So most of us have heard of SPF and know we should wear it when in the sun to prevent burning. But do we know how it works? And have you ever heard of UVA and UVB ratings?
According to a recent survey carried out by British Association of Dermatologists, only 38% of participants know that the SPF is what predominantly protects our skin from burning and 38% know that its a products UVA rating that protects our skin from aging. The survey also shows an increase in sales for moisturisers and foundations with a high SPF with the misconception that this added product will protect against wrinkling as opposed to UVA protection which is not contained in a lot of high street brands.
In the most simple terms as possible; SPF is the sun protection factor which is completely different to UVA (aging rays) and UVB (burning rays) protection.
So what exactly is and SPF? In the words of Sharon Hilditch, Managing director of Crystal Clear Skin Care, “It is a term used to indicate the minimum time for you to burn with sun protection on in comparison to the time required to burn without protection. Eg. If it takes 6 mins to develop a persistent redness when exposed to the sun without protection and 48mins with protection, then the SPF of the product would be 8. The higher the SPF the more UVB protection offered.”
Many sunscreens on the market provide a high SPF but do not block UVA rays which do not burn the skin but more importantly increase the rate of melanoma (skin cancer) and cause premature aging, so people using sunscreen may be getting too much UVA without realising it.
Also to add to the confusion there are also free radicals which come from the sun, these penetrate and damage cells and are believed to accelerate the progression of Cancer. So essentially, we must make sure we are protected from all.
With so many different factors to consider, thank goodness for advanced SPF products. Normally these will display the words, “broad spectrum” but here are a list of some including my own personal favourite that I use on my clients; Dermalogica’s solar defence booster spf 50 which is packed full of vitamins and light enough to wear under make up. Another good one is Clarins’ sun wrinkle control which is a little cheaper or lastly Crystal Clear Protect and Repair which is on the higher end of the market.
***top tip*** Never use last years sun protection as it looses its effectiveness and may cause sunburn.