A Quick Guide To SPF!
Sun protection factor, which is also known as SPF measure how well your sunscreen or sunblock is protecting you against UVB and UVA rays (If you’re wondering what those are not to worry, we will go into some more detail a little bit later on). For now, think of it as the stuff that is bad for your skin. It is not new information that the sun can damage your skin. And earlier civilisations would use a mixture of plants, oils and plant extracts to help with sun protection.
SPF works by almost blocking out the harmful UV rays. It acts like a new layer of skin that is anti UV and so does not allow the rays to pass through it. It is common knowledge that the lighter your skin tone, the higher SPF you need to wear. That does not mean that those with a darker skin tone should not wear sunscreen or sunblock. You may not necessarily burn, but UV rays can still be harmful to the surface of your skin.
Who should use SPF?
The answer is simple. Everyone! Sun protection factor should be a part of any and everyone’s bathroom cupboard. Along with the other important objects and products in your bathroom kit. As previously mentioned, UVB and UVA rays from the sun can cause skin damage no matter your skin tone or type. So to stay on the safe side, it is recommended that you wear sunscreen or sunblock whenever you go outside.
How much should you use and how often?
When it comes to sunscreen, more does not necessarily mean better. Now I know it’s tempting when the sun is out to then want on cake on the factor 50, and relax in the rays. However, the higher SPF sunscreens and sunblocks do not necessarily offer much more protection than let’s say a factor 30. So your best bet is to figure out what the right sun protection factor for you is. And then apply a generous amount to your whole body. Not forgetting the lips because your lips can obtain sun damage and skin cancer also.
Allow 15 minutes for the protection cream or oil to dry and then reapply every two hours or so. It is up to you, but if you have been swimming or taking part in an activity that has caused you to perspire more than usual, then you may want to apply sun protection a little more often.
Let’s talk babies!
Back in the day, a paediatrician would say not to use sunscreen on babies young than six months at all. Today that has changed a bit. Where possible it is now advised that babies should be kept out of direct sunlight entirely, as their skin is much too sensitive. If this is not possible, you can put a very light layer of sunscreen of about factor 15 or a long sleeved top to cover the arms (of course be aware of overheating). Please do note a test is recommended just to make sure there would be no adverse reactions or irritations to your babies skin.
UVA vs UVB
You have probably noticed that I’ve mentioned either UVA, UVB or both quite a few times in today’s blog. And, if you don’t know already you have probably been wondering what on earth I’m talking about. Unfortunately, it is perhaps not quite as exciting as you may have thought. UVA stands merely for ultraviolet ageing, and UVB is ultraviolet burning. Exposure to UVA rays can result in your skin ageing prematurely, and it also suppresses the immune system. UVB rays tend to burn the top layers of your skin. So when looking for the correct sun protection factor, bare in mind you need a sunblock or sunscreen that can help against both UVA and UVB.
What damage can the sun do to your skin?
It is probably safe to assume we all love the sun. There is nothing better than walking outside and feeling the warmth on your skin. The fact of the matter is the sun makes us feel good and temporarily blesses our skin with the Vitamin D glow. But prolonged exposure can cause some side effects ranging from small and benign to life-threatening. So what exactly is the sun doing to our skin?
– It can cause both fine and coarse wrinkles.
– Can cause some areas of the skin to become discolored, including a yellowish discoloration.
– Elastosis: Which is the breakdown of the collagen tissue. Making the skin less elastic (This can also cause wrinkling and sagging).
– It results in the tiny blood vessels that are under the skin to dilate and become larger.
– And the worst of all it can cause skin cancer.
The sun is a necessary part of the processes of life, including our own. It aids in the growth of us and everything around us. And, even though it may not be the summer seasons the UV rays the sun exerts still penetrate the clouds. Everything that shines is not gold. We must always wear the correct SPF when leaving home all-year-round!
Products like the Dermalogica Skin Perfect Primer which has a factor of 30 or some of their specific sun protection products like the Solar Defense Booster with a factor of 50 are a great start. Rain or shine let us start taking care of our skin, each layer at a time.