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Sun Protection Factors

· SPF,Skin care,Ageing

Damage caused by UV light.

Exposure to Ultraviolet light over time causes visible damage to the skin. This can be in the form of wrinkles, dehydrated skin, dryness and patchiness and possibly melanomas.

There are two main types of UV rays that damage the skin in different ways:

UVA - These penetrate deeply into your skin and will cause genetic damage to cells, they will cause fine lines and wrinkles, age spots and pigmentation.

UVB - These rays cause sunburn and direct damage to our cells' DNA and are thought to cause most types of skin cancers.

What can you do?

Protect your skin by using a Sun Protection Factor (SPF).

An SPF is the measurement in time it takes for your skin to turn red when exposed to UV light. This refers to only UVB protection, not UVA.

Lets say it takes 20 minutes for your skin to go red out in the sun without any protection. Using an SPF 15 will theoretically prevent that reddening happening 15 times longer - so, approximately 5 hours.

But you should not expect any suncream, regardless of it's strength, to stay effective longer than 2 hours, without reapplication.

Mineral and Chemical SPF

Mineral sun creams contain active mineral ingredients, such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These work by sitting on top of the skin to reflect and scatter damaging UV rays away from the skin.

Chemical sun creams contain organic compounds, such as Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate and Avabenzone. These create a chemical reaction and work by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat from the skin.

Complicated, right?

Now it's time to protect your skin!

There are a few good things you need to do regarding SPFs

  • Always read and follow the instructions. They are there to tell you how to use your mineral or chemical contained product.
  • Choose a broad spectrum SPF to protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Use the star rating on the back of the bottle or tube of sun cream for UVA protection. It works like the grading of a hotel - 5 star is the best.
  • Store your sun cream out of the light and make sure it is kept out of the heat.
  • Stay out of the sun at peak times - take a siesta!!

I hope that I have helped you understand a little more about sun damage and SPFs.

Studying chemistry of cosmetics and physiology of ageing has really helped open my eyes to what can cause damage to our bodies.

Always take care of your skin, it is the largest organ of the body and it will be representing you for a long time!


Take care



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