Weekly Skinspiration May 29, 2017
Dermatology Pearl: Asian Sunscreens and PA++ vs. SPF
I got the following question from a reader and I thought it was a great one (question edited for length):
I’ve been searching for the ‘right’ sunscreen now that it’s getting warmer, and really appreciate your recommendations. =) just a thought- have you tried any asian sunscreens? been reading online that the asian sunscreens are well developed and well tested (i don’t quite understand their whole ++++ rating system but supposedly it means better protection?) curious to see if you have tried any or if you do, what you think of them! =D
I have used Asian sunscreens in the past, but to be completely honest, a lot of them contain whitening agents that leave an odd white sheen on my face. I think it goes back to the Asian ideal of beauty where a lighter more fair complexion is considered to be pretty. I don’t like the whitening agents or the strange cast it leaves, so I mainly use Asian makeup that contains sunscreen in it (check out my #1 favorite Asian cosmetic, the Amore Pacific CC cushion compact review here) but not straight up Asian sunscreen alone.
I didn’t understand the PA+ rating system vs. SPF rating either, so I dug a little deeper. The PA rating system, used in Asian countries like Japan and South Korea, refer to measurement of PPD, or persistent pigment darkening. PPD is the time it takes for your skin to get tanner as a response to UVA exposure, NOT UVB. A PPD of 10 means it takes 10 times longer for your skin to tan if you apply a PPD10 sunscreen. (Alternately, if you use an SPF 50 sunscreen, it means it’ll take 50x as long for your skin to burn and turn red as a result of UVB rays, not UVA rays. More on SPF and UVB here). The Asian PA rating system is as follows:
- PA+ includes sunscreen with PPD 2 to 4
- PA++ includes sunscreen with PPD 4 to 8
- PA+++ includes sunscreen with PPD 8 to 16
- PA++++ includes sunscreen with PPD > 16
Since PA rating only covers UVA, make sure you use something that contains UVB coverage too!
Make p:rem in-shower face pack
I picked up the make p:rem in shower face mask when I was in Seoul a few months ago. I liked the idea of multitasking; you apply the mask on your clean face and leave on for 15-20 minutes while you shower. According to glowrecipe, “the steam and heat allows plumping Hyaluronic Acid and brightening berry extracts to more easily penetrate into skin. Argan oil and Shea butter provide lasting nourishment while Squalene and Ceramides lock in hydration long after your shower.” I love the idea of it but I’m not sure it does all that it proclaims. First of all, 15-20 minute showers are LONG. As dermatologists we recommend < 10 minute showers in lukewarm water so you’re not stripping your skin of all its oils. I find that I can only leave it on for 10-15 minutes at most. The product itself is a thick slippery gel that when applied to the face forms a mask. It stays on pretty well despite water splashing on it. After washing it off, my skin feels minimally more moisturized, but I still need to apply my own essence and moisturizer afterwards. For that reason, this product could be a good first step in the shower if you have extra extra dry skin, but it can’t be used alone for hydration. I will use up the bottle but will probably not purchase again.
I shared a bunch of my picks from several awesome Memorial Day Sales here so check them out! Some of my favorites from the bunch:
We are getting settled into our new home and one of my favorite new spots in our neighborhood is the Hudson River Park. Matt and I made a goal of seeing more sunsets now that we’re on the West side, and let me tell you, the sunsets here are spectacular. If you haven’t come to Hudson River Park, come check it out! There’s even multiple restaurants so you can grab a bite to eat and a glass of wine while enjoying the view. It’s also a great path to run along, and there’s tennis courts and basketball courts and dog parks and playgrounds…ok there’s a LOT of stuff here. BUT…
BE CAREFUL OF THE ROCKS! My nieces and I were playing on the rock structures around the path on our way to the playground and I clumsily tripped and sprained my ankle. I’ve spent the entire weekend immobilized, practicing RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) like we were taught in medical school. It’s getting better but it’s still hard to bear weight on my right leg. Ugh.
In terms of work:
- For the past week I have been on inpatient consults, which means I go see inpatients who have developed skin problems. Check out my post here about the most common problems we get called about on the inpatient side. It’s definitely interesting; the patients unfortunately tend to be more sick with varied presentation. Since one of the most common things we see in the hospital are allergic reactions to medications manifesting as skin rashes, it makes me think about all the medications we prescribe for various reasons, and how they all do have side effects. Something to think about when you’re assessing whether or not oral pills are really necessary.
Have a good week!