Beauty, Fitness & Health, SkincareQ & A: How To Protect Your Skin

Taking care of your skin is one of the most important things you can do, but with all the new products and innovations, sometimes it’s hard to remember exactly what you’re supposed to be doing to protect it. Since we’re heading into the summer, we decided to talk to Dr. Tom Mammone, Executive Director, Clinique Research and Development and get his tips on how to keep your skin healthy and looking great. Here’s the scoop!icon

The Daily Obsession: To protect her skin, what products should every woman wear on a daily basis?
Dr. Tom Mammone: When we think of damage from the environment, we logically think of the sun first. But there are other, less obvious ways the environment can damage your skin. On a daily basis, our skin is exposed to lots of air and water pollution in the form of ozone, smoke, smog, dust and germs, and it’s the daily accumulation of these assaults that lead to skin issues like lack of moisture, rough texture, and looking and feeling less supple. So it is important to use both sunscreen and antioxidants. Clinique always recommends using a daily sunscreen, but you do not need to use an SPF at night. Antioxidants, however, combat not only immediate but also post oxidative damage and are very beneficial if used twice a day.

TDO: What number SPF is sufficient for the average woman to wear every day? What is the most common mistake people make when applying sunscreen?
TM: While in many cases SPF 15-30 is adequate, there are certain situations where it really can benefit to increase this level. As you probably already know, the SPF level really pertains to the amount of time a person can spend in the sun without burning based on their skin type. Many dermatologists have found that people often do not apply their sunscreens often enough or liberally enough and therefore have begun advocating the use of higher SPF’s.

TDO: If someone is using a foundation with an SPF already in it, is it necessary to use sunscreen as well?
TM: Makeup with an SPF can be used in the same way as a moisturizer with an SPF – to protect against incidental daily exposure. Neither should be used for more prolonged exposure such as a holiday at the beach or time spent outdoors playing sports, but they can be very valuable for daily use.

TDO: I’m a teenager starting my sun care regimen for the first time – what should I be doing?
TM: Clinique always recommends using a daily sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. As a teenager, it’s all about prevention and using a daily sunscreen can help protect your skin from damage caused by overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays. In fact, overexposure to sunlight continues to be the leading contributor to premature aging.

TDO: When you’re out in the sun, how often should you apply sunscreen?
TM: The level of SPF multiplied by the amount of time it takes you to burn without sunscreen = the minutes of protection that you will get by using that level of sunscreen. If you’re prone to burning or intend to spend an extended amount of time in the sun, you should consider increasing the number. We recommend at least an SPF range of 15 –30 for both lighter and darker skinned people for daily sun exposure. While darker skinned people require less protection from UVB rays (which causes burning), they still need adequate UVA to protect against skin cancer. It is recommended that you apply sunscreen every 2 hours. A moisturizer with SPF or a daily sunscreen such as Clinique’s City Block is designed to protect from incidental sun exposure like when you walk around the city, drive in your car or get sun through your office window. If you’re going to spend prolonged time in the sun at the beach, skiing or playing other sports, then you should switch to a dedicated sunscreen such as Clinique’s UV-Response line and select an SPF appropriate for your skin – our UV Response line offers a range of SPF’s from 15 to 50.

TDO: Do the sunscreens that claim to be waterproof really work, or should we all still be re-applying when we get out of the water?
TM: For the beach, water or outdoor athletic activities, I recommend choosing a substantive, water resistant formula. These formulas not only maintain their efficacy in water, but are also physically more substantive so that they have a greater probability of adhering to the skin under conditions such as increased activity, sand rubbing on skin, etc. An example of such a water-resistant formula can be found in Clinique’s UV-Response line. In addition, apply an SPF product about 20-30 minutes before you head into the sun. If you’re swimming, reapply after getting out of the water. It’s recommended that you apply sunscreen every 2 hours. And don’t forget to apply enough!

TDO: What area of the body do people forget to protect the most?
TM: I’ve noticed that people often forget to protect particular parts of their body, including their lips, tops of their ears, nose, insoles and the tops of their feet.

TDO: For all of those people out there who like the bronzed look…will you still get a tan if you’re wearing an SPF?
TM: Yes, you will still get color even if you’re wearing an SPF, however, I would recommend using a self-tanner as a way to get a sun-kissed look. Clinique makes a wide variety of self tanners and has recently launched a gradual tanning moisturizer which will provide a natural, safe tan. With this moisturizing formula, we were able to provide mistake-proof application with maximum results reached within one week of daily use.

TDO: What are some self-tanners that you can recommend?
TM: Clinique recently launched a gradual tanner, Touch of Bronze Moisturizing Body Lotion, an every day body moisturizer that hydrates and soothes. This formula contains special self-tan technology and a low level of subtle self tanner (DHA) which allows you to customize the depth of color with visible results within 24 hours. What I like most about this product is that the formula helps strengthen barrier function and contains moisturizing ingredients to nourish skin immediately and over time.

TDO: What are some of your favorite makeup products that come with SPF protection already in them?
TM: As I mentioned previously, makeup with an SPF can be used in the same way as a moisturizer with an SPF – to protect against incidental daily exposure. Neither should be used as protection against more prolonged exposure. Clinique recently launched its Long Last Glosswear SPF 15, which is a great option for people who are looking to add SPF to their daily lip color.

TDO: How often should people see their dermatologist for skin cancer checks?
TM: The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends seeing your physician yearly for a professional skin exam.

Thanks so much for answering our questions, Tom. We’ll all be much better protected from now on with this info! For more information on any of the products mentioned in the interview, check out

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