Cristina Tamames-Tabar, pharmacists and Doctor in pharmacy and chemical sciences, conducted his doctoral thesis in a chemistry materials lab between France and Spain. As she says, the classic never goes out of style, although it is important to emphasize that natural ingredients are not innocuous. We can give an example of one of the first chemotherapeutics on the market which is a drug that comes from the bark of a tree. In this interview she talks in depth about inflammaging and skin care and one of the best antiaging treatments that exist, protecting the skin from the sun.
What photoprotection options do we currently find on the market?
There are two types of filters at European level, physical or mineral filters and chemical filters. Nowadays, a 100% natural filter does not exist, although it is true that there are some oils, such as argan oil, which are being seen to have little protection against some type of radiation. Although all the filters are harmless, if we should choose one for children we would definitely chose a physical or mineral filter.
Many people think that if a chemical filter is applied, this will be absorbed and pass to the blood. This is not true, although it is true that more sensitive skin should opt for a physical filter, since it will be less irritating.
And what about the endocrine disruptors?
Endocrine disruptors are particles or chemicals that mimic our hormones. They come mainly from our diet. For example, if we throw plastic into the sea, it will enter the food chain of the animals that live there and, finally, it will end up in our body. We should be aware of these things because it has been seen that in the long term it will have consequences, at an environmental and health level.
What exactly is oral photoprotection or sunscreen?
There are more and more oral photoprotectors and their function is to provide us with many antioxidants. This benefits us because when we are exposed to the sun, we are a kind of giant grilled steak, that causes inflammation in our body . When there is inflammation, the skin flakes off because it gets dehydrated. The sun is one of the largest oxidizing agents out there.
When we oxidize, we suffer from inflammation, since all oxidation is associated with inflammation. In the case of the sun, this inflammation, also called inflammaging , will cause premature aging of the skin. If we take an oral sunscreen rich in antioxidants, we will avoid a large part of this oxidation as a consequence of inflammation .
Getting old is compulsory for everybody but we can do it in a healthy or unhealthy way.
So, protecting our skin 365 days a year with a topical sunscreen, wouldn’t that be enough?
I think it wouldn’t because in the end, just by breathing we oxidize our body and when comes to topical sunscreen we are still not applying it well, since we do not put enough quantity, we do not reapply it and it is impossible reach every part of our body. In addition, the idea that the sunscreen should only be used when we go to the pool or the beach, I think is a serious mistake.
I believe that we must be very conscious of the sun, because I often see that only very clear-skin people or people who get sunburned easily, have this consciousness and it should not be like that.
I personally suffer from rosacea, which is a chronic inflammation of the skin that worsens with the sun, stress, certain diet, poor sleep and hormonal issues. So, if I use something that helps my skin not become more inflamed, I will have everything more controlled and in better condition. If I do not use a suitable sunscreen for me, as many times as necessary and in sufficient quantity, I will not be protecting myself adequately and, as a consequence, my skin will suffer an inflammation that, sustained over time, will cause premature aging.
Oral sunscreen must be used together with a topical sunscreen.
For which people would an oral sunscreen be especially suitable?
Definitely for sensitive skin or skin conditions such as rosacea, it should be a must. Also for those people who take medication. Ibuprofen or birth control pills can cause photosensitivity, so you have to be very careful.
So, should we also follow an antioxidant diet?
In the pharmacy we do skin studies and create routines and one of the first things I ask is to follow a diet rich in antioxidants. If we avoid taking sugar, processed food and everything that inflames and oxidizes, we will achieve a more beautiful and healthy skin.
What ingredients are the most innovative, today, for skin care?
As an antioxidant, I really like sea buckthorn because of the omegas content. It is a very interesting ingredient because it contains a large amount of omega-7 (among others) very necessary for the skin to be in good condition and also, it is practically unique in the plant kingdom.
I also like other plants that help reduce inflammation like turmeric and bamboo.
What other complementary treatments or care would you recommend?
The most important thing is to follow a good hygiene, hydration and adequately protect our skin from the sun. If we do not clean the skin properly, the pollution particles and others will remain attached to the skin and it will become inflamed. If we do not moisturize well, the skin will begin to pull until it breaks, meaning that the protection based on good bacteria disappear. And as for photoprotection, to emphasize again that the best anti- aging treatment is a good sunscreen or photoprotector .
What should a good sunscreen look like?
A good photoprotection is not only ultraviolet A and B but it also has to protect us from infrared and visible rays. If you only have UV protection, we will be protected 5% and not 100%.
Nowadats there are also photoprotectors with anti-pollution filters and blue light, which in my opinion is very interesting. In sensitive skin, an anti-pollution photoprotector is essential since the skin has pores, which are like “holes”. The bigger that hole is (combined and oily skin), the more dirt will go inside and if we have a sensitive skin like, for example, with rosacea, we will find a big hole and a mite that gets inside. Everyone has this mite, but people with rosacea, having poor absorption of mucous membranes, have this mite feeding on the blood that is stagnant due to the rupture of the capillaries. If we use a polymer that degrades biologically that acts as a mesh by opening these pores and holes, we are going to make the skin less dirty and, as a consequence, less inflamed.