While it may be the very beginning of spring here in the Northeast (though it feels like the dead of winter!), that doesn't mean that the sun is finished doing its job. See, even in the colder weather, when you're not traipsing around in shorts, tank tops, flip flops, bathing suits, etc. the sun is still working hard to make an enemy of your skin, if you don't take the steps to protect it. The sun has many tremendous benefits, but under it's bright and cheerful exterior, lurks a dark, angry, hot ball of fire that wants nothing more than to fry your skin and cause you health problems. If you're not careful, you may not only suffer the pain and irritation of sunburn, but you may suffer worse health issues, such as skin cancer.
As a skin care specialist, it is my job to educate others about protecting their skin. The number one thing you can do to protect your skin, on a daily basis, is to use sun protection. There are many different types of sunblock out there, many of which contain harmful ingredients. In fact, the only active ingredients in Brush on Block are: Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide (more on these ingredients ahead). Inactive Ingredients: Alumina, Boron Nitride, Chamomile Flower Extract, Green Tea Extract, Honeysuckle Flower Extract, Iron Oxides, Jojoba Oil, Mica, Rice Lipids, Rice Starch, Safflower Oil, Silica, Stearic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane. Before we go through the steps of using your Brush on Block (after the next 2 paragraphs) let's have a quick skin anatomy overview and short lesson on Ultraviolet (UV) rays and what SPF means in regards to those UV rays. Feel free to skip ahead if you already have a comfortable background in skin anatomy.
The sun wreaks havoc on unprotected skin, and can cause damage such as skin cancer, premature wrinkles, sunburn, and so on. To fully understand this, I think it's important to have a quick anatomical review. So, let's talk skin. The skin has 3 main layers. The outermost layer of skin is called the epidermis, which is made up of 5 layers. Starting from the outermost layer they are, stratum corneum (superficial layer of skin made up of about 15-30 layers of epithelial cells, which are dead skin cells), stratum lucidum (thin, somewhat translucent layer that only exists in the thick skin of the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and palm side of the fingers), stratum granulosum (3-5 layers of cells which generate large amounts of the proteins keratin and keratohyalin, which make up the bulk of the keratinocyte mass in this layer and give it a grainy appearance), stratum spinosum (composed of 8-10 layers of keratinocytes which begin the synthesis of keratin and release a water-repelling glycolipid that helps prevent water loss from the body), and finally, stratum basale (single layer of cells primarily made of basal cells, which are stem cells of the epidermis. The cells in this layer bond to the dermis via intertwining collagen fibers). The dermis, which is beneath the epidermis houses blood vessels, hair follicles, sweat glands, and other structures is made up of 2 layers: Papillary (composed of loose areolar connective tissue and fine and loosely arranged collagen fibers) and Reticular (composed of dense irregular connective tissue featuring densely packed collagen fibers). The dermis contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands. The deepest layer of the skin is subcutaneous tissue, which is also called the hypodermis and is made of fat and connective tissue. Its main job is to connect the skin to the underlying fascia of muscles (see photo above) and bones.
Now that you have a basic understanding of skin, let's talk a little bit about UV (Ultraviolet) rays. UVB rays, when no skin barrier exists, penetrate just through the epidermis, causing sunburn and can contribute to certain types of skin cancer. UVA rays, on the other hand, can penetrate through all layers of the skin, causing premature skin aging and like UVB rays, can contribute to certain skin cancers. It is important to note however, that even though UVA rays can reach deeper into the skin layers (because they have a longer wavelength), they are not as strong as UVB rays. Sunblock or sunscreen that has broad spectrum protection will protect against both UVB and UVA rays. The two active ingredients in Brush on Block that I mentioned earlier are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. Titanium Dioxide is approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for use as a sunscreen, and they list it as one of the most effective active ingredients in sunscreens and sunblocks. Titanium Dioxide is derived from Titanium which is a highly reflective mineral. Due to its reflective properties, it works to reflect the UV rays. It is also nonirritating, non-allergenic, and non-comedogenic. Zinc Oxide provides protection by absorbing primarily UVA light rather than reflecting or scattering it like Titanium Dioxide does. It is non-comedoogenic, and is a mild antimicrobial. In addition to knowing your sunscreen ingredients, it's also important to know what SPF (Sun Protection Factor) your sunscreen has. Brush on Block has an SPF of 30. What does SPF actually mean? SPF measures the length of time it will take for UVB rays to burn skin while using a sunscreen as compared to how long skin takes to burn without the sunscreen. So, for example, SPF of 15 takes 15 times longer to burn skin than no SPF at all. SPF 30 protects the skin against 97 of UVB rays.
All of that being said, let's to dive into the inter-workings of the Brush on Block. I've broken it down into steps for you to follow, plus pictures for those of you who, like me, need to see things in order to learn.
To Open your Brush on Block:
To Release Powder into your Brush on Block:
To left is a video of what Step 7 should look like. You should notice your Brush on Block expel powder out of the top of the brush. The first time you use your Brush on Block, you may need to tap it multiple times on your wrist to begin the flow of the powder through the shaft and into the brush bristles. Once you've "primed" your Brush on Block, you should only need to tap it against your wrist one time, to release the powder. You should always tap it at least once, each time you use it, to make sure that the powder can flow freely.
To Apply your Brush on Block:
To Replace your Brush on Block Refill:
Brush on Block has been the best sunblock purchase I've ever made. I ordered a sample directly from Brush on Block and tried it out and I have been obsessed with it ever since. If you're tired of greasy sunblocks, or if you're just tired of questionable ingredients in your sunblock, look no further! The best part, in my opinion, is the refill. The fact that you don't have to go a purchase a whole new Brush on Block, whenever you run out, is a huge selling point to me. It takes quite some time to run out of your Brush on Block, so don't fret! You won't be throwing money out on this. The purchase price is a great investment, and will last you much longer than you expect.
Stay tuned for my next post all about quickly getting rid of blemishes!