Sunscreen is vital whenever you expose your skin to the sunshine. As the summer month draw nearer, knowing that your skin will feel the warm heat from the summer sun is exciting, but the reality is that if you’re not protected, those warm rays of sunshine may cause some real damage – not just sunburn! Those UV rays produced by the sun can also prematurely age your skin and offer a higher risk of you developing skin cancer.
In today’s world, we know the dangers of overexposure from the sun, but unfortunately, not everyone is getting the message. It is estimated that in the US alone, only 30% of women and 14% of men use sunscreen when they’re out in the sun - with a third of them neglecting to apply the right amount of protection to shield their skin sufficiently.
We know that sun damage is bad for our health, but do any of us know exactly why we need to protect our skin? What is causing the damage? And how do we know if we are applying the correct sunscreen to our bodies? With so many of us unsure about how to look after our skin, it makes you wonder how many of us will end up suffering in the future if we're not proactive and careful in the present...
How Does The Sun Damage Our Skin?
When we apply sun protector to our skin, it forms a barrier between any overexposure of Ultraviolet Rays (UV rays) and your body. These rays are emitted from the sun, full of powerful and potentially dangerous radiation. They are so powerful, in fact, that they can cause damage to your skin on a cloudy, winter day. Although there are many different types of UV rays, it is understood that there are two types of UV we need to be mindful of; UVA and UVB rays. These two have proven, after long exposure, to have a large correlation with skin cancers and other conditions.
To understand it all a little more, UVB and UVA rays attack the body in different ways;
UVA - can trigger premature aging of the skin, creating deep fine lines and wrinkles. 'A' for aging.
UVB - will harm the skin by causing burning, blistering and removing moisture from the surface. 'B' for burning.
Sunscreen has been formulated to protect against these harmful rays, but not all of the creams out there will shield you from both types of radiation, this is why you must make sure you’re getting the right product for your skin.
What Is SPF?
SPF simply stands for Sun Protection Factor. It is an indicator of the estimated maximum amount of UV rays that the product can protect your skin from. So, the higher the number, the longer your skin will be under a ‘shield’, blocking the damaging, powerful rays.
However, even as the SPF number rises, the percentage of protection doesn’t leap and bound, it is a subtle and gradual rise. For example, SPF30 filters out roughly 97% of UVB, only 1% less than SPF 50. But, even with this in mind, it is still recommended that you get the highest protection available .
How It All Works
Finding the right sunscreen can become quite confusing, with so many options in the drugstore, all of which are claiming that their product will perform miracles on your skin and protect you from radiation. We can all get a little sucked into all these different brands, but do we really know what we are buying and why?
To start, sunblock and sunscreen are two different products with two very different purposes. If you’re unsure, just think about the names; sunblock will block the UV rays from reaching your skin – sunscreen will not have this same effect. Instead, sunscreen will absorb the UV rays when they reach your body. The application of the two is different also;
This type of sun protection doesn’t need to be applied every few hours, instead, it will stay on your top layer of the epidermis, acting as a shield for a prolonged amount of time. Sunblock has been formulated to fight the harmful UVB rays from burning the upper epidermis, to stop it from becoming sore, flaky and vulnerable.
Different from sunblock, sunscreen has a chemical makeup that will absorb the UVA rays – the cause of fine lines and wrinkles. Unfortunately, due to its formula, the cream will often breakdown during long times of sun exposure, so your skin will require a top up every few hours for full protection against the sun. You don't want to find that your skin has aged 20 years your senior due to your lack of skin care.
There are many skin care products that offer to protect your skin from both harmful UVA and UVB rays. This the best choice for the health and appearance of your skin, as you’ll get double the protection; avoiding both painful burns and unwanted wrinkles.
The Benefits Of SPF
Buying skin products with SPF is the way forward! Even during the winter months, with low hanging cloud and snowy days, your skin can still fall victim to the perils of overexposure from the UV rays. So, if you’re buying products with SPF in them, you’ll have a shield protecting your skin all day, every day.
Here are some of the incredible benefits using SPF has on your skin;
- SPF protection will help retain the ability of your skin to produce collagen. With moisture keeping within, it will not decrease when exposed to the harmful UV rays. The more collagen your skin is able to create, the less prone you’ll be to fine lines and wrinkles.
- When applying SPF to the skin, you’re reducing your chances of seeking expensive procedures to correct any previous damage that has happened to your skin.
- Recuses the risks of developing carcinoma – skin cancer
- As we age, our skin may start to discolor and you will start to see dark spots. This can be avoided by protecting your skin from the UV rays.
Protecting your skin from the sun is imperative, not only for your health but it will also by support your skins natural development which will prevent early signs of aging. It is very easy to simply add sunscreen to your body or add a product with SPF into your skincare routine. It may feel taxing, but it will be worth it in the long run. You’re giving your skin that much-needed shield from the horrible effects of too much sun exposure. Slap on some cream and live better knowing that you’re protecting yourself every day.