Today I’ve got fellow Northern gal, Catherine from Counter Pretty to tell you some (vital) home truths about looking after skin this summer: what is SPF? It was great reading this before holiday and if you love her honesty – please check her blog out!
Every time you expose your skin to sunlight, your skin cells get damage and exposure to strong sunlight can start the mutation process (which is how cancer develops down the road). Yes it’s a horrible and scary thought but it’s something people need to be reminded of more, skin cancer is a very real consequence of not protecting your skin that can be easily delayed through sun cream. Despite this, skin cancer is the cancer with the fastest increasing case rate in the UK.
So now I’ve either scared you to death or bored you to tears, how do you stop sun damage? Obviously putting on sunscreen is the obvious solution, but it won’t do anything for you if you aren’t using it properly.
Lets start with those commonly missed areas.
- Ears – this is a biggie, it’s the 3rd most common location of skin cancer
- Lips – the best way to get around this without looking strange is to pop a lip balm containing SPF (making sure to reapply)
- Scalp – Hair does NOT protect against the UV rays that much, it’s really icky to put it all over the hair, so apply sparingly to areas of exposed scalp (such as parting line and forehead)
- Backs of hands – remember if you wash your hands you’ll need more on!
- Top of feet – trust me when I say you don’t want to burn this (I have the scars to prove it) – the dry skin on top of your feet gets crispy pretty quickly so if you have any foot exposed make sure the sun cream is on
- Face, yes I know it can leave skin feeling icky, but not protecting your face is a one way road to wrinkles and damaged skin years down the line. Try a non-greasy one such as Nivea’s Light Feeling version or Neutrogena’s Dry Touch and leave lots of time to dry before makeup application.
A lot of sunburn is also caused by people being stingy with their sunblock. As a rule – err on the side of too much. Sun lotion should be applied very generously around 15 minutes before you go outside to allow for proper absorption. Make sure you use enough to cover any skin that’s bare (every last bit) and that you reapply every few hours (and after being in the water obviously).
Buying a decent sunscreen can feel like a maze, there’s 4 aisles of orange lotions in Boots all claiming to be better than each other, so what should you go for?
Your suncream should protect you from UVA and UVB rays. UVA is responsible for sun-induced skin ageing as well as increasing the risk of skin cancer. UVB radiation is what causes sunburn and has a higher risk of causing skin cancer as it damages the skin cells more. SPF blocks UVB rays and UVA protection is measured using a star rating from 0-5 (as a ratio to the UVB rating) the ideal standard is around 30 SPF with 4 or 5 stars.
A very important thing to note, especially when it comes to SPF face creams or foundations is that the amount of moisturiser of foundation applied will not contain enough SPF to efficiently protect you from the sun for long periods of time.
Hopefully I haven’t completely bored you completely to tears, you’ll be pleased to know that the lecture is finished for now! Hopefully you all bear this in mind when you’re off sunning yourself (or even if you aren’t off on holiday just because you aren’t in tropical paradise doesn’t mean you can’t get burned by the sun).