MAKE-UP AS PROTECTION. IN PREPARING FOR A DAY IN THE SUN most would gather together a hat with a visor or wide brim, sunblock, sunglasses, and possibly a neck gator or other clothing with a high Ultraviolet Protection Factor Rating (UPF) clothing.
Check. Before heading out, have you also applied make-up? Women might not want to admit they have touched up their faces with foundation and/or powder and used eyeliner, shadow, and mascara. Wearing cosmetics is not generally considered something outdoor sports enthusiasts do. And most men would not consider purchasing makeup; putting it on specifically to prepare for an outside activity would be unthinkable for rugged males and females.
But if worried about too much exposure to the sun and air pollution and their aging and cancer-promoting actions, perhaps make-up as “cosmeceuticals” might be re-defined as another barrier form of protection that benefits the skin
A May 2017 article in the Australian Journal of Pharmacy by Megan Haggan, “Could Wearing Make-up Slow Skin Aging,” references a press release by the Australasian College of Dermatologists expert Dr. Phillip Artemi. He explains how covering up with darker pigmented products and light-reflecting highlights might be the next best defense against these environmental exposures. Especially around the eyes, in areas that aren’t typically well covered by sunscreen applications. The lips may also be helped by the use of deeply pigmented lipstick, rather than clear glosses.
Allure.com also covered the issue in a 2017 piece, “Wearing More Make-up Might Actually Be Good For Your Skin” by Macaela Mackenzie. In it Dr. Artemi is quoted. “While sunscreens do a lot, they don’t do enough and shouldn’t be relied on solely for skin health”, Artemi said. “We now advise that functional colored cosmetics should be added to the long-standing advice in order to further reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature aging as well as protecting against the increasing danger of air pollution.”
I was happy to see the ACD press release, even if a year late. I had been acting on faith that make-up was indeed protective, since all the way back in 1980, when I was taking a clinical dermatology elective in medical school.
Conscious of my facial appearance in the presence of an academic dermatologist, who had written a handy paperback on common skin conditions, I found myself apologizing to him for wearing make-up. Most women in my class did not tend much to their appearance; it was seen as a sign of professional dedication to not spend time on activities other than medicine. Plus wasn't make-up harmful to skin?
I felt shallow, not serious, to be doing something for vanity that might not be "dermatologist approved". But it was something that had been part of my morning routine since high school, and helped with maintaining confidence and a positive attitude during times of stress. I felt naked without it. When I broached the subject with Dr. Marek Stawiski, he looked at me in surprise. In his clipped Polish accent, he chided me for my lack of knowledge. It was a barrier that was protective of the skin he exclaimed! Don’t stop. And that was the end of the discussion. I chose to believe him.
However, even now I am not able to find supporting research studies in the medical literature that makeup is beneficial to skin, unrelated to the action of SPF-rating-related ingredients and anti-oxidants that some products contain. [Possibly the keywords I use in searching are not correct; if anyone has references, please send]. Perhaps more scientific work will be done and results published on this topic that will be shared with the public.
And, hopefully, we can look forward to the development of over-the-counter, outdoor-sport-specific ‘cosmeceuticals’ for personal use soon. In shades appropriate for female and male outdoorsy-types.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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