A combination of hitting my (early-ish *cough*) 30s and wizening up to the harmful effects of the sun have made me think a lot more about how precious our skin is and, if I’m honest, I haven’t always given it the protection it needs.
So, with the help of Ultrasun I’ve been swotting up on the best ways to protect skin from the harmful effects of UV and they’ve filled me in on a few things some of us (me, mostly) haven’t been doing properly.
From choosing the right product for your skin type to applying it thoroughly – here’s how to protect yourself from the sun, completely.
Matching your SPF to your skin type
Choosing the right sun cream for your skin is about a lot more than what’s on offer at the supermarket. (Story of my teens, I’m ashamed to admit.)
When it comes to choosing SPF – a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect your skin against UVB rays, which cause burning and damage to the skin’s surface – you need to bear in mind not just the strength of the sun but how you skin type reacts to it.
Every skin type reacts differently to UVB and you might have several different skin types on your one body!
Personally, my skin tans fairly easily but is prone to burning in certain areas – particularly across the top of my forehead as my hair is always scraped back and the sun beats down on it.
As I’m often travelling in places with high UV levels (hello, Australia) I like to play it safe with the areas that are most exposed, such as my neck and face. I use SPF 50 on these bits on a daily basis to protect against burning, plus choose a product with the highest possible UVA filter to prevent skin-ageing. (More on that in a minute!)
I lower the SPF a little on my legs as they are rarely exposed and don’t tend to burn like my face does. I typically use an SPF 30 and love the Body Tan Activator from Ultrasun for giving my pasty pegs a little boost in the tanning department.
Protection from harmful UVA
So, you know how to choose the right SPF for your skin and protect yourself from UVB but have you considered UVA damage? (Don’t worry, I wasn’t clued up on this either.)
As mentioned above, UVB are the rays that cause skin damage and thus are more widely worried about but it’s equally, if not more important, that we protect our skin from UVA, as exposure to these rays cause skin ageing and cancers.
I was astonished to learn that UVA is present year-round and can penetrate the skin even through glass. This was a big wake-up call for me and, particularly as I live in Australia, I’ve decided to make sure I am wearing a product with a high UVA filter (ideally 90% and above) Every Single Day.
Ultrasun handily display the UVA absorbance on the front of their products and the Tinted Face Sun Protection I gushed about above has a UVA absorbance of 95%.
How to apply sun screen properly
The final part of complete sun protection is down to the application. A survey by the British Association of Dermatologists in 2016 identified that 8 out of 10 people are failing to adequately apply sunscreen, and as such are compromising the quality of their protection.
I definitely used to be one of these people but I’ve learned a few nifty tricks to make sure I’m not missing any bits.
I hope these tips have been helpful – they’ve certainly made a big difference to how I think about sunscreen. Find more sun protection tips and personal stories via the #MySkinIs hashtag.
This post was written in conjunction with Ultrasun who provided all the advice I needed to hear.
Check out Ultrasun’s Special Value deal on QVC here.