Skin Protection In The Sun – Make Sure You Know How To Stay Protected

Girl On The Beach

Staying covered up in the sun is vital to protect the skin, and applying the correct amount of sunscreen is an important part of forming good sun-safe habits.

Skin Protection In The Sun

Applying sunscreen is an essential part of your daily skincare routine to avoid sunburn. It is vital that you pick a product best suited to your skin type to get the best protection from the sun.

For most people, a quick ‘slap’ of sunscreen and they believe that is sufficient for the day. In fact, using sunscreen correctly is more intricate than you think. This can be in part down to confusing claims mixed with common misunderstandings that often lead to compromised sun safety.

Some of the most common questions regarding sunscreens are, how do sunscreens work? What is SPF? How often do you need to apply sunscreen? Can you rely on once-a-day sunscreen? And what about the SPF you find in your make-up?

See our sunscreen reviews to discover which sunscreen to use on the face

** The 5 Best Sunscreens For The Face **

What Is SPF Sunscreen – What Does SPF Mean?

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) tells you the level of protection sunscreens give against UVB radiation. This is the radiation that causes sunburn and irreversible damage to skin that may lead to skin cancer.

It also provides an indication (not a guarantee) of how long skin with sunscreen on will take to go red and burn in response to UV exposure when compared with unprotected skin.

Let’s say unprotected skin with no sunscreen would typically burn after 10-15 minutes in the sun. But, if you have sunscreen applied with SPF15, this will allow you to be out in the sun without burning for around 150 minutes. This is because it has a factor of 15 times longer than if you didn’t have sunscreen on.

Remember, this is only a rough estimate, and you have to keep in mind your skin type, the strength of sunlight, and the amount of sunscreen you apply. SPF is a measure of protection from the amount of UVB exposure, and it is not actually meant to help you determine the duration of exposure.

For best protection, it is recommended to use a minimum SPF sunscreen of 30, applying the proper amount which is 2mg to cm2 of skin, or about one ounce for full-body coverage. Most people under-apply sunscreen if you only use ¼ to ½ the amount that is required and make the mistake of not reapplying every 2 hours.

Sunblock SPF30

The Sun Protection Factor – SPF scale is not linear.

SPF 15 blocks – 93% of UVB rays

SPF 30 blocks – 97% of UVB rays

SPF 50 blocks – 98% of UVB rays

So, the way to look at this is that SPF30 sunscreen gives you 4% more protection than SPF15 sunscreen.

Another way to explain this is –

SPF15 offers 93% protection, this allows 7 out of 100 photons through.

SPF30 offers 97% protection, this allows 3 out of 100 photons through.

So, even though you are not doubling your level of protection, using an SPF30 will block half the radiation that an SPF 15 would let through to your skin.

SPF Protection Chart

It can sound complicated but do keep in mind, most dermatologists recommend using an SPF30 sunscreen at all times.

Why Not Use A High SPF?

SPF Mislead Customers

Sunscreens with really high Sun Protection Factor, such as SPF75 or SPF100, do not offer significantly higher sun protection when compared with SPF30. This can mislead people into thinking they have more protection than they actually do.

UVA and UVB are both types of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Both have been linked with skin cancer, although UVB is the leading cause of sunburn, UVA is known to be the cause of premature aging.

Additionally, to have broad-spectrum protection, the UVA protection should be at least 1/3 of the UVB protection. High SPF sunscreens usually offer far greater UVB than UVA protection, thus offering a false sense of ‘total’ protection.

Not all sunscreens protect you from UVA rays. To check if the sunscreen you purchase has UVA protection you should see on the packet a logo with ‘UVA’ written inside a circle.

Don’t Confuse ‘Water-Resistant’ And ‘Waterproof’ Sunscreens

Poolside + Chairs

About 95% of the sunscreens claim to be water-resistant, but this doesn’t mean they are waterproof.

The European industry guideline for water-resistant sunscreens allows the SPF of a product to drop by 50% after a total of 40 minutes submerged in tap water. However, in other parts of the world, the SPF must adhere to what the sunscreen offers after immersion in water.

That means if you buy SPF30 sunscreen, it can drop to SPF15 or less after you have been swimming. If you are spending the day at the beach or by the pool, be mindful of reapplying sunscreen when you leave the water before sunbathing.

Don’t Rely On ‘Once A Day’ Sunscreen

Applying Sunscreen on back

You’ve probably seen ‘Once A Day’ sunscreen on the shelves of your local pharmacy or supermarket. There is no denying that the idea of not having to reapply sunscreen regularly is appealing.

