The weather is warm and lovely: at last, it’s vacation time! Let’s forget our work routine and enjoy sunny days with the children. However, there is one routine that we should not neglect: skin protection. Often, we ensure that our children’s skin is protected but we forget to protect our own.
This is an automatic gesture when we think of our little ones, yet when it comes to ourselves, we too often forget to protect our own skin.
Sunlight offers many benefits such as improved mood and morale, and it even allows vitamin D synthesis for our bones. Prolonged sun exposure isn’t necessary to get these benefits – only a few minutes suffice. Despite the many benefits it offers, sun exposure is responsible for premature skin aging, sunburns and certain types of cancer. This is why sun protection should not be neglected.
Here are the essential facts that you should know.
What do UVA and UVB rays do exactly?
UVA rays are responsible for instantaneous and temporary tans. The tan begins to fade a few hours or a few days following sun exposure. One must know that UVA rays are just as harmful, if not more, than other types of rays. They are responsible for premature aging as well as pigmentation disorders, and they also contribute to the development of skin cancer. Contrarily to UVB rays, UVA rays can pass through glass, which means that we risk being exposed to them throughout the day.
As for UVB rays, they are responsible for sunburns and tans that appear later on but last for a few weeks. They are very active between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM.
Overexposure to the sun can lead to three types of skin lesions: sunburns, premature skin aging and skin cancer.
Sunburn is a skin inflammation caused by an increase in blood flow. The skin reddens and becomes painful 12 to 24 hours after having been exposed.
Because there exists different skin types, reactions to sun exposure may vary from one person to the next. Someone with a pale complexion who spends all afternoon under the sun will probably suffer the consequences of overexposure, whereas someone with a darker complexion will only get a light tan.
Sun protection factor (SPF)
The SPF indicates the capacity to deflect the sun’s rays. It represents the time during which one can expose oneself before getting sunburnt.
The calculation of this indicator is universal, which means that, no matter the brand, all SPF 15 protections are equivalent.
SPF doesn’t only offer protection against UVBs, since it can also prevent sunburns. However, we must not forget UVA rays, and it is therefore important to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Choosing the SPF
The higher the SPF, the more UVB rays are blocked. Yet it would be a mistake to believe that an SPF 30 blocks twice as much rays as an SPF 15.
Here is the difference between these protection factors:
- SPF 15 blocks about 93% of UVBs
- SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVBs
- SPF 60 blocks about 98% of UVBs
- SPF 70 blocks about 98,2% of UVBs
In order to find a protection that is adapted your needs, you must consider your skin type and your skin’s reaction to the sun. This way, you can choose the SPF that truly suits you.
Warning: We tend to choose sunscreens with a high SPF, yet this may generate a false sense of security, since we are inclined to think that we can apply those less frequently than sunscreens with a lower SPF.
The rule of thumb is to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before exposure and to reapply it every two hours; otherwise it loses its protective effect.
Furthermore, swimming, sweating and friction of clothing on the skin should be considered, since these factors considerably reduce the duration of the protection offered by your sunscreen. Be also aware that even if your sunscreen is waterproof, it is better to reapply some after swimming.
Sunrays do not only consist of UVA and UVB rays. They also include UVC rays, which have a very high carcinogenic potential. Thankfully for us, most UVC rays are filtered out by the ozone layer, and the skin’s epidermis blocks the remaining ones.
Those who do not wish to abstain from sun exposure should seek to protect themselves from its harmful effects, such as pigment spots. Here is the routine to follow and the products to have at hand to ensure your skin is impeccable:
- Esthederm’s photo regulator for skin with pigment spots: Offers an external protection and prevents sun-induced skin ageing and pigment spots.
- Esthederm’s UV inCellium spray and cellular self-defence: Patented technology for cell protection against UV aggressions. Protects the skin from the inside, on a DNA level.
Warning: This is not a sunscreen! It should be used underneath your usual sunscreen and should be applied at least 20 minutes before sun exposure in order to have the time to dry properly. To reinforce self-defence against the sun, it should be reapplied in the evening after washing the skin.
Small tip: To get the most benefits from this product, prepare your skin 15 days before planned sun exposures.
- Obagi’s SPF 50 broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion: Offers a high-level protection against UVA and UVB rays, with an ultra matte formula that completely blends with the skin.
Now come on and get outside! Keep on fully enjoying these warm summer days without having to worry about the sun!