In a world where people are spending thousands of dollars on skincare products and treatments (for anti-ageing and pigment correction), it’s ironic that the most simple, yet neglected step is sun protection.
We know that the sun is a major contributor to aging skin. It causes sun spots, wrinkles, dullness, hyper pigmentation, broken blood vessels, enlarged pores, thickened skin and more.
Pigmentation is usually the result of too much sun, creating freckles, age spots or larger discoloured skin patches. Research has shown that it is one of the biggest contributors to looking older – equal to wrinkles.
The vast majority of visible signs of ageing or hyperpigmentation are a result of the sun …and its damaging UV rays. In fact, up to 80% of premature ageing is thought to be attributed to the sun.
Australia experiences some of the highest levels of UV radiation in the world (due to our proximity to the equator and frequent blue skies).
MUST-KNOW FACTS ABOUT SUMMER SUN PROTECTION
1. What’s the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays emit the same amount of radiation from sunrise to sunset, 365 days a year. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are stronger in the summer, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
2. Are UVA and UVB rays equally harmful to skin?
Yes, but they affect it in different ways. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and skin redness. (Think “B” for “burning.”) They cause inflammation, surface dryness and excess dry skin buildup.
UVA rays are weaker than UVB rays but pass further into your skin. They stimulate excess pigment, resulting in dark marks, age spots and dullness. UVAs also break down collagen and elastin, causing lines, wrinkles and sagging. UVA rays can penetrate glass, which means they harm your skin even while indoors.
3. What does SPF stand for, and how does it work?
SPF is short for “Sun Protection Factor.” The higher the SPF, the more protection. But exactly how long a sunscreen protects you depends on your skin color and its tolerance to UVB rays.
To get a sense of how long you can stay in the sun, multiply your sunscreen’s SPF number by the amount of time it takes your skin to burn in the sun.
If your skin turns red in 10 minutes without sun protection, your math would look like this:
• SPF 15 x 10 minutes = 150 minutes (2 ½ hours) without getting burned
• SPF 30 x 10 minutes = 300 minutes (5 hours) without getting burned
…but there’s a little more to it than this. First, no sunscreen can block out 100% of the sun’s rays. Since you can’t rely on sunscreen for complete protection, be sure to cover up your body and wear a big hat and sunglasses.
4. What’s the difference between physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen?
The two types of sunscreens protect skin in different ways and have different properties. Physical sunscreens, such as zinc oxide, reflect and scatter light and are gentle on skin — which is why Rodan + Fields UNBLEMISH and SOOTHE sunscreens are physical sunscreens. Chemical screens, such as avobenzone, absorb light and blend well with more ingredients. Rodan + Fields REVERSE, REDEFINE and ESSENTIALS sunscreens are chemical sunscreens.
Whether physical or chemical, all broad-spectrum sunscreens should be formulated to protect against damage from both UVA and UVB rays.
5. How much sunscreen do I need?
More than you probably think! Apply one tablespoon of sunscreen to your face and one ounce — the amount that would fill a shot glass — to your body for adequate sun protection.
6. How frequently should I reapply sunscreen?
One application of sunscreen won’t protect your skin for the entire day. You should reapply sunscreen every two hours — more frequently if you’ve been in the water. This is true even if you’re using a sunscreen with a high SPF.
See here for another great product which contains SPF
Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse / Skincare)