Any skincare expert will tell you the most crucial product in your kit is sunscreen. SPF helps shield the skin from UVA and UVB rays, which can cause age spots, sun spots and can lead to skin cancer. Sun protection is non-negotiable, regardless of skin type, age or ethnicity.
Most people do not apply enough sunscreen, or only apply it when they go to the beach. However, it should also be applied every morning to help prevent accumulated damage caused by shorter exposure intervals and indirect sunlight (like while driving or walking to and from your car). As long as skin is exposed to the sun, it will be affected. Consider this lorry driver who developed unilateral dermatoheliosis, after the sun severely damaged the skin on the left side of his face during the 28 years he spent at work. As a result, the left side of his face now looks roughly 20 years older than the right.
There are now several SPF products on the market, all of which address different concerns. Some do not like the white cast certain products leave on their skin, others believe their skin is too oily to apply SPF each morning. However, there is now a wide range of products that address these concerns, meaning there’s no more excuses!
There are two types of sunscreen and each protects you differently.
Chemical sunscreens work like a sponge, absorbing the sun’s rays.
- These sunscreens tend to be easier to rub into your skin without leaving a white residue.
Physical sunscreens (also known as mineral sunscreens) act like a shield. Sitting on the surface of your skin, they deflect the sun’s rays.
- They contain the active ingredients:
titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or both.
- Tip: Opt for this kind of sunscreen if you have sensitive skin.
Tips for best sunscreen protection
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out and then, preferably, every 2 hours. Remember to re-apply after swimming or sweating.
- Apply sunscreen to your entire body before you dress for the day. That way your skin will be protected if your clothing shifts or you remove layers. Remember to target those easy-to-miss spots: the tops of your ears, back of your neck, your scalp (on the part line), tops of your feet and behind your knees.
- Adults should apply 2 teaspoons of sunscreen on their head, arms and neck. Apply another 2 tablespoons to cover your entire body if you’re going to the beach
- Look for products that have an SPF of at least 30 and at least 4-star UVA protection
- Wear clothes and sunglasses that provide extra protection (e.g. hats and sunglasses)
- Sunscreens left exposed to sunlight and extreme heat for hours at a time can lose their effectiveness before the expiration date. Keep your sunscreen away from excessive heat and direct sun
🌸Have fun at the beach beauties! And remember to stay safe this summer!☀️
- Baumann, L. (2009) Cosmetic Dermatology: Principles and Practice (pp.245-254). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical
- Biniek, K., Levi, K., Dauskardt, R. H. (2012). Solar UV radiation reduces the barrier function of human skin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 42, 17111-17116