We’re all familiar with SPF or Sun Protection Factor, but are we doing enough to protect ourselves against our skin’s favourite enemy?
What is an SPF?
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) describes the level of protection a sun screen has against UVB rays. The number alongside this is a way of measuring the level of UVB protection you receive from the sun.
- SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
- SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
- SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays
Over a lifetime, this small percentage is worth the protection, that is why we only recommend SPF 50.
Is a high SPF enough?
In short, no. An SPF only protects against half of the harmful rays in our atmosphere – UVB rays which are responsible for burning. UVA rays manipulate the elastin in our skin and are associated with sun-induced ageing. Unlike UVB, they penetrate through windows, getting deeper into the skin. UVA damage causes coarse wrinkles, leathery, thickened skin, and pigmentation issues.
What is a UVA Star Rating?
The UVA star system works similarly to SPF in that the higher the star rating (1-5) the higher the level of protection.
What sort of sun screen do I need?
Make sure that the SPF 50+ includes UVA and UVB protection, this is often called ‘Broad’ or ‘Full’ Spectrum protection. This way you are getting the best coverage against burning, and DNA damage from the sun.
When should I wear sun screen?
Wearing SPF 50+ daily will protect your skin long term. We recommend applying SPF 50:
- Everyday – 30 mins before sun exposure
- When it’s sunny
- When it’s cloudy
- After swimming
- After exercise/sweating
- Switch up your SPF with Broad Spectrum UVA and UVB protection
- Bin your last years out-of-date sun screen
- Replace or mix your foundation with high UVA & UVB protection
Check up on your SPF knowledge with our Sun & Skin Safety Test:
1. My foundation has SPF in it, my face has all the protection it needs. TRUE or FALSE?
Many foundations have low factor SPF. You might think it’s better than nothing, but why give your skin second best? We recommend getting better UVA and UVB coverage to guard against burning and DNA damage.
2. It’s so cloudy in the UK. I don’t need to worry about getting sun burnt. TRUE or FALSE?
You can get burnt on cloudy and windy days (more easily during the Summer). And even without burning, your skin can become damaged without protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays which are always present during day time.
3. I mostly inside all day so I don’t need to wear sun screen. TRUE or FALSE?
There has been some research suggesting that HEV (High Energy Visible light) or blue light from our screens can cause premature ageing. Whilst the research is currently inconclusive, windows do not protect from UVA, so unless you are working somewhere without windows, you will still benefit from sun screen.
4. I can mix my UV protection with my usual foundation TRUE or FALSE?
Using SPF as part of your make up regime is the best way to protect your skin from damage. We recommend the Heliocare 360 mineral range that can be mixed with your favourite foundation, or you can get excellent tinted broad spectrum (UVA & UVB protection) that have been carefully developed to offer maximum protection whilst matching your skin tone.
5. My skin is too damaged, it’s too late for me to fix it. TRUE or FALSE?
There are lots of ways you could improve your skin quality, and it’s never too late to start. At Good Skin Days, our expert team are in the business of improving skin, so whether it’s a Peel, Facial or Medical Microdermabrasion, our skin rejuvenating treatments can dramatically improve and repair damaged skin.
If you have any more questions about staying safe this Sun Awareness Month, drop them in the comments below.