Are you sun savvy? With a wintery start to spring well and truly behind us (fingers crossed!), we now look to warmer climes and more alfresco living. Hooray! However, all this equates to more sun exposure and more tan lines (or sunburn lines!), which isn’t good news for our skin. How much do you really know about SPF? How safe are you really being when you’re exposed to the sun? Mandy Oxley-Swan, London-based Facialist and Skin Expert shares here 10 golden rules for SPF which will help you stay safe as summer approaches!
The Sun-AKA Skin Enemy No 1
UV Exposure is the skin’s biggest skin ager. 10% of ageing is the natural ageing process but 90% of skin ageing is caused by UV and environmental factors such as pollution- known as photo-ageing.
It’s vital to understand UV. There are 2 types of UV… UVA & UVB
UVB is responsible for sunburn and, in turn, skin cancer. UVA penetrates the skin more deeply and is more associated with pigmentation and premature skin ageing. It can also cause skin cancer. Look out for products that contain both UVA & UVB protection- these are known as “broad spectrum”.
Choose the right level of protection
SPF=Sun Protection Factor. There is not a one size fits all to choosing SPF and what you choose depends on your skin type. A general rule is the fairer your skin-the higher SPF is required.
There are 2 types of SPF- physical and chemical
Physical are generally better for those with sensitive skin as they contain mineral ingredients- either Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide reflect and scatter the suns rays rather the product being absorbed into the skin. Chemical SPF’s- these use active ingredients that absorb UV radiation.
Apply your SPF properly
Ensure you cover your whole face and body-not forgetting tips of ears and hands. Be generous in the application-don’t skimp! Its best to apply your SPF 15 mins or so before going out in the sun so the SPF has time to bond with your skin,
Be sun safe
Try to avoid the sun between 12-3pm when its at its strongest.
Sun exposure can exasperate dry skin
Rehydrate the skin with a good cooling lotion after UV exposure.
Use SPF, even when it isn’t sunny
It’s generally recommended to use SPF all year round. Go for SPF 20 or so from October to March then higher to SPF 30-50 from April- September. Even in the UK!
Don’t ignore your lips!
Look for lip balms with built-in SPF to protect the delicate, thinner skin here.
Don’t forget about Vitamin D
Despite all this, it’s recognized that many people are Vitamin D deficient as a result of lack of sun/UV exposure. Dermatologists recommend getting 15-20 minutes of sun on your skin each day. Expose a large part of your body such as legs or back to get full benefit. Perhaps a bit tricky after all this rain but a little bit of sun each day does wonders too for general mood and wellbeing.
Products Mandy recommends…
For tint-free SPF, I like Heliocare Cream SPF50 as it uses both mineral & non-mineral filters and is broad spectrum ie protects against both UVA & UVB. For tinted SPF, I alternate between Balance Me’s BB Natural Perfection SPF25 as its non-comedogenic and Sarah Chapman’s Skin Insurance SPF30 with added antioxidants. Both give a wash of colour as well as the all-important pollution/UV protection.
words by Mandy Oxley-Swan @oxleyswanskin
Mandy “in action” with our Director & Founder, Sadie
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