Importance of sun protection
Protect Your Skin This Summer
Dr Selena Langdon, Berkshire Aesthetics
Summer is nearly here and with more time spent outside it is important to remember to protect your skin from the damage this extra sun exposure can cause.
Applying sunscreen should be a part of your daily skincare routine, and while your typical high street brands will protect you against UVA and UVB, there are several medical grade sunscreens available at Berkshire Aesthetics which have added protection from harmful HEV (high-energy visible) light. HEV light can damage cells within healthy skin and is thought to be more harmful than UVA and UVB combined as it can penetrate deeper into the skin layers.
By not protecting your skin from the sun this summer it can lead to issues such as dryness, sensitivity, inflammation, redness, wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, loss of elasticity, uneven pigmentation, blotches and sun spots can occur. It is also important to remember that sunscreen is important regardless of your skin type as people with darker skin types can suffer pigmentation disorders such as hyperpigmentation and melasma which is caused by sun damage.
I would recommend a broad-spectrum chemical or physical (mineral) sunblock that protects you not only from UVA, but also UVB rays. In addition, medical grade sunscreens protect.
The most important thing anyone can do is to use sun protection all year round. A sunscreen should be worn in every season, even those who work indoors are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, especially if they work near windows, which filter out UVB but not UVA rays. It is also a myth to think that you do not need to wear sunscreen on a cloudy or cold day. Very high percentages of UV radiation can penetrate clouds so do not be fooled by overcast conditions.
A good sunscreen should protect, restore and maintain skin health. As UVB is the main cause of sunburn and tanning (it only penetrates the uppermost skin layers), the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of a product is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to prevent short UVB rays from damaging the skin. A minimum of SPF 30 is advised, but my preference is for SPF 50 which filters out 98% of incoming UVB. Even with a high SPF you can still tan. Please remember there is no way to tan safely.
By combining both a chemical and physical sunblock you will not only deflect more harmful rays with the physical blocker, but the chemical sunscreen uses chemical UV filters to absorb the sun’s rays. Physical sunblocks usually contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as the active ingredient. Zinc oxide provides full UVA and UVB protection. Physical sunscreens are best for people with eczema or rosacea because they are less irritating.
Even though makeup often contains an SPF it is normally no higher than SPF 15 so I would still advise you to wear a minimum of SPF 30 under your makeup to give you the right level of protection.
It is also advisable to apply your sunscreen at least 15-30 minutes before you go outdoors so that the ingredients can bind to the skin. Reapplication of sunscreen is important, you should reapply the same amount every two hours if you are out in the sun all day. Sunscreens should also be reapplied immediately after swimming, or sweating a great deal. There are medical grade sunscreens available with a tint if coverage is a concern.
And don’t forget to protect the areas that get the most sun exposure, such as the scalp, back of the neck, hands and feet. These parts of your body are most prone to sun damage.
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