March 20 is the Vernal Equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere, when the sun will cross directly over the Earth’s equator. This brings the tilt of the Earth’s axis to 23.4 degrees, and this means that the sun’s rays hit us full-on.
March 20 also is Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Doesn’t it make sense to you that the new year begins on the first day of Spring, when birds court and coo, and tender buds swell, rather than in January? I’ve also read that the Great Sphinx is angled in such a way that the rays of the Spring sun point directly at it.
Which brings me to: unless you, too, are an ancient stone carving, you need to step up the solar protection starting right now. It’s incredible to me that, even though the American Cancer Society has been conducting an aggressive public service campaign about the risk of melanoma for more than two decades, the incidence of skin cancer is up, not down.
I think the reason is that new technology makes people cocky. They read that their sun block is SPF 400, and they think they can bask safely.
Not so. Also, many consumers simply don’t slather on enough of the stuff. You need a teaspoon on your face, a shot-glass of it on your body. Re-apply as you swim and sweat, or just every few hours if you’re in intense exposure.
Or here’s another bad reason not to protect your skin: you’ve experienced breakouts as the result of using sunscreen. This is simply because you’re using a formula which doesn’t make your skin happy. Check with your Dermalogica skin therapist and identify your skin conditions. If your skin is sensitized, acneic, in need of deep hydration, and so on, there is a UV product which will keep your skin safe from free radicals and worse without causing more problems.
And here’s a flash from Dr. Diana Howard, our resident chemistry authority. Properly exfoliating skin after sun exposure—which really is every day—may be helpful in averting carcinogens. They may literally be whisked safely off the skin’s surface. Talk to your skin therapist to choose an exfoliant which works for you.