Your Guide to All Things SPF!
Summer is finally here! With the return of the glorious sunshine, SPF is a necessity now more than ever. If you speak to any dermatologist, skincare expert or skincare enthusiast – SPF will always be their number 1 skincare tip. Sun protection should be applied 365 days a year, no matter the weather! Practicing safe sun protection will reduce signs of aging such as fine lines & wrinkles but it will of course reduce your chances of developing skin cancer. Continue reading to discover our guide on SPF and how you can stay sun safe all year round.
What is SPF?
SPF, “Sunburn Protection Factor”, is an index that represents the level of protection a sun care product gives you. There are several types;
SPF 6 – 10: Low Protection
SPF 15 – 25: Medium Protection
SPF 30 – 50: High Protection
SPF 50 and above: Very High Protection
The higher the SPF index, the higher the protection. It is not possible for a sunscreen to guarantee 100% protection from the UBA/UVB rays, this is why it is crucial to re-apply every two hours in order to maintain strong protection.
“Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide.
· 1in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime
· More than two people die of skin cancer in the US every hour
· Having5 or more sunburns doubles your risk of melanoma”
- Ranella Hirsch, M.D., F.A.A.D. Past-President, American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery
Why Do We Need Sun Protection?
The sun is an essential part of our daily lives. The sun gives us vitamin D – the “sunshine vitamin” which keeps our bodies healthy & strong and it of course improves our daily mood. However, repeated exposure to the sun’s strong rays damages our skin on the surface layer but also deep within. UVB (known as the “burning” rays) are responsible for our skin turning red, tender and burnt. UVA (known as the “aging” rays) are responsible for diminishing and destroying our collagen & elastin which speeds up the process in which we notice visible fine lines and loss of elasticity. Both rays have their risks and exposing our skin to the sun can cause burns, long term damage and even skin cancer.
But what about winter? Even if the sun isn’t out, UVA rays are still able to penetrate through that thin layer of cloud and cause damage to the skin. It is recommended to wear a minimum of SPF30 all year round, of course in the warmer months a higher protection is always recommended.
A tan has been the epitome of health for so many years, but why? Tanned skin is a representation of DNA damage. This is a result of a chemical reaction taking place in your body as it tries to protect itself from UV light, ultimately failing. If you are seeking a tan but aren’t in love with the idea of DNA damage then opting for a “sunless tan” is probably the route for you. The new “Sunless Glow Lotion” from Evolve is a hydrating, gradual tanning lotion. Erythrulose is the star ingredient, a natural sugar extract that reacts with the keratin in our skin for a subtle bronzed glow.
“In the United Kingdom, Cancer Research UK estimates that almost 9 in 10 cases of melanoma could be prevented by taking consistent measures to reduce ultraviolet exposure.”
- Dr Justine Kluk, MBChB FRCP (UK)(Dermatology), Consultant Dermatologist.
The Golden Rules of SPF:
· Choose the right SPF for your skin & your skin type.
· Apply a generous layer over every part of your body that will be exposed to the sun, SPF should be reapplied every 2 hours and especially after swimming or sweating.
· Do not expose your skin to the sun between the hours of midday to 4pm.
· SPF should be repurchased every year. Over time it degrades and you will not be getting the high sun protection.
· SPF is always the final step of your routine.
Mineral Filters vs Chemical Filters
The key difference between the two filters is the way they work. Chemical filters penetrate the skin in order to absorb the harmful UV rays whereas mineral filters sit on top of the skin and reflect the rays, acting like a protective barrier.
Chemical filters should be applied to the skin 20 minutes before sun exposure however, mineral filters are immediately effective once applied onto the skin.
Extremely sensitive or irritated skin can be allergic to chemical filters. Sensitised skin therefore tolerates mineral filters much better than chemical, they are also the more ecological choice as well.
How is SPF Calculated?
SPF ratings are a measure of how long you are able to stay in the sun without burning when using sunscreen. This is compared to the time it would take for the skin to burn without wearing any sun protection. Every sunscreen, no matter the SPF factor, must be reapplied every 2 hours. No exceptions.
When Do I Apply My SPF & How Much?
It is recommended to always use a separate facial sunscreen as opposed to relying on moisturisers or foundations containing SPF.
The correct amount of sunscreen needed for high protection on your face is the equivalent to 2,5ml or half a teaspoon & 6 teaspoons for the body. If you don’t want to measure 2,5ml of sunscreen every day then you can also trace two lines of sunscreen on your index & middle finger, starting from the base up to the tip. This will give you enough sunscreen to cover your entire face, neck & ears.
The reason why it is not recommended to rely on the SPF in your foundation or moisturiser, is that it has been proven that we typically useless than half of the recommended amount of SPF when we use products like this. If your foundation contains SPF50 that is fantastic, but remember in order to get the correct protection you would need to apply half a teaspoon (or 2,5ml)of product to your face. Take it from me, it isn’t going to give you the look you’re after.
Applying a separate facial sunscreen, at the end of your skincare routine, will give you the correct sun protection and your SPF infused makeup products will be a great top up!
Our SPF Recommendations:
- Suntribe Kids Mineral Sunscreen SPF30
- Suntribe Zinc Sun Stick SPF30
Sun damage & skin cancer isn’t a joke. It isn’t funny. It’s killing people. We only get one chance to protect our skin and ourselves.
Be smart, be disciplined & wear your SPF!