Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Why is Sun Protection so important?
Finding something which all experts agree on in any subject is a rare thing. However, ask a dermatologist about their top tips for better skin and without fail they will say that number one is the daily use of a sunscreen.
Sunlight causes premature ageing, irritation and hyper-pigmentation which is difficult if not impossible to reverse. That's before we even get to the devastating impact of skin cancers. Even indoors we need to be aware that ordinary glass does not protect the skin from UVA rays which are those that penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and are associated with wrinkling, immune suppression, oxidative stress, and related ageing. It is thought that between 80% and 90% of the visible signs of ageing are related to sun exposure.
It may seem excessive but we need to be wearing sunscreen over the winter period and even if you are spending the majority of your time inside. We are wasting money if we invest in expensive skincare products whilst not protecting our skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
How do you know you're protected?
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a guide to the length of time you have protection from UVB rays only (the rays that cause burning). SPF can range from 6 to 50 in the EU. If it takes 20mins for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 30 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 30x longer; about 10hrs, if applied correctly.
Another way to look at it is in terms of percentages:
SPF 15 will protect you against ~93.3% of UVB rays (~6.7% gets through),
SPF 30 will protect against ~96.7% (~3.3% gets through) and,
SPF 50 will protect against ~98% (~2% gets through).
The star rating system which you may have seen on a number of high street products in the UK belongs to Boots the Chemist and is no longer available to all. All of the sunscreens SKIND select comply with the now widely used UVA PA system, where according to EU legislation, UVA protection has to achieve the ratio of at least 1/3 of the SPF in order to use the UVA in a circle symbol. On an SPF 30-50 product such as those we have selected, this indicates a high level of 'broad spectrum' protection. Some countries, particularly those in Asia, express this high level of UVA protection as PA++++.
Odylique for created a useful summary of sun protection terms below:
Even with a high SPF, regular sunscreen (re)application is important especially after you’ve been swimming, doing sport or towelling yourself dry. It is thought that on average people use between 25% and 50% of the required amount of sunscreen each application. The NHS recommends that we apply:
Two teaspoons - if just covering your head, arms and neck
Two tablespoons - if covering entire body while wearing a swimming costume
Physical (Mineral) vs Chemical (Synthetic) sunscreens
In the first instance it is important to understand that everything around us is made up of chemicals, so nothing is truly "chemical-free" nor are things containing chemicals inherently harmful. Therefore, instead of searching for a chemical-free sunscreen, we are looking for one that is free from harmful chemicals. When we talk about ‘chemical’ sun screens, we mean the synthetic chemical filters (like oxybenzone) rather than the physical or mineral filters (like Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide).
All sunscreen ingredients, both physical and chemical work by absorbing UV rays and converting this energy to heat. However, mineral ingredients reflect around 5% of this energy away from the skin.
There have been a number of studies suggesting that many of the ingredients found in synthetic sunscreens may be problematic. These range from them causing skin allergies, to reproductive issues and environmental damage. The research remains patchy and these synthetic sunscreen ingredients remain certified as being safe. However, many people feel they would prefer to be cautious and avoid these ingredients.
All of the sunscreens in the SKIND collection are mineral in nature.
Will wearing sunscreen affect your Vitamin D levels?
Sunscreen prevents sunburn by blocking UVB light. Theoretically, that means sunscreen use lowers Vitamin D levels which is important for bone health. However, as a practical matter, very few people put on enough sunscreen to entirely block all UVB light and even an SPF 50 product is allowing a small amount of UVB light through. An Australian study that is often cited showed no difference in Vitamin D levels between adults randomly assigned to use sunscreen one summer and those assigned a placebo cream.
If you do have concerns about your Vitamin D levels then perhaps spend a little time each day exposed to low-level sunshine (e.g. early or later when the sun is low) without sunscreen to keep your levels topped up. The part of the body exposed is not important for Vitamin D synthesis so we would recommend you maintain protection to the face area. You could also consider a nutritional supplement as magnesium is poorly supplied in the diet yet essential for many body systems including absorption of Calcium and Vitamin D into bone tissue.
SKIND selected products
Why not try one of our beautifully formulated physical sunscreens which steer clear of synthetic, harmful sunscreen chemicals and take advantage of physical sunscreen benefits. They are extremely efficient at protecting you from UVB and UVA rays and are made up of safe, skin-nourishing ingredients including antioxidants to counteract other damaging effects of the sun.
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