When I first moved to London, I didn’t think that I need to apply SPF every day because the weather is mostly cloudy. Little did I know that those sun rays penetrate the clouds and can damage your skin if you don’t take care of it.
I soon discovered that I need SPF regardless of the weather. I do, however, go way higher in my factor when I’m on a holiday or abroad. As I’m currently in Bali, I’m avoiding the sun, especially during the day as much as physically possible due to my sun allergy.
If I’m out and about, I try to schedule most of my things after 4 pm to avoid the strongest sun rays. I always apply SPF because the sun radiates two types of rays UVB and UVA, and I need to remain protected at all times to reduce ageing of my skin.
What’s the difference between UVB and UVA you may wonder! I know I did for quite some time until I decided to educate myself on it once and for all.
According to Paula’s Choice, who by the way is one of my favourite skincare brands and gurus, the difference is that UVB will only burn the skin surface. Wheres UVA penetrates deeper into the skin, causing inflammation and even DNA damage.
SPF or Sun Protection Factor, therefore, measures the amount of protection you get from the creme. The higher the number, the more protected your skin. So for instance, if you use SPF 50 more than 97% off your skin will be protected from UVB rays. The number represents the amount of time you can stay in the direct sunlight before your skin starts to burn.
If your skin starts to burn after a few minutes of being exposed to the sun, you can determine the amount of time your product protects you from the rays by multiplying the number of minutes it takes for your skin to start burning by the SPF factor. So if your skin starts turning pink after 5 minutes of being exposed to the sun without products and you decide to wear an SPF 50, multiplying these two you will get approx 4 hours of protection. For example, 5 minutes x 50 equals 250 minutes, making it just over four hours of sun protection (250/60=4.1).
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UVA rays, unlike UVB, can penetrate through the clouds, glass windows and regardless of the time of the year, they are present. To protect from both UVB and UVA rays, it’s essential to use a product that has a Broad Spectrum. Since UVA can penetrate deep into the skin it won’t always leave visible damage signs like UVB, but whether you see it or not, it’s still there, and it’s responsible for ageing your skin and causing skin cancer. To reduce the ageing of your skin caused by sun rays, the product of your choice needs to protect from both UVA and UVB.
The product you choose should be Broad Spectrum to ensure all-around protection. I have created a selection of my favourite products that I have been using and swear by. Broad Spectrum stands from a combination of ingredients used in the sunscreen that protects the skin.
Based on the type of ingredients, the sunscreen can either be chemical or physical or a combination of both. Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients such as Oxybenzone, Octinoxate and Avobenzone, absorbs UV radiation converting the rays into heat and releases them from the body after. Wheres physical sunscreens containing Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide usually sits on the skin and reflects the rays off.
Chemical sunscreens are more popular and widely available because they have lighter consistency, are easily absorbed. On the other hand, physical or mineral sunscreens are heavier in texture and provide more substantial coverage.
Regardless of the suncream, you choose it should be based on your personal preference as long as you opt for SPF 30 or higher.
I hope you found this post helpful and I would love to hear about your sunscreen choices in the comments below?