With hot and sunny summer days fast approaching, everyone will be hitting the beach, lazing around the pool or enjoying time out in the sun. While that sounds like pure bliss, it does mean that we should all be applying sunscreen throughout the day. Why is this so important… you may wonder? Unprotected sun exposure results in a tan – and a tan is a scar!
SPF is the acronym for Sun Protection Factor and it is determined by the time it takes for the skin to change from a normal colour to a light pink. At this point you might be asking yourself ”How will I know which SPF to use on my skin?” Well, if the skin takes 5 minutes to turn pink while being unprotected and takes 150 minutes with sunscreen applied, that means that the sunscreen protected the skin 15 more times than the skin protecting itself and therefore the SPF is determined as 15. Dr Des Fernandes – Founder of Environ Skincare and pioneer of micro-needling always believed that a low SPF (of SPF15 – SPF30) gives your skin adequate protection from the sun as it contains less chemicals which can be harmful to your skin.
UVA & UVB Broad spectrum protection:
It can be really confusing choosing the best sunscreen for your skin type as there are so many to choose from. One thing all sunscreens should have in common is that they should have broad spectrum protection – namely UVA and UVB. This ultimately protects your skin from the rays of the sun causing ageing (UVA) and burning (UVB). Additional ingredients such as antioxidants can give the skin added protection against free radicals which contributes to premature skin ageing, sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles. If you want to prevent premature ageing and maintain a youthful appearance – wear sunscreen daily! Yes…even on rainy days too!
How do we choose the best sunscreen for our skin type?
There are two types of sunscreens: A physical and chemical sunscreen.
Physical sunscreens contains ingredients such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These ingredients give the formulation a white appearance. It acts like a shield and has the ability to reflect the sun’s rays off the surface of the skin. These types of sunscreens would be suitable for someone with a sensitive or acne prone skin type as they help to sooth inflammation, have antiseptic properties and won’t cause irritation. When applied, this sunscreen is effective immediately.
Chemical sunscreens often contain ingredients such as Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethyl Methoxycinnamate or Octocrylene. These ingredients act like a sponge, absorbing the sun’s rays into the skin. This light weight formula does not leave any residue on the skins’ surface, so it would be suitable for someone with an oily skin type as it does not feel heavy on the skin and won’t clog the pores.
For someone with a dry or mature skin type, do opt for a sunscreen that contains hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or shea butter and antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E to add comfort and to boost brightness.
When choosing a sunscreen for your skin, remember to:
- Purchase one with an SPF 15 – 30
- Apply regularly during the day and when exposed to sunlight
- Apply on face, neck, body and ears
And now it is time to find a sunscreen for your skin type to keep your skin looking youthful and healthy. Below are some options to choose from when purchasing a sunscreen:
- Environ RAD Mineral Sunscreen SPF 15 provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
- Supplies the skin with essential antioxidants.
- Lightweight, non-oily texture is easily applied all over the face and body.
- Dynamic Skin Recovery is an SPF moisturiser from Dermalogica with an SPF 50.
- Provides the best sun protection by combining peptides and free radical fighting antioxidants to combat the signs of ageing.
- This sunscreen lotion from Aveeno provides broad-spectrum SPF 30 and has 24-hour hydration.
- Contains Oat to hydrate the skin and is non-comedongenic and water-resistant.
Article written by: Roxanne King – Administrator and Educator at Beauty Therapy Institute Cape Town.
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