* AD - Products mentioned in this article were gifted by

With approaching summer we will be hearing terms such as "SPF" or UV light a lot more. You probably already know that SPF means Sun Protection Factor but do you know how important it is? Let's take a look at some basic facts that will convince you that SPF is as important as taking makeup off before you go to bed.

We have to protect our skin from sunlight because the sun emits harmful UV rays. We cannot see them because their wavelength is shorter than what our eyes can recognise and that's probably why we tend to forget about it. There are two types of very harmful rays within the UV spectrum - UVA and UVB rays. The UVA rays cause photoaging damage to our skin which can manifest as wrinkling and skin ageing. Needless to say that the damage by UVA rays also leads to tanning. UVB rays can lead to photocarcinogenesis. That is when you get sunburnt and it is linked to skin cancer development. Photocarcinogenesis is caused by cell and DNA damage. It is therefore important to look for a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection aka protects you from both types of UV rays. 

In ideal conditions, SPF value means how many times longer it would take the UV rays to cause damage to your skin compared to being without any protection. However, that is in ideal conditions meaning lab. It is important to remember even high values such as SPF50 will protect you from only about 98% of harmful rays. And the percentage drops with the SPF value so I would recommend using higher numbers.  On top of it, sunlight breaks down sunscreen containing SPF much quicker so it is required to reapply every two hours (however I found a study suggesting this should be done every 30 minutes!).

You should use products containing SPF every single day even when it is cloudy. Clouds may protect you from direct sunlight but not from the UV rays so if you think you are safe in wintertime, you are mistaken. I personally started using the Anthelios SPF50 invisible face mist from La Roche-Posay that I can apply even onto my makeup so I can keep myself protected without ruining my makeup (if that's what you are worried about).

Alongside a sunscreen, you should also use some sort of after-sun care. An after-sun cream contains loads of antioxidants that will fight the free radicals that are left on your skin from penetrating the sunscreen. This is another step you can take to protect your skin from damage. Moreover, the after-sun cream will compensate for the lost moisture which is gonna help the recovery of the skin. I recently picked a huge bottle of Photoderm After Sun lotion from Bioderma and I love it. It is quite cheap for the amount of product in a bottle (500 ml). It smells lovely, keeps my skin calmed and moisturised and it is absorbed very easily. What a pleasant surprise. 

I hope this has been helpful. I have to admit I did not know as much about the importance of SPF until I started writing this article. I scared myself a little and I am never leaving a house without a decent layer of sunscreen. 

No comments