Why do I need to wear SPF?
Looking after your skin in the sun
Summer has arrived and its certainly a scorcher, time to get out the BBQ and sun loungers or maybe visit the beach, but in our quest to be having fun in the sun have we remembered the sun cream? And do we really need protection all the time?
UV and premature ageing
No one likes looking older, when the first signs of lines and wrinkles appear it’s a reminder that our bodies are ageing. Anti-ageing treatments and products are big business and yet we can do so much to protect our skin before the first signs appear. One of the best ways to ward off premature aging skin is to use broad spectrum solar protection every day of the year. Now I’m not telling you anything new here as we all hear this a lot, wear sunscreen, but do we understand why?
A little science for you. The sun emits three types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA, UVB and UVC. The UVC rays are prevented from reaching us by the Ozone layer, the UVA and UVB rays however get through. UVB rays reach our epidermal skin layer, the outer layer of skin, and are the main cause of sunburn. It is UVB that is mainly responsible for skin cancer too. The UVA rays reach much deeper into our skin, these reach our dermal layers and cause lots of damage deep down in our skin as well as contributing to sunburn and skin cancer.
Unprotected skin will dehydrate when regularly exposed to the suns damaging rays, our skins natural lubricate depletes and our skin feels dry and is at risk of injury. Sunburn is a skin injury whether its mild and feels uncomfortable or severe and blistering the tissues of your skin are damaged and your risk of developing skin cancer dramatically increase. Our skin will try and protect itself from the rays, it will thicken known as Hyperkeratosis and in some cases small scaly patches can appear known as Actinic Keratosis.
The long-term damage to the skin is in the form of structural changes which causes premature ageing, lines, wrinkles and vascular damage. The cell renewal rate is affected, collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid all deplete, and free radical damage takes place. What is a free radical? Well in short, its an unstable molecule which wreak havoc with our cells in their quest to stabilise. Why should we worry about collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid? Well again in short, it is the collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid which helps to keep our skin plump looking, stretchy and smooth. Without these the skin will start to sag, and lines and wrinkles appear. UV ray exposure contributes up to 95% of free radical damage in the skin, that’s a lot of cell damage!
What is SPF?
So, what can we do to prevent the damage to our precious skin cells and ward of aging prematurely, one method is to wear a broad-spectrum SPF. SPF stands for sun protection factor and is the measurement of how long the product protects the skin from reddening from UVB rays versus no protection. A minimum of SPF30 is recommended for a good level of protection. There is however no measurement for UVA rays and so a broad spectrum is needed as this means the product protects against UVA and UVB rays. It is worth keeping in mind that even with a broad-spectrum SPF product some rays will get through and that rays are present on cloudy dull days too.
Build that SPF into your skincare routine every morning and you just might be looking 10 years younger.