British Summer Time is upon us and while everyone is eager to savour every last drop of sunshine, this blog explains why smart, safe sunbathing really ought to be your top priority during this mini heat-wave.
What are UV rays and why are they harmful?
UV rays are invisible rays of energy produced by the sun and UVA rays are around all year long, even in cloudy cold weather. During the summer months there is an increased presence of UVB rays. The radiation from UV rays can cause damage to your skin in the form of pigmentation, premature ageing (also known as photo-ageing) and skin cancers.
Why do we need to wear sun protection?
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) will protect your skin against harmful radiation from the sun known as UVA and UVB rays.
How Does SPF Work?
SPF scatters and absorbs the radiation from the sun, preventing concentrated damage from intense rays. This is done by both chemical and physical filters contained within the SPF. You should use a broad spectrum SPF as this will protect you against both UVA and UVB rays. Never use SPF that is out of date as it will be ineffective and will not protect you from sun damage.
We asked Katie, a member of the team here at sk:n HQ, to step under the skin scanner to highlight the long-term effects the sun has on your skin. The dark areas highlight pigmenation caused by sun exposure.
Applying a broad spectrum SPF50 such as Heliocare 360 Mineral
, provides your skin with unrivalled protection from sun damage caused by UVB and UVA rays. Covering half the face, the protection provided is evident. Combined with antioxidant ingredients, this SPF is ideal for preventing premature ageing.
How Should You Apply SPF?
It is really important to make sure you apply SPF correctly; it simply won’t be effective if you don’t.
During the summer as there is an increased presence of UVB rays, SPF should be applied more frequently. If you are actively sunbathing, it is recommended you apply 1oz of SPF (equivalent to a shot glass) over your skin. This should be reapplied every two hours and also immediately after swimming. During the cooler seasons, you can apply your SPF once a day.
Dermatologists recommend that we use at least SPF15 or above.
Many cosmetic products such as foundations contain SPF. There are also now very good SPF products specifically designed for use around the delicate eye area and SPF lip balms to protect the lips from sun damage.
Should Darker Skin Types Use Sun Protection?
Absolutely – darker skin types are also at risk from UV rays.
Even though melanin in the skin does protect us from UV rays, this is limited and you should not rely solely on this.
Darker skin types also tend to suffer with pigmentation problems, which can be exacerbated by exposure to the sun.
What do the Different Protection Ratings Mean?
Protection against UVA rays is measured using a five-star rating, with five stars being the highest level of protection and one star being the lowest.
UVB protection ratings indicate how long it will take for the UVB rays to redden your skin. Unprotected skin takes approximately 20 minutes to turn red. Using an SPF15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening for 15 times longer – about five hours.
Protection ratings are also measured by how much radiation the SPF filters. For example, SPF15 filters out 93% of the sun’s radiation; SPF30 filters out 97% and SPF50 filters out 98%.
Is the Same SPF Suitable for the Face and Body?
If the SPF is non-comedogenic (does not block the pores) then it will be suitable for the face as well as the body.
Sun Protection Top Tips
1. Avoid sun exposure between 10am and 4pm when the rays are at their most intense.
2. Wear long sleeves and a hat.
3. Wear sunglasses with high UV protection.
4. Water can reflect and increase the risk of burning, so apply extra SPF when swimming.