SPF is the hero product in preventing skin damage and early signs of ageing and I'm here to tell you why it's not just for those sunnier summer months!
The sunlight that reaches us is made up of two types of harmful rays - UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin's thickest layer, steadily destroying key substances in skin that give it its firmness and elasticity. UVA rays are a leading cause of wrinkles and skin ageing and can penetrate glass, so we need to protect ourselves from UVA damage even when indoors. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and pigmentation and are the leading cause of skin cancers.
A good broad spectrum SPF, which stands for Sun Protection Factor, protects against both UVA and UVB rays, and can even protect against blue light and other free-radicals.
We are constantly reminded to wear SPF but why is sunscreen so important?
No matter your skin colour or tone, it's important to wear an SPF daily. Up to 80% of the suns rays can pass through clouds, so don't assume you're safe on those
overcast days or throughout the winter months. It's also important to note that snow reflects up to 80% of UV rays, which explains those goggle tan lines on your ski trip!
How does sun damage affect the skin?
We all know that sunburn is when the skin is damaged due to too much sun exposure, but there is so much more to skin damage than just burning. Collagen is what gives the skin its strength and youthfulness and can break down as a result of chronic sun exposure. When collagen depletes (also diminishes with age) your skin begins to lose its elasticity and this in turn causes fine lines and wrinkles. Unprotected sun exposure can also cause pigmentation, small light brown spots or patches of darker skin, to form and appear on the skin. Not to mention that prolonged unprotected exposure, sun damage, and repetitive burning all drastically increase your risk of skin cancer.
How much SPF should we use?
Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen! To achieve the Sun Protection Factor reflected on the bottle, you should use approximately two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimetre of skin. In practice, this means applying the equivalent of a shot glass or two tablespoons of sunscreen to each of the exposed areas of the body. When applying to your face only, this equates to a generous line of product from the base to tip of your finger, making sure you blend thoroughly across your face and neck.
Is higher SPF better?
It would be natural to think that the higher the SPF, the more protection you have, right? Well, in truth, higher SPF products are only marginally better at shielding you from UVB rays, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. SPF30 blocks nearly 97% of UVB radiation, SPF50 blocks about 98%, and SPF100 blocks about 99%. So as long as you're wearing an SPF30, you have plenty of protection.
What is blue light and why do I need to worry about it?
Well, long-term blue light exposure from concentrated sources of blue light energy (such as computer screens, phones and televisions) can cause skin damage. The damage can include colour changes or pigmentation, inflammation, and weakening of the skin's protective barrier. Some sunscreen products protect against the effects of blue light, as well as UVA and UVB rays, so for that added protection be sure to check if this is covered.
TOP SPF RECOMMENDATIONS:
I love everything this brand has to offer! Not only do their products leave your skin beautifully soft and hydrated, but each tube is packed full of incredible ingredients providing more than just sun protection!
HELIOCARE HYDRAGEL SUNTOUCH SPF50 - The most beautiful SPF that gives a golden, radiant complexion while protecting the skin against sun damage. This works well with just a little added concealer where it's needed and gives that gorgeous summer glow. Suitable for most skin types.
HELIOCARE 360° GEL OIL FREE SPF50 - A real hero product in terms of sun protection whilst giving your skin additional benefits! With the likes of Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Ferulic Acid, this SPF does so much more than just block those harmful rays. Suitable for oily and problematic skin types.
A great brand that works closely with dermatologists in order to create highly tolerated products for those with even the most sensitive skin!
*LA ROCHE-POSAY ANTHELIOS ANTI-SHINE SUN PROTECTION INVISIBLE SPF50+ FACE MIST - A face mist you can take with you everywhere, to top up your SPF on the go. Whether you've got bare skin or a full face of makeup, this is a must have in every handbag or beach bag! The clear mist means you can spritz your face wherever you are without leaving a white or sticky film on the skin. Caters specifically for blemish-prone and oily skin types but suitable for all.
Image 1 - Pexels (Chermiti Mohamed)
Image 2 - Pexels (Eternal Happiness)
Image 3 - Pexels (Linda Prebreza)
Image 4 - Pexels (Daria Shevtsova)
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DISCLAIMER - The views expressed on this site are the author’s own and are provided for informational purposes only. The author makes no warranties about the suitability of any product or treatment referenced or reviewed here for any person other than herself and any reliance placed on these reviews or references by you is done so solely at your own risk. Nothing on this site shall be construed as providing dermatological, medical or other such advice and you are always advised to seek the advice of a suitable professional should you have any such concerns.
I happily recommend products through my blog and this has become a key component of my Blog and Instagram channels. Any recommendation is based on personal experience – or the trusted experience of a tester/colleague – but everyone’s skin is different and something that works for me may not necessarily work for you in the same way. This also applies to allergic reactions. It is impossible to anticipate allergies and therefore I am not liable should any irritation or allergic reaction occur. Please use product recommendations at your own discretion and risk.