For nearly a decade Cheryl Cotton is the owner and founder of Soulé Skincare, in Woodland Hills, California. Her calm, understanding demeanor and her deep knowledge and passion to educate clients about skincare will relax you immediately. We’re heading into Q4 and most of us are still romping at beaches and wearing our summer glow mighty well. Cheryl is here to make sure that our melanin doesn’t pop in a bad way. We’re talking skincare and sunscreen queens. She makes some lip pursing, “Mmmmm-moment” points, so listen well Mamas.
Why is sunscreen so important?
Sunscreen is crucial to keeping your skin healthy. A lot of people think that sunscreen protects your skin from sunlight. But, sunscreen actually protects your skin from the penetration of UV rays emitted by the sun. These UV rays are harmful and can trigger a variety of skin disorders.
Why do we think that darker skin means we do not need protection? Where did this thinking come from?
Darker skin tones have a natural SPF of up to 13, while lighter skin tones have much less. So, it’s a misconception and partial truth. UV rays don’t discriminate. They hit all skin with equal strength. If you want to expand the life of your beautiful youthful glow, I highly recommend the use of sunscreen daily as part of your regular skincare routine.
The belief is the natural melanin in our skin protects us from the sun. While it is true that darker skin has more melanin than lighter skin, and this actually does help block the rays from penetrating as quickly, it is not enough protection to prevent sun damage.
Most people think that darker skin doesn’t need protection because we have more melanin in our skin.
A misconception and partial truth, wow. What happens when we don’t wear sunscreen? Sunscreen is not…just to minimize the risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen is used to protect the DNA of your skin cells. Think of sunscreen as a protective shield. When we don’t wear it, we leave our skin exposed, and vulnerable to the harmful effects of UV rays which include premature aging, sunburn, hyperpigmentation, freckles, melasma, and although rare in African-Americans, skin cancer.
What are ultraviolet rays and what do they do to the skin?
Sunscreen is used to protect the skin from Ultraviolet (UV) rays. Simply put, UV is radiation emitted by the sun. …The sun emits three types of UV Radiation, the sunlight that reaches the earth has ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B (UVA and UVB) rays. The third is UVC, it never reaches the earth because it is absorbed by the ozone layer.
UVAging + UVBurning – Yikes!
The best way to differentiate the two rays is: UVA = Aging & UVB = Burn.
UVA rays penetrate the second layer of skin and cause long term damage to skin cells. UVA radiation penetrates through glass and clouds and is present all day, every single day of the year.
UVB rays penetrate the top layer of skin and can burn unprotected skin in as little as 15 mins.
How do we use it properly whether we are on the beach, the pool, or working in the yard or garden?
Physical Sunscreens – Indoor and Outdoor Use
I always recommend a “physical” sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Physical sunscreens are broad-spectrum and act as a shield on the skin by blocking UVA and UVB rays from penetrating. Physical sunscreens contain Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide.
Unlike chemical sunscreens, physical sunscreens are not absorbed into the skin.
Inside: Spending most of your time indoors? Cheryl recommends a nickel-sized amount on your face, good for the whole day.
Outside: Spending a prolonged period outdoors in direct sunlight? She says we must reapply our sunscreen every two hours.
Sunscreen’s strength is broken down by the effects of direct exposure to sunlight. So, in addition to wearing sunscreen, rocking a pair of sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat doesn’t hurt.
Include your BODY in the sunscreen equation!
Apply a broad spectrum SPF to all areas of exposed skin. When at the pool or beach, I recommend applying a water-resistant sunscreen before and immediately after swimming. Most water-resistant sunscreens provide at least 80 minutes of protection and won’t drip into your eyes. It is also important to note, the sun gives off its strongest light between 10 am – 3 pm. So, whenever possible, limit sun exposure during this time or find a nice shaded area to relax.
What are your recommendations for KIDS?
Protecting your child’s skin is one of the most important things you can do. Your child’s skin is sensitive and sunburns are not fun. The absolute same rules apply here. Apply a physical sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Sunscreen lotions, gels, creams, and sprays all provide good protection from the neck down.
Stick it to ‘em!
Sunscreen sticks are great for foreheads, noses, and cheeks because it’s less likely to get into your child’s eyes. Just look out for sunscreen sticks with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.
Physical sunscreens are less likely to irritate your child’s sensitive skin, and as long as you’re using an SPF 30 or higher, it really doesn’t matter whether you use a lotion, cream, gel, stick, or spray.
Every two hours or more, we’re going for lifestyle habits people!
Reapply at least every two hours, more frequently when your child is playing sports, swimming, or sweating.
Ultimately, the best sunscreen is the one your child agrees to wear or will allow you to apply. So, try to find one that your child likes so getting them to wear it won’t be a challenge. Explain the importance of wearing sunscreen (and the consequences if you don’t) so it becomes a lifestyle habit for your child.
Share with the Sugaberries your top three favorite brands of sunscreen and why?
EltaMD UV Clear No White Cast – Yay!
- My absolute favorite is EltaMD UV Clear. It is a lightweight formula that absorbs quickly into the skin without feeling chalky or sticky. With transparent zinc oxide, it doesn’t leave a white or purple cast on the skin. It’s specially formulated for acne and hyperpigmentation so it protects your skin from the sun, helps to minimize breakouts, and evens out skin tone. The addition of lactic and hyaluronic acid gives your skin a really nice glow. My clients love this stuff.
CoTZ Sensitive Non-Tinted Sensitive Skinners this is for you…
2. CoTZ Sensitive Non-Tinted – I like this sunscreen for clients with rosacea or sensitive skin. It’s also great for clients with an active lifestyle or tend to sweat a lot because it’s water-resistant. It’s an all-natural formula with 20% zinc oxide for maximum broad-spectrum protection. It’s oil-free and will not leave a white cast on the face/
Image Prevention+ Daily Ultimate Protection Moisturizer SPF 50 – Ebony Golden Girls, We Gotchu Too!
3. Image Prevention+ Daily Ultimate Protection Moisturizer SPF 50 – This is a moisturizer and SPF in one. It is great for combination, dry, and mature skin and will not clog your pores. This SPF is rich in texture but does not feel heavy on the skin. It smells amazing and can be used on your face and body. I use this in my treatment room. For clients with oily skin, I use the Prevention+ Daily Matte.
Cheryl is a licensed esthetician; and founder of Soulé Skincare, since 2012. From her personal acne struggle and journey to find solutions, she became fascinated with skincare, obsessed with helping others, so she became a skin and acne expert. She received advanced aesthetics training from the world-renowned International Dermal Institute. She is a Certified Acne Specialist, holds additional certifications in PCA Advanced Chemical Peels, Treating Multi-Ethnic Skin, and Diverse Treatments for Hyperpigmentation. Cheryl developed her signature skincare line, A.C.N.E. Solutions, which is specially formulated to treat acne and hyperpigmentation for all skin tones.