Updated: Jan 2

It's no secret that sun exposure can cause melanoma and tumors, but what other effect is it having on the overall health and appearance of your skin?

Sun damage is the number 1 biggest cause of premature skin ageing so it's important to ensure you're protecting your skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen when outdoors. This damage can take years to show up on your skin in the form of sun spots, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. As the saying goes, "nothing looks better in your 60's than sunscreen in your 20's".

Perhaps you are using an array of anti-ageing skincare products and you get facial treatments on a regular basis which is always a great idea, however if you're not also protecting your skin from sun damage you're effectively throwing money down the drain as you are not dealing with the cause of the damage. Prevention is always better (and more cost effective) than a cure.

There are some great sunscreens on the market these days so shop around and find one that you like! For oily skin types, try a non-greasy sunscreen that absorbs quickly and feels nice and light on the skin.

UVA vs UVB Rays

A simple way of remembering the difference between UVA and UVB is as follows:

A = ageing

B = burning

The sun's UVB rays are at their strongest during the summer months and during the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest point, however the UVA rays are the same intensity year round, even when it is cloudy or overcast.

What this means is that even if you're not burning, if you are outdoors without sun protection you are still being exposed to harmful AVA rays.

Further to this, the sun's UVA rays do not discriminate based on skin colour - weather you are very pale and burn easily or you are very dark and never burn, you are subject to skin damage caused by sun exposure.

For this reason it is important to make sure when you are purchasing a sunscreen that the packaging says "broad spectrum", meaning that it offers protection from both UVA rays UVB rays rather than just UVB.

My moisturiser contains SPF - is that enough?

No. In order to get the level of sun protection that your moisturiser (or foundation or other product containing SPF) claims to have, you would need to apply approximately 1 full tablespoon of product to the face, neck and décolletage. Not only would that be a huge waste of product and cost you a lot of money, you would not be able to rub that much moisturiser - or makeup - into your skin. So while your foundation or moisturiser may claim to have SPF30, you are simply not going to be using enough of the product to get that level of sun protection and should be using a sunscreen as well.

How to properly protect your skin

For best results, apply your sunscreen AFTER your moisturiser and BEFORE your makeup, leaving enough time for it to absorb properly so that your makeup does not separate on your skin when it is applied and be sure to reapply every few hours if you plan on being outdoors for an extended period of time. To reapply over your makeup, try using a powder or setting spray with SPF.

Need help getting your skincare routine on track?

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