But when tested ‘Once A Day’ sunscreens to see whether they would protect you ‘all day’ in the sun, it was found that very few are up to the job. The average drop in SPF after it was applied for six to eight hours was 74%.

There is no universal standard that sunscreen manufacturers have to adhere to when making a ‘Once A Day’ claim. When asked, sunscreen companies that offer this ‘promise’ say that they do multiple tests to justify it.

The Cosmetics, Toiletries and Perfumery Association (CTPA) who control sunscreen manufacturers have said that companies are moving away from ‘Once A Day’ claims, and now referring to them as ‘Durable Sunscreen.’ Regardless of how long your sunscreen claims to last, stay safe and reapply regularly.

Don’t Buy A Sunscreen That’s Greasy Or Sticky

Some sunscreens can feel sticky or greasy when you apply them and difficult for the skin to absorb, often leaving you covered in a chalky white residue. Because they are not pleasant to use, a lot of people can’t be bothered to reapply them throughout the day.

An excellent way to ensure you get into the habit of regularly applying sunscreen is to find one that feels good on your skin. Do this by testing ‘samples’ in stores, choosing one that’s easy to use, provides excellent sun protection, offers high UVA protection, and stick with that brand.

We’ve found five face sunscreens that not only protect from UV radiation from the sun, but they’re also pleasant to apply. To find out which sunscreens will keep you protected without leaving your skin feeling sticky or greasy, click here.

Click To Read –  ** The 5 Best Sunscreens For The Face **

Don’t Apply To Little Sunscreen

Applying Sunscreen On Shoulder

The reality is you are never applying enough sunscreen, most of us use less than half of the amount we should. A sunscreen’s SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is measured using a test that requires a set amount to be applied – 2mg per square centimeter of skin, to be precise.

So, for your sunscreen to offer the protection claimed, you need to apply the correct amount on your body, this means the total sunscreen required for the average-sized adult is 35ml. That is measured out as seven teaspoons of sunscreen. You will use one spoonful for head and neck, one for each arm and leg, one for your back, and one for the torso.

Applying less sunscreen can have a significant impact on the protection you receive. If you use half as much sunscreen, this means you get as little as a third of the claimed SPF. Sunscreen also needs to be reapplied regularly to offer protection to the skin, so slather more on at least every two hours.

How Do ‘Mineral’ Sunscreens Work?

‘Mineral’ or ‘Physical’ sunscreens as they often called use physical blockers, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, to prevent UV rays from reaching the skin. These ‘Physical’ blockers are made using naturally occurring minerals. If you do pick a ‘Mineral’ sunscreen, it’s essential to check that it includes an ingredient that acts as a sun filter.

Click To Read – ** Mineral Or Chemical Sunscreen – The Facts **

Will Make-Up With SPF Shield Me?

Paula's Choice Sunscreen

Read More At – Paula’s Choice

Some sun protection is better than none at all, but products will only reach the full SPF when the correct amount is applied to the skin. For any product to provide the SPF that is said on the bottle, you need to use 2mg per cm2. This means about one teaspoon of make-up with SPF needs to be applied to your face!

And, just as with sunscreen, it needs to be reapplied regularly. In reality, you are unlikely to use the correct amount of make-up required. For example, in the case of a foundation with SPF, that would mean a 30ml bottle would only last six applications. When used as part of your regular daily make-up, this isn’t going to be enough to protect you from the sun.

Do I Need A Specific Sunscreen For Babies?

Applying Sunscreen on babies hand

Sunscreens that are specially formulated for babies and children are less likely to irritate young sensitive skin. However, sunscreen is just one step to take to keep kids safe in the sun.

You need to encourage kids to slip on a t-shirt, splash on loads of sunscreen, put on a hat, and wear sunglasses. These are all excellent ways to help children to remain safe while playing in the sun. Babies skin is so delicate they should be kept in the shade at all times.

‘Sensitive’ to skin sunscreens are available; these tend to use physical blockers, which act as a screen to protect the skin. Chemical absorbers soak up UV radiation but are also more likely to cause skin irritation than physical (mineral) blockers.

child getting sunscreen applied

There is a long list of ingredients that are used as chemical absorbers. If you are looking to avoid them, the easiest way is to look for products that are labeled for ‘sensitive’ skin rather than search for specific ingredients.

Don’t Use SPF To Spend Hours In The Sun

Health and Safety during Summer

Although this might sound counter-intuitive, surely using sunscreen is supposed to mean we can spend more time in the sun? No, it definitely is not!

