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 particularly ageing 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 younger. There is also the more obvious risk of increased chances of cancerous cells forming and melanoma.
WHY WEAR SPF
Short term – No sun burn
Short term – Protected exposure to sun = Longer lasting tan
Long term – Reduced skin damage and risk of skin cancer
Long term – Younger looking skin
SPF RATING and UVB PROTECTION
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 15 and above is recommended for good protection.
If you have sensitive skin like me you might be interested to know that SPF factor 50 has twice the amount of chemicals in highly marketed brands (less chemicals are recommended for sensitive skin) and only offers 2% more protection than SPF 30.
Melanin is a protective pigment in skin, which blocks UV radiation from damaging DNA and potentially causing skin cancer and ageing. The darker the skin tones 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. I would always opt for at least an SPF 30 to insure adequate protection.
UVA & UVB
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
UV rays that contribute to premature 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 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.
RECOMMENDED SUNSCREEN FOR SPORT
I have personally tried and tested these products while exercising and I would recommend the following sun creams for face and body. All listings are breathable, sensitive skin friendly with no harsh Chemicals and very long lasting during exercise. All Sunscreens are also Reef safe therefore do not contain Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, two chemicals that have damaging effects on our oceans and coral reefs. They are however completely safe for your skin as sunscreen is the most tested beauty product.
Certified Organic mineral sun cream, Vegan, Hypoallergenic.
Certified organic, Sent free, Suitable for those prone to eczema & psoriasis, Cruelty free.
Mineral Sunscreen, Reef Safe, Hypoallergenic, Cruelty free.
Certified Organic mineral sun cream, lightweight matte finish, Vegan, Reef safe.
GREEN PEOPLE SCENT FREE FACIAL SUN CREAM - SPF30 50ML - £19
Sent free, Anti-aging, Cruelty free, Reef Safe.
Mineral Sunscreen, Reef Safe, oil-free, Hypoallergenic.
HOW TO WEAR SUNSCREEN
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
Re-apply regularly (every 2 hours)
When exercising/swimming re-apply every hour
For more instructions on how to wear sunscreen optimally see video!