Sun Care 101
by Lisa Young – Salon Director
What’s not to like about a beautiful sunny day ?
We all love the summer sun, it makes us feel great, lifts our spirits and warms us. We all need it, especially after the cold winter. But fail to protect and the sun is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It can be very damaging to your skin and dangerous to your health.
Scientists believe that the sun causes 90% of skin aging, so if you want to stay looking younger for longer you must protect your skin. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the sun and with a bit of sun care savvy you can enjoy the sun by making sunscreen your friend and not your enemy.
But what is good sun protection ?
There is so much jargon about sun care and so many choices that it can get a bit confusing over what is the best way to protect yourself from the sun.
Here’s our easy guide to sun care, sun protection and what it all means.
Let’s start with what sun is made of:
Sunlight is a mixture of UVA, UVB and UVC rays. There are different ingredients that provide protection from each of these.
Protect against UVB with SPF
Sun protection Factor (SPF) is a number assigned to a product, which indicates how long you can stay in the sun without your skin being reddened by the UVB rays or radiation from the sun without any protection.
This varies from person to person and depends on your skin type and genetics.
What this means is that if you were exposed to the sun without any sun care protection and your skin went red after 20 minutes, by applying an SPF of 20 you could stay in the sun 20 times longer than you normally could without an SPF product on your skin.
i.e. 20 min x 20 = 400 minutes or just over approximately 6.5 hours.
If you used SPF 30 instead, this would provide 20 x 30 = 600 minutes or approximately 10 hours of protection.
FACT – UVB in small amounts is good for your health. It stimulates the production of Vitamin D. Just 10 mins a day is enough to produce a healthy amount of vitamin D. UVB provides protection against diseases such as rickets.
FACT – Applying sunscreen after you have become red is too late. Correct sun care requires you to apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before exposure to the sun.
Protect against UVA with Broad Spectrum
Broad spectrum provides some ‘broad protection’ from UVA. Whilst SPF is an approved standard measure of protection against UVB only, i.e. the part of sunlight that makes your skin become red, it is very difficult to separate out UVA and UVB in order to measure them separately. This means that there is not an official measurement for UVA in the same way that there is for UVB because there is a wider range of wavelengths for UVA.
The Products that refer to Broad Spectrum help us to know broadly, but not exactly, how much protection we can get against UVA sunlight. Products that contain Zinc Oxide, Titanium Oxide or Avobenzone offer effective protection against the full spectrum and as a result broad spectrum products also provide protection against melanoma.
Over exposure to UVA rays not only contribute to the occurrence of skin cancer but can also have an aging effect on the skin. This is because UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skins’ dermis, damaging collagen and elastin, triggering pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles.
FACT – UVA can penetrate through glass and water and is present in fluorescent lighting. One of the reasons why you should wear sunscreen every day.
TIP – Don’t just look for look for SPF on packaging but go for products that indicate that there is “Broad Spectrum” protection, as these products will give you an indication that you are protected from both UVA and UVB sunlight as part of your sun care regime.
Sunlight also contains ultraviolet C rays although these are nearly all absorbed by the ozone layer. However, these can also found in artificial sources such as UV cabinets (used for their germicidal effects). Care should be taken when using these artificial sources as UVC has a damaging effect to the skin.
Types of sunscreens used for sun care
Physical Sun protection
Provides a physical protections by reflecting the rays away from the skin. An example is Zinc.
- Not absorbed into the skin.
- Great for sensitive skins.
- Zinc has a healing effect on the skin.
- Can be chalky on some skins, especially darker skins.
Chemical Sun protection
Provides protection by absorbing the rays into the skin.
- Great for darker skins as you don’t get the chalky look to the skin, although today’s modern advances in sun protection mean that ingredients are less chalky.
- Absorbed into the skin.
- Can irritate sensitive skins.
Studio 8 Beauty stocks a full retail range of Dermalogica skincare products you can use for your sun care. These are available as physical and chemical sun protection so there is something for everyone.
Quote of the Day
” Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you ! “