Sunscreen is intended to help protect our skin from the sun during your normal daily activities. It should not be used as a reason to spend long periods in the sun or to help with getting a beautiful suntan.

There is no such thing as having a ‘healthy tan.’ Skin Protection In The Sun Is Vital. If you notice a change in color to the skin through sunbathing, it’s a clear indication that your skin has been damaged from overexposure to the sun.

Research has shown that people who use high SPF stay out for longer in the sun. People who apply sunscreen are also more likely to have been sunburnt many more times than those who avoid the sun.

This comes down to the misconception we have about and use sunscreen. It can only offer so much protection, and you shouldn’t rely on sunscreen alone.

Skin Protection In The Sun has to be your number one priority. You should use sunscreen along with sunglasses, a hat, loose clothing, and frequent relaxing breaks in the shade and staying hydrated drinking water and not alcohol!

girl sitting in sunset

I hope you have found this post on ‘Skin Protection In The Sun – Make Sure You Know How To Stay Protected’ to be helpful. If you have any questions please leave them below and I will be happy to discuss them with you.

Mineral or Chemical Sunscreen – The Facts

sunscreen

People are finally beginning to realise how important it is to use sunscreen. However, does choosing a safe and suitable sunscreen for you and your family leave you totally and utterly confused!

The most significant topic for discussion regarding sunscreens at the moment seems to be Mineral or Chemical Sunscreen? We will try to present the facts to you, and hopefully, this will make purchasing your next sunscreen a lot less confusing!

Mineral Sunscreen:

Mineral sunscreens are also known as ‘Physical’ sunscreens. They have a somewhat tarnished reputation because in the ‘old’ days they were dreadful to apply and they would leave people looking whiter than a bottle of milk! The good news is that things have got a lot better. Micronization – grinding of the material particles has improved immensely and using mineral sunscreens isn’t nearly so daunting as it once was, that said, people who have a darker skin tone, it will still leave you with a white tainted appearance.

The two main active ingredients in mineral sunscreens are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide. These are the ‘reflectors’ that sit on surface of the skin forming a protective physical barrier between UV rays and the skin beneath. The UV rays are then reflected away so stopping them from entering the skin.

Once applied it creates an instant barrier, you do not need to wait for absorption into the skin before going into the sun. It will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays; it will also stay active longer when in UV rays than chemical sunscreens.

The critical thing to remember when using a physical sunscreen is that for the skin to get complete protection, the whole area has to be covered with a generous amount to create the barrier that reflects UV rays, an area that is sparsely covered could allow UV rays to penetrate the skin.

Mineral sunscreens are thought to suit people who have sensitive skin but to be on the safe side check the labeling and avoid products that have Oxybenzone or Octinoxate as both Mineral and Chemical sunscreens have some amount of chemicals in them these days.

Mineral sunscreen is also more suitable if you have any skin blemishes, skin that tends to flush or has redness, or eczema, this skin type can be irritated by heat, but as the UV rays are deflected away and not absorbed into the skin, mineral sunscreen is more suitable.

As mineral sunscreens have a much thicker texture to them, applying while on the beach can be a bit tricky. Imagine the scene, you get out of the water, you are trying to get this thick sunscreen rubbed into your skin, and the dreaded sand starts to get everywhere, it would be like rubbing sandpaper to your body, pleasant situation to be in, is it!

When applying mineral sunscreens more is always better, remember it works by forming a ‘barrier’ so that it can protect the skin, so apply liberally.

For daily use on the face, and for the ladies who want to apply makeup, Mineral sunscreens are not so convenient to use as chemical sunscreens. The lotion sits on the skin and is not lightweight, so when trying to apply makeup, you will get a thick looking appearance and the possibility of ‘balling’ on the skin.

Mineral sunscreens have a long shelf life; although that shouldn’t be a problem for you if you are using it daily, there won’t be any worries it will go out-of-date!

Click To Read – The 5 Best Sunscreens For The Face 

sun + vitamin D levels

Chemical Sunscreen:

Chemical sunscreens work in a different way to mineral sunscreens. It works by the skin absorbing the lotion, these chemicals then stop the UV rays from touching the body by creating a reaction that heats the rays and repelling the UV rays away from the skin.

