When the seasons swing round in the Northern Hemisphere we get much more sunlight than darkness and though the temperatures might not be scorching, the sun can still affect your skin with even moderate exposure during the summer season. Most people are used to considering their skin care when on holiday in sunnier climates but it may also be necessary to have a plan for protecting against the damaging effects of sunlight during your daily routine and when relaxing in your home environment.
Whilst science continues to reveal new and surprising ways to counter the damage done by overexposure to solar rays (ever wondered about tomatoes and skin protection?) there are some basics that are worth becoming acquainted with in your efforts to protect yourself.
The first fundamental aspect to consider, which most people will already have some knowledge of, is ultraviolet (or UV) rays. There are two types, UVA and UVB, and most sunscreen will have some reference to these in relation to its ability to protect you from them. The difference between the two is that UVA rays tend to age the skin whereas UVB rays typically cause sunburn. Broad-spectrum sunscreen will be designed to protect against both.
A sunscreen’s UV protection is measured by its SPF number – Sun Protection Factor. Whilst very high SPF numbers are known to exist it is actually illegal to label sunscreen with anything higher than SPF 50 in the UK, as beyond SPF 30 there is little improvement in protection. SPF will protect against 98% of the sun’s UVB emissions whereas SPF 50 only takes that up to 98.8% with an ever diminishing increase the higher the SPF. There is currently no sunscreen available that blocks 100% of UV rays.
There are other rays worth thinking about when it comes to protecting your skin. Recently there has been more study into infrared-A (IR-A) light. “IR-A appears to induce free radical formation and penetrate the skin, causing damage that can potentially lead to skin ageing. Traditional sun creams do not generally have IR-A protection,” says Dr Anjali Mahto, dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation.
At Skinstation, we have made efforts to find products that have the extra protection for these types of rays, for example, Obagi Tinted Sun Shield.
It’s Unlikely You are Applying Enough
The findings of many studies suggest that few people apply enough sunscreen when going out in the sun. About a quarter of the necessary amount to get the proper benefits of the SPF number labelled on the bottle seems to be a common application for most people. Furthermore, a lot of people tend to apply it once only for a full day out. For proper protection, it is important to apply sunscreen once about 20 minutes before going out and then at least once more whilst outside, with the necessity for more applications increasing if swimming or sweating. About 1oz is needed, which is about one shot glass full.
When it comes to the aftermath of having been out in the sun for prolonged periods the important thing to look for is something that contains lipid replenishing agents. Re-pigmentation may also be necessary if there has been considerable damage to the surface of the skin from sunburn. Have a look at SkinCeuticals Triple Liquid Restore and Dr LEVY Switzerland® Decolletage Regenerating Silk as examples of products we supply that help with damage from exposure to sun.