The sun. That magical thing that makes us feel happier when it’s out. Most of us don’t mind (and even like) when the sun shines down on us and gives our skin that glow we were missing all winter long. Despite the positives that the sun can have on our emotions, it sure does come with a lot of negatives for our skin, especially if we don’t protect it correctly.
Sunscreen is one of those products that is either forgotten about, skipped over, or not used properly. There have been studies that show nearly 70% of women and 85% of men do not wear sunscreen. Considering summer is right around the corner, I figured the beauty lovers, and anyone reading this for that matter, would benefit from a little knowledge on the topic of sun protection. To gain more insight, I spoke to Steven Cannizzo, a global beauty educator, product formulator, biochemist, and toxicologist. Through our discussion, I came up with five reasons why you should start wearing sunscreen every day, and how you can incorporate it into your existing skincare routine:
Contrary to popular belief, more sun damage occurs when we are walking, driving, or even sitting in a natural light-filled room (75% more to be exact). There are two types of rays to be considered—UVA and UVB. UVA rays can penetrate glass, so even when you are working or relaxing inside, if there is a window near you, it’s best to wear your sunscreen. Although both rays cause sun damage, they come with different outcomes. It’s easy to remember it this way: UVA rays mainly cause the Aging effects in the skin where UVB rays cause more sunBurns.
I’m sure many of you reading this right now just had a mini panic attack hearing this information—as did I! Additionally, each decade after age 18 adds 10% more sun damage to the skin. This is all the more reason to begin protecting the skin if you haven’t already. It’s never too late to start!
Did you know that the sun is the premier cause of visible and premature ageing of the skin? When we are exposed to the sun’s rays, our bodies’ defence against sun damage is to produce melanin, which causes our skin to darken. In reality, a tan means our body has had to protect itself against the sun, whereas a burn means our skin cells have already been damaged. Cannizzo explains this cell damage causes the elasticity in our skin to degrade causing wrinkles and sagging, in some cases 10 years earlier than expected.
I’m sure some of you have had the experience in your childhood where you go out, either on a school trip or recess, on a cloudy day so you don’t apply sunscreen (despite your mother’s instructions). Most of the time, this is when we’d end up with the worst burns. This is because the clouds block a lot of the heat that comes from the sun, causing us to withstand the weather much better and feel as if we are not burning. However, the clouds do not block the radiation from the rays that cause harsh effects on our skin. No matter the weather, SPF is a must for protection—listen to your mother!
Finally, sun protection is just as important, if not more important, in the winter as in the summer. The radiation from UVB rays can be intensified in the winter by the reflection of the rays off of concrete, snow, and even ice. These reflections can increase UVB rays’ negative effects even though the heat from the sun is not as prevalent.
For those of you who don’t like too many steps in your routine this is an option for you. Some moisturizers will be formulated to include an SPF between 15-35 which is as effective as a simple sunscreen. Despite the ease of this option, Cannizzo explains that sun protection in a moisturizer is taking up room in the cream that could be better devoted to more clinical ingredients.
By far, the most popular route is applying a separate sunscreen at the end of your routine. This is the most effective way to wear sun protection as it is available to be applied every two hours (rather than applying your expensive moisturizer multiple times a day). Plain and simple!
For all you makeup wearers, some foundations are available with SPF so you’re in luck! Just remember that it will be hard to re-apply to get full effectiveness so either limit your time exposed to the sun or let the skin breathe, go foundation free, and opt for the regular sunscreen.
As much as acne, dryness, and hyperpigmentation can be the root of our insecurity regarding our skin, it is just as important to protect the integrity of our skin as it is to treat our spots and blemishes. Since no SPF product will protect 100% of UVA and UVB rays, it is important to do our best to protect our skin. Cannizzo’s final advice was to find a sunscreen that works for your skin type and that you enjoy wearing. If you’re going to have to apply sunscreen every two hours (!) to be most effective, you want to make sure that it is one you can comfortably wear a generous coat of. Hopefully, you can take this information and educate your friends and family on the importance of sun protection, as education on SPF is key to preventing premature ageing, skin cancer, and additional skin damage.
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