With summer finally here what better time to talk sunscreen...
Sunscreens Biggest Skincare Myth
I am always astounded by the amount of clients that arrive at the clinic to discuss their skin and despite their key concerns being ageing or pigmentation DO NOT use sunscreen.
“I only use sun screen when I am on holiday” or “Oooooooh no its never warm enough in the UK to wear a sunscreen” or the best one “Yes but I look soooooo much younger with a tan”
Lets get this straight, sunscreen is the single most important thing you can do for your skin. If you are not protecting your skin daily you will never see the full results that can be achieved with any other product or treatment.
And the theory that you only need to use sunscreen when its hot is the biggest skincare myth.
Why use sunscreen even when it's not hot?
UVA and UVB are the two types of radiation that are given off by the sun... They are not within the spectrum of visible light and are measured in Nanometers.
UVB rays are the rays that are present on a hot and sunny day. They have a wavelength of 290-320nm making them shorter than UVA so don’t penetrate the skin as deeply but these are the rays that create heat causing sunburn and play a role in most skin cancers.
Unlike UVA, UVB intensity varies depending on the time of day, season and where you are in the world.
An SPF will only protect you from this type of radiation.
UVA light however has a wavelength of 320nm-400nm, making it longer wave light so therefore more likely to reach the skin and penetrate deeper into the the tissue.
UVA is considered more dangerous as it is present, regardless of time of year, temperature or demographic location.
UVA exposure causes more damage cosmetically as it penetrates deeper to break down collagen, cause uneven pigmentation and even vascular lesions.
The long and short (excuse the pun!) is that short term damage from sun exposure will present in sunburn but the long term effect is so much more than that - Photo-ageing accounts for 90% of all signs of premature ageing to the skin.
THAT IS SCARY…
So now to understand and ensure you are using the correct sunscreen all year round to protect you on every level.
An SPF rating shows you the protection against UVB radiation - whilst a factor 50 will protect you against short wave light and burning the skin this also encourages you to be in the sun for longer so in turn the higher the factor to more exposure to UVA so you will actually be increasing to risk of UVA damage/photo-ageing.
So what should you be looking out for in a Sunscreen??
Broad spectrum is the key - this ensures you are fully protected against both UVA and UVB rays.
Sunscreens can be chemical or physical filters - physical filters are broad spectrum and contain ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide which protect against UVB and UVA 1 and 2. Since these minerals sit on the surface of the skin to provide protection rather than absorb into the skin like chemical filters such as oxybenzone and avobenzone - they do not disrupt the endocrine system, are non irritating so suitable for those with even the most sensitive skin.
If you want to understand more about protecting your skin in the sun don’t forget you can book a virtual consultation here with us: