As I’m writing this its lashing rain outside and an all round pretty miserable morning but like every other day I wouldn’t leave the house without a generous application of my favourite sunscreen. Many people wonder particularly in our climate if its necessary to use SPF year round. The answer is an all resounding yes! Let me explain why.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland with numbers rising every year. There has been a 36% increase in rates of skin cancer in the last ten years here. The main cause is radiation from sunlight and can take 20-30 years to develop. This shows the importance of starting a sunscreen habit from an early age. Along with skin cancer risks we also know UV rays cause premature ageing, something we are all aiming to avoid. In fact it is estimated that 90% of premature ageing is caused by damage from the sun. The ageing nasties associated with sun damage range from fine lines and wrinkles, rough skin, lack of tone, solar keratosis, to the more commonly associated issues with pigmentation.
The sun emits 3 types of rays. UVC which we are shielded from by the ozone layer. UVB the burning ray and UVA the ray most associated with skin ageing. While we will usually feel heat from UVB on a sunny day, UVA rays produce no sensation but create the most damage to the deeper layers of our skin and would be my main concern in relation to ageing. These rays are prevalent all year round, rain or shine and even penetrate car windows and light clothing. The damage caused by UVA rays is cumulative and will often appear many years after your exposure which is why I would advise a daily application of SPF from as young as possible to prevent this damage from surfacing later on.
Choosing the right sunscreen can be difficult as there are so many to choose from. Here are some tips on choosing one most suitable to your skin.
SPF relates to UVB rays but doesn’t give you protection against UVA. As well as choosing an SPF with good UVB protection, make sure your product also has a high UVA protection. This is what will give you the best defence year round. This should now be listed on the box by most companies but ingredients such as zinc oxide give great protection against those ageing rays.
If you have problem or oily skin choose an oil free formula that wont clog pores and will give a breathable protection.
If you are a dryer skin type choose a sunscreen formulated for dry or sensitive skin but also choose a rich or hydrating serum to apply underneath. This will give you better nourishment and a better base to apply makeup on.
A factor 30 applied regularly will offer very good protection even on fairer skins.
They say everything becomes a habit after doing it daily for three weeks. Start this habit that will really stand to you as soon as possible.
You can thank me in 30 years….