Sunscreen protection factors are probably the most important ingredient in cosmeceuticals because they protect against sun damage, photo-aging and skin cancers. In the meantime, we can’t emphasise enough the importance of using a broad spectrum sunscreen each and everyday you will experience exposure to UV rays for more than 15 minutes. The purpose of using sunscreens is to reduce UVR exposure, not to extend the time spent outside in the sun. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, whether the label says to or not. This is because sunscreen can be easily wiped off, lost through perspiration and is often applied unevenly in the first place. Always reapply after swimming or water sports.
How do UVA rays work?
UVA rays (think ‘A’ for ‘aging’) penetrate the epidermis down to the dermal layer and cause damage there. These rays are the ones primarily responsible for pigmentation and wrinkles.
UVA can also suppress the immune system. Immune system suppression, while not as visible as premature wrinkling and sagging, is much scarier. When your immune system doesn’t function well, your body has trouble fighting off infections, which leaves you open to some pretty unpleasant conditions.
How do UVB rays work?
UVB rays (think ‘B’ for ‘burning’) work on the epidermis, causing the most obvious and immediate effect of sun damage: sunburn. UVB rays generally don’t pass through to the dermis like UVA rays do. However, UVB light is more worrisome, as it plays a major role in the development of skin cancer.
Why Sunscreen is So Important?
The best anti-aging skin care routines includes perfectly formulated cleansers, toners, exfoliants, serums, eye creams and moisturisers. These are all vitally important for younger, healthy-looking skin BUT none of these products replaces the need for daily sun protection. The benefits these products provide just won’t work the way you want without the sun protection step. We can’t stress this enough: Don’t forget daily sunscreen protection or your skin will suffer the consequences!
Sunscreen protection use is needed 365 days of year because the sun isn’t just damaging your skin when the sky is clear. The UV light emitted by the sun steadily and silently hammers away at skin year-round whether it’s cloudy or raining. Leaving your skin unprotected against this assault results in all the signs of aging you want to avoid, and you won’t feel the damage taking place!
What if you already have wrinkles and dark spots from years of unprotected sun exposure? Research has shown that it’s never too late to start protecting your skin. In fact, people with sun damaged skin (and that includes all of us) who started using a broad spectrum sunscreen later in life saw a noticeable reduction in every visible sign of aging.
No matter your age, daily sunscreen use is the foundation of a brilliant anti-aging skin care routine.
Know Your Sunscreen
Sunscreens come in many formulations and delivery methods, and it can take trial and error to find the one you like best. Whether it’s a sport spray, an easy-to-use stick or a rich moisturiser with anti-aging ingredients, the best sunscreen is the one you will use every day.
SPF stands for sun protection factor. The number tells you how long the sun’s UVB rays would take to redden your skin when using a particular sunscreen compared with the amount of time without sunscreen. So if you use an SPF 15 product exactly as directed (applied generously and evenly, and reapplied after two hours or after sweating or swimming), it would take you 15 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen.
Broad Spectrum – The words “broad spectrum” on a label indicate that the sunscreen contains ingredients that effectively protect against UVA rays as well as UVB.
Water Resistance – While sunscreens can’t claim to be waterproof, they can be labeled water resistant for either 40 or 80 minutes. Yes, you can burn even when you’re in the water, so reapplying is key!
Sensitive Skin – Products containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, sometimes referred to as mineral or physical formulas, may be less likely to cause skin irritation in people who have sensitive skin.
The Pitfall – Most people don’t apply sunscreen exactly as directed. They may not apply it liberally enough, might miss spots and may forget to reapply regularly. Slather it on!
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