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Celebrating the Solstice, the Sun and being Smart about it.

Why is a Fashion Designer and Style Coach taking time out on “Fashion Friday “ to talk about Sunscreen the day after the summer Solstice?

Because protecting our skin is why we started to wear clothing in the first place!!!

As our species evolved, the basic need to protect our skin from the elements led to covering and clothing ourselves with things from nature. The compilers of Genesis wrote that Adam and Eve created aprons for themselves made of leaves from the fig tree. The Neanderthals (ancestors of many of us who come from the Northern climes) wore fur from animals they killed for food.

That being said, with all the advances in clothing since the first loin cloth and wolverine fur coat, we still need to protect our skin from the elements. On this day of the Summer Solstice (I'm writing this Thursday, June 21), it's apropos to talk about sunscreen and to do so, I “brought” in a Skin Care Expert, but before I introduce Gerry, I'd like to share a little personal history of my love/hate relationship with the sun.

Being born a redhead with a redheaded mother, grandmothers and aunties, the state of my sister's and my skin was always a subject of much concern and

discussion. Long before sunscreens were common place, I remember being a fussed over toddler walking on the beach tripping over one of my dad's retired white button-down shirts with the sleeves rolled up to my wrists while wearing one of my grandmothers wide brimmed hats.

As a teenager, I discovered sunscreens and would save my babysitting money to buy bottles of the stuff so I could ride my bike to the pool everyday with my friends. I remember being mocked for my pale skin, but I did not care because the alternative was being burnt to a crisp... or, worse yet, staying home and not having fun.

In my mid-fifties, I can still hear my grandmother's voice in my head warning me of the dangers of the sun, so I wake up and compulsively slather sunscreen over any area of my skin that may be exposed....and I'm NEVER fooled by an overcast day! As an enthusiastic gardener, bike rider and passionate doggy mommy, not being outdoors is just not an option, because, like my teenage self, I don't want to miss out on any of the fun.

But we hear so many contradictions about sunscreens; questions about their safety and effectiveness. We're now being told that my decades of sunscreen use to prevent cancer could actually cause it!!!! UGH!!! It's difficult to know what to do to best protect yourself yet not add any unnecessary chemicals that may cause harm.

That's why we're “chatting” with Gerry Christopher,* award winning, Licensed Oncology Holistic Esthetician and “skin whisperer.” I sent her a few questions and she's sharing with us her wealth of knowledge, advice and suggestions; that ALL of us (even if you have olive or dark skin!!!) need to hear on this first day of summer!

“Sunscreen should be an important part of of everybody's skin care routine. The biggest question is ...which one? 15? 30? 50? 100? What is the difference? Is more better? You will see a lot of companies and even doctors telling their customers/clients to use 50 or even 100spf. Who do you believe?

First we need to start with the basics. Sunscreen 30spf and below is usually physical (this means mineral...zinc and titanium oxide) anything over 30spf is automatically chemical. So lets start with the Physical sunscreen. This sunscreen acts like a mirror on the skin. UV rays bounce off the sunscreen. Because it is physical usually only needs to be applied once a day (unless sweaty or in water) Chemical sunscreen gets absorbed in the skin. When UV rays hit it changes the UV. In this process the chemicals get broken down and become free radicals (free radicals cause cancer) and needs to be reapplied every 2 hours. Another important thing to concern is the effectiveness. 30spf is 97.5% effective. Anything above 30spf is 98% effective. Is the .5% worth having chemicals on the skin, reapplying every 2 hours and it becoming a free radical? Now the most popular question is .....which company? You want to look for a 30spf with Zinc and Titanium Oxide. You want a reputable skin care company. Be careful. Just because it is sold in a "health food store" or a "healthy chain store" does not make it a good product. If you have any questions or need a good 30spf please feel free to contact us at Nu You Skin Care/ Well Med 215-847-5659.

Have a healthy summer and don't forget to keep your skin protected.”

*More about Gerry Christopher and why we all should heed her advice:

She is the Founder/ Owner of Nu You Skin Care in Ambler, PA and Nu You Well Med in Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. Gerry has over 1800 hours of education in Skin Theory, Treatments, Diagnostic, Oncology, Lasers, Chinese and Ayurveda medicine/treatments and philosophies. She has developed her own Professional Skin Care line to help her client's heal and have beautiful skin. Nu You Skin Care products are also one of the few skin care lines approved for Oncology clients. She has combined her education with her endless hours of hands on diagnosing and treating clients. Many people call her the skin whisperer because of the ability to understand what the skin is revealing about the health of the skin and body. Her mission is that everyone has healthy, amazing skin and feels confident in the skin their in.

Just wanted to leave you with a sweet picture of my grandmother, Tiger Lil.

During her 98th year on this earth, she started to borrow her granddaughter's wide brimmed hats to protect her delicate skin. She taught me well!

If you'd like to give feedback or ask a question about information in this blog, please post a comment below. See you all next Fashion Friday. denise

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