Chemical sunscreens are thought to offer better protection for the skin as there is no risk of gaps between the molecules when the lotion is applied. Offers a broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Some ingredients you would find in a chemical sunscreen:

  • Avobenzone
  • Octisalate
  • Octinoxate
  • Oxybenzone
  • Tinosorb S and M

You can see from the number of chemical ingredients there is a much higher risk that your skin could react when using a chemical sunscreen. If your facial skin has any blemishes, adding a chemical sunscreen is akin to adding petrol to a raging fire! The skin will release histamine and so lead to inflammation and an angry red appearance.

The Chemical sunscreen texture is entirely different to the mineral in that it is a thinner liquid type lotion, which makes it very easy to apply to your skin.

After applying a chemical sunscreen, you will have to wait between 10-20 minutes for it to soak into the skin before going out into the sun.

It has to be re-applied more frequently when you are in the sun as the protection diminishes with the more UV light that shines on you.

With chemical sunscreen being more straightforward to apply and not sitting directly on the skin, ladies will prefer to use them as makeup is easy to apply on top of the sunscreen.

Hawaii has banned the use of chemical, water-resistant sunscreens due to the risk some ingredients pose to the declining coral reef. It is the opinion that some 12,000 tons of sunscreen lotion ends up in coral reefs all around the world each year.

Which is safe for Babies?

Is Mineral or Chemical sunscreen safer to apply to a babies skin? The consensus seems to be that sunscreen shouldn’t be applied to a babies skin if they are under six months Sunscreen for babiesold. The skin of a newborn baby is so delicate; the safer option is to keep the baby covered with clothing or stay out of the sun altogether.

Children that are over six months old, it is recommended using a mineral sunscreen as they have fewer harsh chemicals, use a high Sun Protection Factor 50+

Further Reading – Sun Care For The Face

The Best Protection?

Glorious sun

Mineral or Chemical Sunscreen … Seriously tricky question to answer! The main thing to understand is, both Mineral and Chemical sunscreens will protect you from UVA and UVB rays. If you put 10 top scientists in a room and ask them to come up with a definitive answer as to which offers the best protection, I could almost guarantee they would not come to a unanimous decision!

It may come down to what you feel more comfortable with on your skin. Some people are against putting too many chemicals near their skin so will prefer Mineral sunscreen, perfectly understandable. We have more than enough toxic pollutants in the air we breathe and foods we eat, so we don’t need adding more to our body with a chemically loaded sunscreen.

Some people feel overly conscious of applying a Mineral sunscreen when they are on the beach, it is so dense and white, and glaringly obvious, they end up looking like frosty the snowman on vacation! Again perfectly understandable.

Click To Read – The 5 Best Sunscreens For The Face

My Conclusion:

The main thing to remember is to apply your sunscreen daily and to reapply generously, and you can safely enjoy your time in the sun 🙂

 

What Sunscreen do you prefer use? Please leave any comments or questions below, and I will be happy to discuss them with you.

jo@yourskincarehelp.com


 

Sun Care For The Face

sunscreen face

The media are continually telling us that our summers are getting hotter, and lasting a lot longer. So, if we believe what the weather experts are saying, we can expect it to carry on getting hotter and hotter each year, this is where Sun Care for the face is becoming more essential.

Rising Temperatures

We as holidaymakers, and no doubt the tourist industry welcome long warm sunny days with prolonged periods of heat, but on the flip side the extreme weather can have serious implications to our well-being. Intense heat brings serious health issues; the air quality deteriorates leading to respiratory problems, heat stroke, and sunburn. The people most vulnerable are the young, elderly and those who have serious medical issues.

Another mistake many people make is thinking they only need to protect their skin in the summer months. Winter is just as dangerous to your facial skin, don’t be fooled into thinking that just because the sun isn’t beating down at 35’celcius, it isn’t inflicting damage. Clouds might shade you from direct sunlight, but it cannot stop harmful rays from reaching your delicate skin. You need to apply either sunscreen or a moisturizer with Sun Protection Factor (preferably SPF 30 or above) as part of your daily routine.

*I would urge Everyone to watch the following video, it’s only 3 minutes long, you will be very surprised at what you see!

The Dangers – UVA & UVB:

It is your face that is exposed to harmful sun rays more than any other part of your body. So, this is why sun care, for your face, is so important. The ‘deadly duo’ ready to attack sun worshipers are UVA & UVB rays. It is the UVB rays that have intense heat that causes the skin to burn.

skin cancer

People who are heading for their summer vacation seem more concerned about protecting themselves from UVB rays almost ignoring the sever implications from UVA rays. Sunbathers want to be able to stay out in the sun for hours on end and get a perfect golden suntan! They seem to think the only thing that matters is they buy a sunscreen with a high Sun Protection Factor, and they can lay on the beach from sun up to sun down!

