Sun protection. No matter where you live.
Here I am, living in the southern hemisphere, and summer while in full swing now will soon fade into our memory for another year; we can relax a little with our daily sun protection. Or, maybe for you, in the middle of winter, you’re yearning for the weather to warm up once more, and a little unprotected sunshine is good a thing? Right?
Woah! Hold up there! We need to talk about this.
Whichever way you look at it, the season’s changing brings demands on your skin. With the arrival of summer, it’s time to think about sun protection.
But wait! No matter what season you’re in, sun protection is a rail, hail or shine thing.
Proper sun protection is not something you should do when the summer season rolls around. Nope. If you want to preserve the health of your skin, then sun protection is 365 days of year skincare must do!!
And, despite the increased awareness and education surrounding the importance of sun protection to prevent skin cancer, it seems many are still putting their skin at risk. Skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma or worse, Melanoma skin cancer, remain prevalent worldwide.
And even though sun smart education is easy enough to find on the internet, many of you are still confused about the correct way to protect your skin 365 days of the year.
So, what are those questions?
1. Am I applying my sunscreen correctly?
Whether your sunscreen is in your moisturiser or you slap it on during the warmer months, how much you apply to your skin DOES matter, and your skin needs an even and protective coating to protect you adequately.
Once applied, allow at least 20 minutes before venturing outdoors into the sun.
2. How high should the SPF be?
SPF is the acronym for (just in case you didn’t know) Sun Protection Factor, and the number represents how long it takes before you burn in the sun.
So as an example, if it usually takes you 5 minutes before your skin turns pink when exposed to UV radiation, you would multiply 5 minutes by the sun protection factor on the label. This calculation will give you an approximate for how long you can remain in the sun before you burn. 5 minutes x SPF15 = 75 minutes.
So if you burn in 5 minutes and wear an SPF50+, you’ll have around 4 hours of protection before your skin begins to burn. At this point, you’ll need to reapply, and this is especially true if you’re fair-skinned, in which case, get the heck out of the sun!
3. If SPF50 gives me nearly 4 hours of protection, can I reapply to get another 4 hours?
Well, that would be an excellent idea. Still, despite re-application, you should consider reducing your sun exposure after this time as you’ll not be guaranteed another 4 hours, especially if it’s a super hot day. The reason for this is you’ve reached what’s known as your minimal erythemal dose (MED).
Sure, you’re still going to get some protection, but really? It’s time to cover up and stay in the shade. If you work outdoors, then I suggest your best option is protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat and, of course, polarised and UV protective sunglasses.
4. What about spray-on sunscreens?
As we have already discussed, adequate sun protection means applying it evenly and liberally, so although a spray-on seems like a convenient option unless you take extra care in application, a spray-on sunscreen may not provide enough overall cover.
5. Does wearing sunscreen guarantee I’m protected from the dangers of Melanoma?
Sadly no, but it will reduce your risk. The exact cause of Melanoma is, for the most part, unknown and although the sun and sunbeds are major contributing factors.
So, reduce the risk by minimising your time in the sun by wearing a well-formulated sunscreen and covering up with protective clothing once you have been out in the sun for more than a few hours and vitally important in risk reduction.
6. But my makeup has an SPF? Is that enough?
Many makeup formulations have some sun protection, which is excellent but rarely enough. Look for sunscreens that not only have an SPF rating of at least 15+ but are broad spectrum.
Broad-spectrum means it will protect against both UVB (the burning rays) and UVA radiation (the rays reaching down deep into your dermis). To ensure you’re well protected, you should apply broad-spectrum sunscreens underneath your makeup.
7. Should I wear sunscreen 365 days of the year?
If you’re serious about protecting, not just from the perils of skin cancer but also keeping your skin looking fabulous for as long as possible, then YES, protection 365 days of the year is a very, very good idea.
Sun damage is something that builds up over time. A lifetime of sun exposure begins to show itself in ways such as unsightly hyperpigmentation, premature lines and wrinkles. Your skin can become far more sensitive, and the natural repair mechanisms in your skin slow down. That’s not good if you want healthy glowing skin.
8. But what about Vitamin D?
As you get older, you’ll likely become deficient in Vitamin D. I’ve written about this before here, but it can show up in younger people as well.
If you’re worried, get your doctor to test your levels, take 10 minutes of mild sun exposure every day and include Vitamin D rich foods in your diet to ensure you are getting all you need.
If I only had one skincare tip for you?
It would be, wear sun protection 365 days of the year. If you want your sons and daughters to have beautiful skin for a very long time, then start protecting their skin as early as possible. Look for a sunscreen recommended for infants.
Whether you decide to opt for SPF50+ or something lower doesn’t matter. What’s important is your consistent use of well-formulated, high-quality, broad-spectrum sun protection.
Your skin needs this kind of protection. Truly!
And now you?
So have I convinced you yet? Or do you slap on sunscreen during summer? Or, do you have a sun protection regimen that protects you 365 days of the year? I hope so! If you liked this article and know someone who needs to read it, please share it on your social pages.
If you want to know a whole lot more about protecting your skin from the sun (not just sun protection) and reversing any sun damage, you may already have, check out this article.
Or, if you still have questions and need personal advice, you can reach me here.
See you next time,