Always Wear Sunscreen

If there's one thing we learnt over the years, it's that we should always wear sunscreen. You may not feel the benefits now but trust us, your skin will thank you in the long run! In this article, we will be answering some commonly asked questions about sunscreen. 

What does SPF mean? 

SPF stands for 'Sun Protection Factor' and shows the level of protection (between 2 and 50+) offered against UVB rays. A star rating is used to show the level of protection (between 0 and 5 stars) offered against UVA rays. 

Below SPF 10 

Low protection 

SPF 15, 20 and 25 

Medium Protection 

SPF 30 and 50 

High Protection 

Above SPF 50 

Very High Protection 

It is important to choose a sunscreen that has a high SPF factor and a high UVA star rating to ensure you receive the best protection. 

What are UVA and UVB rays?  

Ultraviolet A rays accounts for most of the UV rays that reach our skin. They are present all year round even when it's overcast (as they can penetrate cloud cover) and are usually associated with signs of aging as well as skin cancer. 

Ultraviolet B rays vary in intensity based on location and seasons. They are also present all year round however they are more dominant in sunny climates and are usually associated with sunburns and causing skin cancer. 

What are the benefits of wearing sunscreen? 

The most obvious benefit is that it will lower the risk of skin cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, almost 9 out of 10 cases of melanoma in the UK could have been prevented through protecting the skin whilst out in the sun and avoiding tanning beds. Sun damage is also the main factor for aging skin. By wearing sunscreen, you will help protect your skin from signs of aging and prevent fine lines and wrinkles. 

My make-up and moisturiser has SPF – is this sufficient? 

Make-up and moisturisers that contain SPF is unlikely to provide the same level of protection. The formulas of make-up and moisturisers mean that they are less likely to be rub resistant or water resistant. They will help protect you against a small amount of UVB exposure however is not suitable for long amounts of exposure. They will usually not contain any UVA protection either and therefore will not protect you against signs of aging. 

What is the difference between 'physical' and 'chemical' sunscreens? 

Physical sunscreens act as a physical barrier by reflecting the UV rays off the skin. They are usually made from natural minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. 

Chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays and convert the rays into heat before releasing them from the body. They are usually made from chemical ingredients such as avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone.

Both types of sunscreen offer effective skin protection and it is down to personal preference. Physical sunscreens tend to be better for sensitive skin however can sometimes leave a white cast. Chemical sunscreens tend to be better if you are looking for a water resistant option however requires application at least 20 minutes before you go outside.