UVA warning

Sunburn is the bodies way of alerting people they are getting UVB damage to their skin; if you keep getting sunburn on your face instance, this will lead to actinic keratosis of the skin. You will see dry, rough, scaly patches develop; these appear more often on the lips, ears, forehead, and scalp. It can become inflamed and red and could ultimately lead to skin cancer.

UVA rays have less energy than UVB rays but they do penetrate deeper into the skin and cause more serious skin cancers. UVA rays are a little sneaky as they cause damage to the skin without it getting sunburned. In particular drivers who cover long distances have to be very careful as UVA rays can penetrate glass and be shining of the drivers face for many hours causing untold amount of damage. UVA rays are what makes the skin go brown and with this comes dark facial spots, lines and aging to the skin and ultimately wrinkles.

SPF = Sun Protection Factor:

Sun Protection Factor is a measure of protection you get from UVB rays. The higher the factor number, the better protection you will get when sunscreen is applied to the face and body to try and protect your skin from sunburn. The most commonly used Sun Protection Factor number can range from 15 up to 50.

*Click To Read – The Best 5 Sunscreens For The Face*

sunscreen face
Clinique City Block SPF 40 – Review

An SPF of 15 will block approximately 93% of UVB rays from your skin, SPF 30 will block 95%, and an SPF 50 will block 98% of UVB rays. The one flaw with these ratings is that all testing was done in a controlled manner, where the UVB rays that came into contact with the volunteers were consistent, in real life it’s not like that. If you go out in the sun at noon, you will be exposed to much stronger rays than in the early evening, say 5.00pm. So caution is strongly recommended, avoid the hottest part of the day and always listen to what your skin is trying to tell you! You will never get 100% protection from UV rays when you are in the sun!

Further Reading  Mineral Or Chemical Sunscreen – The Facts

*Look to the Stars!*

When purchasing your sun protection, as well as looking at the SPF you will also want to look for the number of stars* you will see on the bottle. It is a rating system that tells you how much protection you will get from UVA rays. The star ratings go from 0 up to 5; if you see a bottle with zero or 1 star, it is to be avoided at all cost. Ideally, you will be looking for a high Sun Protection Factor with five stars on your next bottle of sunscreen!

UVA Star Rating

Important UVA clouds Even on a cloudy day, when the sun is not shining or partially hidden behind clouds, UVA rays are still there, they penetrate the clouds causing skin damage, it is essential to apply sunscreen to your face on a cloudy day.

PA rating System:

You may also see the PA rating system telling you how much protection you get against UVA rays. It is a system the Japanese tend to use on their sunscreen products, although we mostly see the stars system now it’s worth knowing just in case you see it on a sunscreen bottle.

PA+ means Low Protection, PA++ Moderate Protection, PA+++ High Protection.

Broad Spectrum:

Another way you might see your sunscreen labeled is with the words ‘Broad Spectrum’ It will have an SPF rating on it, and basically it’s telling you that it also has ingredients in it that protect you from UVA rays as well. It will have at least one of the following active ingredients in it to protect you from UVA rays: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, Mexoryl SX (ecamsule) or TinosorbConclusion.

Enjoy the Sun – Safely!

Important things to remember when buying your sunscreen are your skin type and skin colour. Pale, sensitive skin will burn a lot quicker than say someone with an olive complexion. Don’t think that if you buy a sunscreen with a high Sun Protection Factor, it will mean that after two weeks on holiday you will still be going home looking pale, you will get that vital suntan but in a safer more controlled manner.

Buying the most expensive sunscreen doesn’t automatically mean you are getting the best sun care for the face, buying an expensive brand and using it sparingly because you are trying to make it last is a surefire way to getting sunburned! Some other important things to remember about sunscreen protection:

  • Apply at least 15 minutes before going out in the sun                                                                    sun sand sea
  • Apply Liberally and remember to reapply every 2-3 hours
  • Water resistant means it will last approx’ 40 minutes when you are wet
  • Wear a hat and UV rated sunglasses, these will also protect delicate skin around the eyes
  • Avoid the sun when it’s at it hottest
  • Wear sunscreen all year round!
  • Remember to rehydrate your skin after sunbathing

 

Which rating system do you follow when buying sunscreen for your face? Please leave any comments or questions below, and I will be happy to discuss them with you.

jo@yourskincarehelp.com