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  • Writer's pictureAdelle Tracey

SPF is Your BFF

If you enjoy exercising outside you are likely to be exposed to the sun more regularly. The sun provides us with vitamin D and can help boosts serotonin levels making us feel good. There is also a proven benefit that sunlight has a positive impact our mental health, mood and energy levels, so plenty of reason to get out in the sun.

On the other hand, the sun can be particulary damaging for our skin without adequate protection. Over the years sunlight exposure increases broken capillaries in the skin and reduces elastic qualities that contribute to skin looking firmer and more youthful. There is a risk of increased chances of cancerous cells forming and melanoma due to sun damage.


  • Short term – Reduced chance of sun burn

  • Short term – Protection from the sun's potentially harmful rays

  • Short term - A more gradual long lasting tan

  • Long term - Reduced chances and preventative for Hyperpigmentation

  • Long term – Reduced skin damage and risk of skin cancer

  • Long term – Can actively slow ageing


The higher the factor the more protection there is against harmful rays. Day to day a low factor will supply you with minimum of 90% protection, however in seasons of increased temperature particularly between the hours of 10am-4pm (peak sunlight hours) it’s important to use a high SPF. Factor 30 and above is recommended for good protection.


Melanin is a protective pigment in skin, which blocks UV radiation from damaging DNA which can potentially cause skin cancer and ageing the skin. The darker the skin tone, the higher the levels of melanin. Although there are less risks associated with harmful sunlight exposure to darker skin tones, increased melanin levels do not eliminate the risks. In the instants of Bob Marley, who very sadly passed from Melanoma, he actually contracted this form of cancer on the skin under his big toe nail. As a preventative measure for health SPF should be used daily and if Hyperpigmentation is a concern, (which is often the case in darker skin tones) then literature recommends daily use too. I would always opt for at least an SPF 30 to insure adequate protection and I wear an SPF 50 from spring till Autumn.


Exposure to UVA/UVB rays happens all year round. However when temperatures are high and shadows can be cast the skin is most at risk. UVA rays penetrate deeper than UVB affecting the skins thickest layer, the Dermis.

  • SPF 15 = 93% Protection

  • SPF 30 = 97% Protection

  • SPF 50 = 99% Protection

*With regular re-application every 2 hours

UV rays that contribute to accelerated ageing and also affect the immune system. This is because UVA rays breakdown elastin fibres and collagen molecules in the skin. UVB is sometimes considered to be the more dangerous UV ray as it affects the outer layer of the skin called the Epidermis. When the epidermis is left unprotected UVB rays can damage the outer layers of the skin causing sunburn. This is not only painful but permanently damaging overtime, increasing risk of skin cancer and melanoma.

  • UVB – shorter rays that effect outer layers of skin. Causes Burning.

  • UVA –Longer rays effects deeper layers of skin. Causes accelerated Aging.


Too much exposure to UV light can increase risk of eye diseases such as cataract, growths on the eye, and cancer. These conditions are more common in those who spend many hours out in the sun, particularly in UV intense conditions near to mountains, snow or water. People of all ages should take precautions when outdoors by wearing eye protection or a hat.


  • Sun damage can happen at anytime during the year.

  • Avoid looking directly into the sun at any time; especially during an eclipse this damages the eye's retina from solar radiation.

  • Don’t be fooled by the clouds. You are still exposed to harmful UV rays, always wear shades.


If your looking for a sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB you may see the following ingredients on the packaging. The main one is diethylhexyl butamido triazone and ethylhexyl triazone. This can also be called iscotrizinol, DBT or Uvasorb HEB.

  • Chemical sunscreens protect your skin by absorbing UV rays. Chemical filters consist of triazines & triazones, meroxyl, avobenzone and oxybenzone. These chemicals filter UV rays


  • Mineral or Physical sunscreens protect by blocking & reflecting UV rays. These contain zinc oxide & titanium dioxid and tend to feel more ‘Greasy’.

  • Hybrid sunscreens contain a mixture of chemical and mineral filters, which work together to protect from UV rays.


I have personally tried and tested these products while exercising and I would recommend the following sun creams for face and body. All listings blend well on darker skin tones, are suitable for sensitive skin friendly and long lasting during exercise. All Sunscreens are also Reef safe, therefore do not contain Oxybenzone and Octinoxate which have damaging effects on our oceans and coral reefs. These chemicals are however completely safe for your skin as sunscreen is the most tested beauty product.




Its unlikely most of us are wearing too much sun cream. Two milligrams of sunscreen should be applied per square cm of skin. This equates to two tablespoons to each exposed area (each leg, stomach, lower back, upper back, shoulders and chest) and two pence sized drop for the face. Spray application is less accurate but there should be an obvious even sheer all over the skins surface. Remember, sunscreen must be reapplied every two hours and more frequently with heavy perspiration, swimming and towel drying.

  • Apply 20 minutes prior to going outside to let cream absorb into skin

  • Two tablespoons of sun cream for each area of the body

  • Two pence sized drop for the face

  • Even coverage

  • Re-apply regularly (every 2 hours)

  • When exercising/swimming re-apply every hour

For more instructions on how to wear sunscreen optimally see video!


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