Most of us are aware of the importance of wearing a sunscreen to protect our skin in the summer when the sun is shining, or on holiday when we are out in the sun more than usual. This is because the UVB rays are stronger at these times, and these are the rays that tend to burn the skin (remember B for burning). I am not disputing the damage that UVB does to the skin, as it can cause severe damage, burns and cancer, and that is a fact. However UVB is only normally absorbed into the epidermal skin layers.
UVA (remember A for ageing) is around all year round, in the same strength. It reflects through windows and is in our lights. Although UVA doesn’t cause burning to the skin, it is absorbed much deeper into our dermal skin layers and therefore causes ageing, pigmentation and also cancer. Studies have shown that lorry drivers for example, have much more sun damage and ageing on the side of the face that the faces the side window, as this reflects the UVA through.
I see many clients with sun damaged, ageing skin who I ask “when do you use a sunscreen?” and the answer is “in the summer” or “just when I am on holiday”. This is why I want to educate you in the importance of good skin care and sunscreens, and the necessity to start them from a young age.
About 80% of sun damage is achieved before the age of 18. Although it still might not be seen visibly at this time (it can take 40 years for the damage to appear), it is still there. This is why it is vitally important to protect our children’s skin and teach them the importance of looking after it.
The fact to remember is a tan is a scar!
Just in case you are unsure about what factor SPF you should be using, then to reassure you that a 20-25 is a full sun block. I wouldn’t even consider putting anything higher than this on my skin as all you get is a lot more chemicals and only a few minutes longer in the sun. You should be reapplying every couple of hours or so with a cream sun block. With a sunblock in your mineral make-up, then because of the adhering properties of the minerals and the fact that the structure of them doesn’t change under UV, then you will get away with it for longer.
So please remember to put on an SPF that is broad spectrum (protects against UVA and UVB) all year round. Combined with skincare that provides the skin with anti-oxidants such as Vitamins A, C and E that physically help to repair sun damaged skin and protect from free-radicals, then you can’t go far wrong!