Your little guide to the benefits of a good SPF …
With summer just round the corner, we’re all looking forward to getting a little light on our faces and trying to get a tan as fast as we can (sunshine is never around for long enough!) but even though it’s tempting to skip sun protection to soak up all the rays, it’s so important to make sure you’re using an SPF. This guide will tell you everything you need to know, bust some myths and make sure you’re getting all the care your skin needs.
Why do I need an SPF?
SPF is the Sun Protection Factor and they’re designed to help you minimize the risks caused by the sun’s rays – there are actually two types of rays that can cause harm, UVB and UVA, so it’s a good idea to try and protect yourself from both. When you’re choosing which protection to use it’s good to know what to look out for.
These are the types of rays that can give you nasty sunburn and make your skin red, they won’t penetrate your skin as deeply as UVAs can, but they can still put you at risk of developing cancer.
What people sometimes don’t realize is that UVAs are present all the time in daylight hours, even when it’s cloudy. That means that you really should be using a skin protector all year round because these rays can cause sunspots, leathery skin and deep wrinkles. They can also put you at risk of cancer as they penetrate a lot more deeply than UVBs.
Why the sun isn’t good for your skin
Aside from sunburn (which is never a good look!) the sun can affect our skin in all kinds of ways. Too much time spent in the sun without the right protection can lead to premature skin aging, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation like sunspots and a lack of elasticity which can cause a lack of plumpness and sagging. All very good reasons to slap that SPF on at every opportunity!
How to choose sun protection
Whatever you’re shopping for, whether it’s a suntan lotion or an SPF face cream, there are lots of things to consider. Lots of sun protection products carry a star rating and these let you know how much radiation will be absorbed – the minimum you should go for is a four-star rating. Then you can look at the SPF which will tell you how long the product will protect you from rays, so if you have the type of skin that will start to burn after 10 minutes, then and SPF 15 will give you protection for 15 times longer, so 150 minutes. You should always re-apply your sun protection after 2 hours anyway and also if you’ve been in water. The longer you’ll be out in the sun, the higher the SPF you’ll want to use.
What about sunscreen and sunblock?
Once you start shopping around it can get a bit confusing to know what the different names mean. Basically, the difference between sunscreen and sunblock is that sunscreen contains chemicals that absorb the sun’s rays before they can get into your skin, whereas sunblock forms a physical shield that blocks the UV rays. Sunblock is the most effective of the two, but neither give 100% protection so whichever you decide to use, always remember to top up regularly.
Some SPF myths de-bunked …
As with all things, there is lots of information out there that can do you more harm than good, so we’ve fact-checked the most popular SPF theories so you can be sure you’re getting it right
Myth 1: I only need an SPF on sunny days
This is the most popular misconception and the one that causes the most damage. You should ALWAYS wear a facial SPF at the very least because there are always UVA rays present, even when it’s cloudy. An SPF should be as big a part of your beauty regime as cleanser and moisturizer!
Myth 2: I have a darker skin tone, so I don’t need an SPF
It’s true that people with darker skin tones don’t burn as easily but the damaging effects of rays are still a risk and can still cause wrinkles and pigmentation, plus the risk of cancer so it’s worth adding an SPF into your routine.
Myth 3: I can apply SPF in the morning and that will do
Even though it would be nice and convenient to apply once and be done for the day, unfortunately SPF needs regular re-application. Of course, no-one has got time to be taking off make-up every few hours (life’s too short!) so look out for spray protection that you can use to instantly top-up and refresh during the day. The added bonus is that you get a cooling reviver when the heat is on!
If you want to get that SPF into your daily routine as soon as possible, there are lots of ways to incorporate it, from clever foundation to premium face creams. We’ve picked out a few of our favourites to get you started!
Not only is this foundation available in a huge amount of shades and has a host of skin brightening ingredients, it also contains an SPF 17 to super-boost your skincare. You’ll still need a regular SPF cream as a base, but this is great for a little extra help.
Premium skin protection is well worth investing in and this wonder product does it all. It’s the first ever moisturizer with both high-level broad spectrum SPF protection and the revolutionary ingredient Idebenone, proven as the most powerful and effective antioxidant on the market today.
This one is perfect if you’re worried about oily skin and are prone to breakouts. It’s got an SPF30 to give you great UV protection, but it’s also oil free and helps to prevent excess build up during the day giving you a smooth and even complexion.
Because it’s just as important to look after the planet as it is our skin, it’s a good idea to look for eco-friendly skincare like this anti-wrinkle face cream. It’s designed to keep your face feeling moisturized and protected while being easily absorbed into your skin and, best of all, it’s formulated with no traces of oxybenzone or octinoxate which means it’s helping protect the marine eco-system and minimize damage of our coral reefs. Mother Earth will thank you!
So, now you know a bit more about SPF and how it works for you, it’s time to get your healthy glow on – enjoy the sunshine!