With the summer fast approaching it is the time when we are all guilty of rushing out into the sun to achieve the desired golden hue. However if you are not using an SPF you can be causing much damage to the skin, the effects can cause premature ageing, wrinkles, age spots, pigmentation, loss of firmness and skin cancer. Keeping this in mind there are so many products on the market to help us protect our skin and even treat some of the causes from sun damage.
Q: What are UVA & UVB rays? A: UVB rays are the rays that cause the skin to tan and also responsible for sunburn. UVB rays tend to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributing role in photo ageing. UVA light penetrates deeper into the skin causing premature ageing which includes wrinkles, age spots, pigmentation along with the loss of skin’s elasticity. Only until recently scientific studies have shown that UVA damages skin cells called keratinocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis, where most skin cancers occur.
Q: What does SPF really mean and how does it work? A: The SPF rating system was developed back in 1962 by Franz Greiter to measure the capacity of a sunscreen to block UVB radiation. The current SPF rating system applies to UVB rays only, since those are the rays that cause sunburn. UVA rays are not felt as they do not cause sunburn however we are now aware the dangers of UVA. At the present time there is no approved Sun Protection Factor rating system that measures UVA rays. The FDA and other scientists are currently working on this. The Sun-protection factor system measures the length of time a sunscreen will protect your skin from reddening / burning from UVB rays, compared to how long your skin would take to redden/ burn without sunscreen protection.
Q: What SPF Factor should I select? A: SPF factors on products can range from as low as 2 to as high as 100. These numbers refer to the product’s ability to screen or block out the sun’s burning rays. It is a common mistake to assume that the duration of effectiveness of a sunscreen can be calculated simply by multiplying the SPF by the length of time it takes to suffer a burn without sunscreen, because the amount of sun exposure a person receives is dependent upon more than just the length of time spent in the sun. (Factors such as the length of exposure, time of day, geographic location, genetic makeup and weather conditions all need to be considered). The Skin Cancer Foundation considers SPFs of 15 or higher acceptable UVB protection for normal everyday activity, and SPFs of 30 or higher for extended or intense outdoor exposures.
Q: Does SPF 30 gives twice as much sun protection as an SPF 15 and an SPF 50 more than three times that much. What really is the difference? A: In vitro tests have shown that SPF 15 sunscreens filter out 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 protects against 97% and SPF 50 98%. But remember, it is important for the sunscreen to include broad-spectrum protection that also shields adequately against UVA.
Q: Do moisturizers, tinted foundation, lipsticks and other cosmetics containing an SPF 15 sunscreen provides as much protection as sunscreen used alone? A: Cosmetics with SPF neither increase nor decrease the photoprotective value of the sunscreen. So if you have a SPF15 in your foundation and apply a SPF30 moinsturiser this does not provide you with a SPF of 40! However they have the great advantage as most women apply them every day. Some products for men also combine moisturizer and sunscreen. It’s important, however, to use a separate sunscreen or reapply the cosmetics every two hours when outside. For the best results, if you are using a moisturizer with an SPF along with a separate sunscreen, the moisturizer should go on first, then sunscreen, then the makeup. Perricone MD has created a No Foundation Foundation with a broad spectrum with a non-chemical SPF30 along with this a matching No Concealer Concealer with a SPF 35. I personally use these products daily as it provides a sheer coverage and helps to correct skin undertones. It is essential not to forget your lips as they too can be prone to UV damage; Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour® Cream Lip Protectant Stick SPF 15 is my go to product of choice for everyday application.
Q: What is the most effective way to apply SPF? A: Keeping in mind UV rays penetrates our clothing so it is essential to apply your SPF of choice ALL over your body. Always apply 20 minutes prior to sun exposure, use at least 2 ounces of product and reapply from 20 mins to every 2 hours (read suggested re-application on your product of choice) Please note there are many options of amazing SPF’s which are water resistant which are best to use if you are sweating or decide to dip into the water.
Q: Is there a difference between “waterproof” and “water-resistant?” A: The durability of your sunscreen to stay on the skin after swimming, bathing or perspiring is just as important as the SPF level. The FDA considers a product “water-resistant” if it maintains its SPF level after 40 minutes of water exposure. A product is considered “waterproof” if it maintains its SPF level following 80 minutes of exposure to water. For any outdoor activity days or beach holidays it is essential to select the right formulation for yourself and family. A great suggestion for a water resistant product is Supergoop! this contains a SPF30 and provides UVA & UVB protection it has been designed for sensitive skin and is free of parabens and fragrances. Vichy’s Capital Soleil Gentle Milk for children SPF 50+ states it’s very water resistant however it falls under the ‘water proof’ category due to its ultra high performance and ability to adhere to the skin’s surface. This ultra soothing formulation has been designed for very sensitive and intolerant skin of children; the formula is enriched with soothing, regenerating, fortifying and anti-oxidant. It is free of parabens, colorants, fragrances and importantly it is 100% hypoallergenic.
