Quite simply, protecting yourself from Ultraviolet Rays is single handily the most important thing you can do for your skin. SPF is the cheapest cosmetic surgeon around! If you are not using SPF, then the rest of your skincare is deemed pointless. Prevention is key here!
So what is UV? The sun naturally emits UV radiation, while sunbeds give out artificial UV. Both forms are incredibly damaging to your skin so protection is vital.
There are 2 main types of UV that is damaging to your skin. These are:
- UVB which is responsible for the majority of sunburns, skin ageing and promotes the development of skin cancer.
- UVA has the ability to penetrate deep into the skin and is responsible for ageing the skin and causing hyperpigmentation. This can even penetrate through windows but it is less likely to contribute towards sunburn, but again can promote development of skin cancers.
Come rain or shine, UV rays have the power to damage the skin without you even noticing. The heat from the sun comes from infrared rays, which you can’t feel because they don’t burn you. Crazy hey?! So don’t be fooled by a cloudy day! The sun is that strong that even on a cloudy day it has the ability to cause damage.
When you look at the statistics, it really raises the importance of why you must protect yourself. Too much UV radiation from the sun can damage DNA in your skin cells and cause cancer. In the UK, 9 out of 10 cases of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, can be prevented by avoiding sun beds and enjoying the sun safely, using SPF and common sense!
Shockingly, getting sunburnt just once every 2 years can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer.
The benefits of daily UV protection is huge, so let’s talk about some facts and how this can be incorporated into your beauty routine – plus some tips and tricks!
- Apply SPF 30 or above to your face, neck, décolletage every day. Yes that’s 365 days a year, including in winter and whilst indoors! Use higher than SPF 30 if you are going to be outside for long periods of time.
- Use a teaspoon in quantity for the face and a 30ml shot glass worth for the body. It might seem like a lot but it’s necessary to get the level of protection stated on the bottle. I like to apply in layers. The benefit of this is if you apply liberally in the first place, reapplication is unnecessary, unless you are in direct sunlight, in which case apply every 2-3hrs.
- Get an SPF with both UVB and UVA protection. Plus, opt for one that has zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as they block out both types of UV. There are so many options available even if you are on a budget! There is no excuse for not applying an SPF.
- Look into Korean SPF options, these are very good and usually come with a broad spectrum (UVA & UVB) My favourite so far is Purito Centella Unscented SPF50.
- Read up on reviews, SPF can be a tricky product to get right and it can be hard finding ‘the one’ for you. Some affordable brands with great SPF products are The Body Shop and Simple Skin.
- Don’t rely on your makeup with SPF to provide adequate protection. It won’t, no matter what brands will have you believing. They may not have the best broad spectrum cover and it is unlikely you will apply a teaspoon of foundation.
- Don’t forget your lips! Skin cancer can be particularly dangerous in this area as the skin is thinner and they get long term exposure to the sun. I am enjoying Rituals Fortune Balm SPF30.
- Avoid sun beds! It goes without saying but the days of sun beds being cool is over. Grab yourself some self tan. Your skin and life depends on it.
- Do not apply any skincare over the top of SPF or mix it with anything. SPF should be your last step. If you apply anything over the top you dilute the SPF and reduce its effectiveness.
- Sunscreen re-application is important, especially when in direct sunlight. My favourite ways to do this, to not to disturb makeup, is either in the form of a mist or powder. La Roche Posay Anthelios mist is excellent, but a word of advice, stay out of the wind when applying! Another great option is the ColorScience Sunforgettable Brush On Shield SPF50.
UV related damage causes stress on your skin and makes it harder for it to be resilient to skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and sensitivity. So, if that and the terrifying reality of skin cancer is not enough to get SPF into your routine then I don’t know what is! Wearing sunscreen regularly allows the skin to repair itself and prevents premature ageing.