Traditionally, Japanese women have avoided the sun. One reason is that clear, pale complexions have been a mark of class and beauty since ancient times. Another reason is that Japanese skins are quite sensitive to sunburn and blotching from over-exposure. While the West has had sun worshipers since the early part of this century, it is only in the last few decades that they’ve appeared on Japanese beaches. The results are already becoming visible: Older Japanese ladies who grew up avoiding the sun generally have smooth, clear complexions – in fact, you’d be hard-pressed to guess their ages – while younger women who bake themselves every summer are experiencing early wrinkles and spot-pigmentation.
That is, the typical leathery, blotchy skin that results from sun damage. sunbathing is a trade-off. Besides giving you a healthy-looking color, it can help strengthen the skin, and the ultraviolet rays are a good source of vitamin D, which makes bones stronger. But there is no getting around the fact that tanning makes your skin wrinkle, and is a leading cause of skin cancer. If that concerns you, you should simply stay out of the sun, or, take precautions. Use a sunblock base cream (total sun-block), with thick foundation over it. Stay under the beach umbrella, wear a hat, and keep yourself covered. Re-apply foundation every two to three hours, checking the mirror to make sure you haven’t missed any patches.
Note: If you have very oily skin, use a powder-based foundation with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor); up to 30 SPF is now available.
Whether or not you want to tan, prevent burning by wiping off sweat frequently, and occasionally cooling your face with a spray of mineral water – or try the Japanese summertime solution and use a brightly colored fan to cool yourself!
If you do opt for tanning, by all means don’t get sunburned. When starting a tan, stay out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm, when the ultraviolet rays are strongest. Begin with just a few minutes of exposure from 10-11 am, or 4-5 pm, before building up to longer exposures. Use suntan oil with an SPF factor of at least 4 (or more, according to your skin type) to screen out some of the ultraviolet rays.
If you do burn, for about a week afterward, do not scrub or manipulate the skin roughly, as that could complicate the damage already caused by the burn. After sunning, bathe or shower in lukewarm water, being sure to lather soap into skin with the palms, not with a rough washcloth. After bathing, massage for three minutes to get rid of dry skin. Apply moisture lotion. Use a face pack twice a week to open the pores and assist in recovery. Take ample amounts of vitamins C and E. Neglecting these steps can lead to blotches, freckles, wrinkles, and rough, dry skin. In short:
- – KNOW your skin – its weak and strong points.
- – COMPENSATE for any deficiencies with the right skin-care products.
- – GET HELP for acne, either at the cosmetic counter or from a competent dermatologist.
- – THINK DEEPER than skin – eat and sleep right.
- – SUNTAN SMART – and beware of the trade-offs.
Source: Grace Maeda’s Book – “Japanese Secrets to Beautiful Skin” Chapter #2