Whether you’re working in the city this summer, visiting the tropics, or you need to protect your toddler in the West Country sun, here’s what you need to know.
Ultraviolet A, or UVA rays, penetrate deep into the skin and can cause some of the more serious cancers. They also cause wrinkles, dark spots and leathery, uneven skin tone.
Ultaviolet B, or UVB rays, can burn the skin and cause cancer and like UVA rays, they cause irreparable cell damage.
Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, is a measurement of how much your skin is protected from UVB rays. A product with a SPF of 10 means that after liberal application of the sunscreen over all skin exposed to sunlight, you will be able to stay in the sun 10X longer without burning, than you would be able to, without the sunscreen. The term Broad Spectrum applies to a product that protects the user against the harmful effects of both UVA and UVB rays, helping to protect the skin against sunburn, skin cancer and early ageing.
The Mustela SPF50 Broad Spectrum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion is perfect for babies’ and toddlers’ faces and is approved by the Melanoma International Foundation.
The SPF in make-up products disappears quickly; you will need to increase usage of a SPF sunscreen product when you arrive in a more temperate climate. The following every day sun blocks provide much better protection than the SPFs found in cosmetics:
Easy to carry and easy to apply, Bobbi Brown Protective Face Lotion SPF15 is perfect for fast touch ups, protecting and moisturising your skin throughout the day. Of course, Clinique’s Super City Block SPF 40 is a best-seller and Neutrogena’s Age Shield Face Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70 provides powerful protection from rays across the UVA and UBV spectrum, shielding skin 6 layers deep from UVA rays.
Make sure that you start your exposure to the sun with the highest SPF you can find. SPF30 blocks 97% of UVB rays. If you have a family history of skin cancers, or if you’re travelling to a tropical climate, you can get SPF 50 or even SPF70 for protection. Always’ read the bottle’s directions carefully, as length of time of protection varies between products.
Sunscreens that are water-resistant need frequent re-application. Check the bottle for recommended top-up times.
If you’re lying in direct sunlight – please don’t do this between midday-2PM – you should apply a palm’s worth of sunscreen, every two hours, liberally.
Whatever your shade of skin, you need to protect yourself from harm that UBV and UVA rays can cause, with a sunblock or sunscreen. Although people with darker shades of skin are more protected from the harmful effects of UV rays, everybody is susceptible to skin cancer and so everyone needs protection. Protect yourself and enjoy long, hot summer days in the sun, whether or not the sun is shining strongly. (Some dermatology experts are now recommending that we all wear SPF30, daily, whatever the time of year or climate.)
Love Your Sunscreen
If you’re going to be lying on a beach this summer, you’ll be applying sunscreen several times a day – and after each swim – for a week or more. So you’ve got to love it! Here are some popular and practical products available right now.
If you like the reassurance of a water-resistant cream that only allows a light tan to develop, then try Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF30
Another delightful addition to Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Range, the Targeted Sun Defense Stick SPF50 is perfect for popping in your bag and using on susceptible areas – your nose, forehead, cheeks, shoulders and neck – during the day.
You’ll smell Polynesian Tiare flowers and Kau Pe flowers from the Marquesas Islands each time you apply this SP50 Dior Bronze Lotion to your face – and it contains light-reflecting pearlescent particles, boosting your radiance. (As mentioned above, do also use a sunblock product on your face, such as Clinique’s Super City Block SPF 40 to ensure you’re protected from the sun’s harmful rays throughout the day.)
Nivea Baby Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF50+ is suitable for babies over three months and toddlers, protecting their sensitive skin against sunburn and long-term UV-induced skin damage. Asda sell it for around £5.
Boots are offering some of the best-selling sunscreens at 50% off right now. Stock up now! Remember, sunscreens and sunblocks don’t have a shelf life – please don’t use last year’s cream, protect yourself with a fresh bottle of SPF!