UNDERSTANDING SPF

Posted by Katy Scott on

Our beauty blogger Sarah McMillan explains SPF's ...

 

The summer is almost here which means we will be exposing more of our body so we need to start thinking about SPF’s!

When we tan, ultraviolet light is penetrating the epidermis causing the skin to react by producing melanin, aka your suntan. A tan may give you that healthy glow temporarily, but over time it causes just the opposite: a change in skin texture, wrinkling, sun spots or worse…cancer.

During the summer, we need to be wearing a dedicated SPF product EVERY DAY, i.e. not your regular daytime moisturiser or relying on your make up to provide SPF coverage. If you weren’t aware, most moisturisers containing SPF only protects your skin from UVB rays. These are the rays that burn your skin. So no UVA protection means that your face will still be exposed to aging rays and you’ll get wrinkles. Also, they are not designed to “stay put” and will rub off when you apply make up anyway. SPF is a must if you’re using any products with AHAs or retinol or anything that sensitises the skin at all.

 

UVA

  • These rays can penetrate through clouds and glass 
  • UVA causes skin aging and wrinkles or “photoaging”
  • Sunbeds in tanning shops emit mostly UVA rays. Steer clear

UVB

  • BURNS your skin
  • It also contributes to premature skin aging and tanning
  • UVB is at its strongest during the summer months, at high altitude 
  • Water and snow reflection can increase the potency of UV radiation by up to 50 percent

So, how do we make sure our skin is getting the best protection, whilst still being able to enjoy being outside in the sun?

Wearing a broad spectrum SPF cream offering protection against both UVA and UVB rays is absolutely essential if you want to the most effective protection from the sun. 

Sunscreen labels can be confusing. Look for products which have the dedicated UVA symbol above and state they offer UVA & UVB protection. Also in the UK, look for the UVA“star” rating on sunscreens. One-star products provide the least ratio of UVA protection; five-star products are best.

These are the EU SPF ratings:

  • Low = factor 6-14
  • Medium = factor 15-29 

These factors are for any type of ethnicity and skin that rarely burns and tans easily. You will still tan if you use an SPF in this category

  • High = factor 30-50 

 If you don't want to tan at all you need to use factor 30 and above but ensure you reapply frequently

  • Very high = factor 50+

 These high factors are for fair, white, pale skins and red heads

 

Some of our favourite SPFs for face are:

Clarins Sun Wrinkle control cream 

La Roche Posay Anthelios Melt-In Cream 

For your body, we love 

Sun Bum Continuous Spray sunscreen

Institut Esthederm Photo Cellular Care Adaptasun Tanning Body Lotion

Bioderma Photoderm Bronz High Protection body spray which do 

 

Here are our top tips for staying safe in the sun…

  • NEVER sit with your face in direct sunlight 
  • Don’t use lower than SPF 30 on your face if you are out in the sun all day
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses that block 99-100% of UV rays
  • Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going out in the sun to allow maximum absorption and protection
  • Make sure you’re applying enough sunscreen. You should be using a bottle A DAY if you are sunbathing. Concentrate on sensitive areas, such as tops of your ears, nose, shoulders, décolletage and neck
  • Don't forget to apply to your feet which are often missed-OUCH!
  • Reapply sunscreen regularly especially after swimming, sweating or towelling
  • AVOID intense mid-day sun from 11:00 am and 2:00 pm during the hot summer months

 

Finally, to further protect your skin, make sure you use a moisturising and soothing after sun lotion. Apply after sun AFTER showering to remove SPF product. 

Some of our favourites are…

Thalgo Hydra Soothing Lotion

Hawaiian Tropic after sun body butter

 

Love the sun. Enjoy the sun. Just be sensible and stay protected!

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