 types of ultraviolet radiation, but only two reach the earth's surface. These are UVA and UVB. UVC is filtered out by the ozone layer.

UVA mostly causes skin ageing and research has now shown that it is also likely to cause skin cancer. UVB causes redness and sunburn and is a major risk factor for all types of skin cancer.

Not only do our oversized sun glasses scream Riviera style, they help prevent eye damage caused by ultraviolet rays and help prevent us from frowning which results in those pesky 11's! - Fashion AND function people! Sunglasses are totally acceptable, perhaps even necessary, all year round! 

The skin during the winter time

Winter sports enthusiasts are at increased risk for overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation. The combination of higher altitude and UV rays reflected by the snow puts skiers and snowboarders at an even higher risk of sun damage. Higher altitude means increased risk of sun damage, since UV radiation exposure increases 4 to 5 percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level. So at an altitude of 9,000 to 10,000 feet, UV radiation may be 35 to 45 percent more intense than at sea level! In addition, snow reflects up to 80 percent of the UV light from the sun, meaning that you are often hit by the same rays twice! So, it can be worse for your skin than sunbathing all on your face! You should be using about a teaspoon on SFP on your face and it should be reapplied regularly.

Living on the French Riviera isn't all doom and gloom (giggles to self!) the Mediterranean diet of fresh fish, fruit, vegetables, whole grains and olive oil is like the elixir of life for the skin!

Olive oil is a traditional fat that has been a dietary staple for some of the world's healthiest populations and there is quite a bit of research behind the health effects of olive oil. Studies show that the fatty acids and antioxidants in olive oil have some powerful health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease. It has also been used on our skin as a moisturizer for centuries! Thank you ancient Romans!

 Omega 3 and Omega 6 are fatty acids found in fish that cannot be made in our body so must be obtained via diet, they encourages the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds which help to heal the skin and improve inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. Victoria Beckham reveled that eating salmon every day completely transformed her skin and cleared up her problematic acne.   

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. It works alongside other antioxidants such as vitamins E and C and is essential for the immune system. A selenium-rich diet can help to protect against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots. Selenium is found in fish, shellfish, eggs, wheatgerm, tomatoes and broccoli.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the types found in avocados, fish nuts and seeds. They provide essential fatty acids which act as a natural moisturizer for your skin. These fats also come packaged with a healthy dose of vitamin E (a vitamin many of us lack), which will help protect against free radical damage, essential in combating premature ageing and sun damage.

The mineral rich sea water boasts several benefits, swimming in seawater can help increase your immune system function, improve circulation, promote overall well-being and exfoliate and hydrate your skin

Do's and Don'ts

Do wear a broad screen sfp everyday

Do wear sun glasses all year round

Do eat a diet balanced diet

Do use active vitamins and antioxidants in your skin care program

Do get regular vitamin facials to improve skin health an overall condition.

Do enjoy our beautiful Cote d'Azur

Don't forget to wear sunscreen!

Beauty tips from our expert, Stephanie Cubeddu from Advanced Skin Clinic