Top 3 SPF’s designed for the face: SPF’s can be used all over the body however when there is a vast selection on the market we have the choice of many SPF’s specifically designed for the usage on the face. With a range of ingredients and varying SPF’s I have chosen my top 3.
Thalgo Age Defence Sunscreen SPF50 – is a light lotion from the leaders in marine beauty with a non-whitening formulation this product will aid to preserve skins youthfulness whilst providing very high protection for intense sun conditions.
Ultrasun high 30SPF face – this anti-ageing formula provides a UVA of 98% Australian Standard and UVB SPF30) with just one application. It is packed with many ingredients to help fight the signs of ageing Ectoin is a natural substance proven to prevent UVA-induced premature photo ageing and Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), an enzyme that effectively neutralises skin damaging free radical activity stimulated by exposure to the sun. Boron Nitride helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and the nourishing properties.
Fade out white protecting day cream SPF15 – This product provides three components to protect, care and brighten your skin with this multi-talented Day Cream. Specially formulated with SPF 15, skin is protected from both the ageing and darkening effects of pigmentation caused from the sun. In 4 weeks results can be seen; pigmentation will be significantly lighter and overall skin tone will be brighter.
Top 3 SPF’s designed for the body: With ingredients to help tighten the skin and give a glistening glow I have trialed and tested my top 3 SPF formulas and textures.
To obtain a velvety smooth hydrated finish reach for Vichy’s Capital Soleil Anti-shine Dry Touch SPF50 . This is a ground breaking texture ideal for oily and combination skins, leaving skin dry and matte while offering high protection. Vichy’s inspiration for this product was that it is the most desired and loved texture by Brazilian women. It provides a truly unique dry touch feel on the skin with a velvety matte finish. Excess sebum is absorbed for a perfect dry finish and the emulsion dries incredibly fast, disappearing the moment it is applied. It leaves no oiliness, damp feel or streaks on skin. For anyone who out in the sun and does not have someone to help to apply SPF to the those hard to reach places then here is the solution: ultrasun high 30SPF sports spray. This was originally a sports formula as it is non greasy, transparent and versatile. This spray can be applied with one hand and can even be used upside-down! This is a great quick drying invisible layer of protection for anyone on the go. My last choice is also the top kept secret of ‘The Body’ herself; Super Model Elle Macpherson. Elle uses and supports the brand Invisible Zinc® this brand’s only active ingredient is Zinc Oxide – a mineral reflector found in nature to create a physical, reflective veil on the surface of your skin. Using micro-fine Zinc Oxide which is invisible to the naked eye it still provides an outstanding broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. If Elle Macpherson uses Invisible Zinc®’s Face & Body SPF 30+ then I think it’ safe to say start slathering it on ladies…
Finally, if the damage is already done, here are my suggestions for helping to relieve the signs of sun damage:
With sun exposure comes many problems, pigmentation (sun spots), loss of elasticity in the skin and premature ageing. Pigmentation occurs from exposure to UV rays. When the sun hits the skin, it stimulates melanocytes to produce more melanin to absorb the ultraviolet rays, thus helping to protect skin from overexposure. As the level of melanin increases, skin begins to darken or tan. But when melanocytes overdo it and trigger too much melanin, the result is hyperpigmentation. To correct this problem La Roche Posay introduced Biomedic Pigment Control. This concentrated conditioning serum provides advanced correction of darks sun spots within 4 weeks. This product combines three powerful ingredients Kojic Acid, Glycolic Acid and LHA. With clinical studies to back this powerful and effective yet gentle product simply apply once daily in the evening. Loss of elasticity is caused from the structural damage caused from the UV Rays penetrating the epidermis and the dermis.
To help lift, tighten, define and provide a contoured appearance Dr. Perricone developed the High Potency Amine Complex Face Lift. This is a dermatological-grade face treatment that contains a power combination of DMAE & Vitamin C Ester to restore loss of elasticity and to help brighten the skin’s appearance.
Signs of premature ageing can range from fine lines, a dulled complexion, uneven skin tone and dehydrated skin. Elizabeth Arden’s PREVAGE® Face Advanced Anti-aging Serum provides a revolutionary advanced Idebenone technology, the most powerful antioxidant available today, with an EPF® rating of 95. This product is engineered to help create a reserve within the skin to release protective and corrective benefits when and where it’s needed most. It is clinically proven to diminish the appearance of lines, wrinkles, minor scars, redness, age spots and sun damage so skin looks younger than ever. Most important existing sun damage appears minimized.
Dunja Ghag is London’s Specialist Permanent Makeup Artist & Anti Ageing Specialist. She is based at Lund Osler in Knightsbridge, London. For appointments please contact Lund Osler’s Reception Team: +44 (0) 207 245 6979