What I learned about skin care from a UV camera.

A couple of weekends ago, I popped into Sephora to check out their black|Up cosmetics display.  As I was preparing to leave, a nice lady came up to me and asked if I wanted to see my skin under the UV camera.  Representatives from Philosophy were offering a  free opportunity to have your skin observed at the deepest levels.  The goal was to identify trouble areas and potential issues hidden deep beneath the surface.

As I waited, I observed the women ahead of me who had visible signs of redness and sun damage, according to the skin machine.  I'll be honest with you, I was a little afraid. Sunscreen didn't come into my life until I was in my thirties and I know for a fact that some of my acne scars reached below the surface.  Who knows what else was going on down there.

Finally my turn came and the machine generated a black and white image of my face.  Luckily, it wasn't that bad.  But there were certainly some issues to that need to be addressed.  Here's what I learned from the experience.

1. Dehydration shows up beneath the surface.  The first thing that caught the eye of the Philosphy representative was a patch of flaky skin on my left cheek.  Before she had a chance to finish her sentence, I reassured her that the peeling skin was a result of the application of retin-A. To this, she responded "retin-A is like a 401(k) plan for your skin.....stay consistent with it!"  To the naked eye, the peeling wasn't visible, thanks to an intensely hydrating sheet mask session the day prior.  But it was good to know that retin-A was working hard on my behalf.  But what if the dryness and peeling was due to dehydration, I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but I've slacked on my water intake to the point where my skin was actually peeling.  That's when I know I've messed up.

2.  Lesson #2.  Be Detailed Oriented
The only real signs of sub-surface sun damage on my face was at my hair line and around my eyebrows.  At first I was really confused until she reasoned that it was probably because I missed those areas when I apply sunscreen.  She's right.  I rarely invest much time in the application of SPF.  Typically, I just focus on the major areas (cheeks and forehead) and move on.  But I saw the error of my ways with my own two eyes and, since then, I've been more detailed, not just with sunscreen, but with other facial beauty products I apply.  Now, I take my time to cover every square inch.

3.  Lesson #3.  Be Proactive
The representative didn't mention anything but I saw what looked like a pimple on the image.  My skin was relatively clear so I didn't quite understand.  Later that day, I examined my skin closely and there it was, hiding deep beneath the surface waiting for the right time to emerge.  Thanks to the dermal imager, was able to take quick action and stop that thing dead in its tracks.  Whenever I notice signs of inflammation below the skin surface, my first course of action is to reach for ample amounts of lemon water to alkalize the body. For some reason, this always works like a charm.  If I need something a little stronger, I turn to GlamGlow's Super Clearing Mud just to make sure that thing never rears its ugly head.

Overall, my skin wasn't too bad and, thankfully there weren't any major areas of concern except for the tiny areas of sun damage (thanks to sunscreen + melanin).  The lesson for today is to make sure that your skin care regimen takes into account the long term issues that may arise, not just what's visible.  Plan ahead. Your future self will thank you for it.


  1. hmmm, while I am intrigued by doing this, I am also quite afraid! I've been using sunscreen for years, but I also lived in Africa (dry desert climate) and now Arizona (dry desert climate) and so I know I have suffered some exposure. Did they give you a copy of your pictures, I'm wondering if they are trained enough to advice folks to take it to their dermatologist. I have a trip planned to sephora soon, if they offer this at my location I will put my big girl panties on and do it!

  2. The whole process is really quick and easy. Good thing for us, melanin is gives us a natural layer of protection. They didn't give a copy pics. Honestly, I don't want it....it's not attractive. Goof luck. Hopefully you'll get a chance to give a try.


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