IT'S ALL ABOUT SUNSCREEN
Sunscreen is to skincare is what salt is to cooking- without it your skincare regimen will always be lacking something. that’s because the sun is responsible for a lengthy list of top skin concerns—it causes 90% of wrinkles, triggers hyperpigmentation and, without it, melanoma would be a very rare disease.
ALWAYS USE A SUNSCREEN
Even though many of us are spending time indoors, or in direct sunlight for short periods of time, it’s important to remember that sunscreen is a year-round, nonnegotiable necessity. Science shows wearing sunscreen every day is the single most important thing you can do to keep your skin healthy and youthful long-term. And not only does SPF help prevent signs of aging, it also protects you from sunburn, hyperpigmentation, melasma and non-melanoma cancers.
THE DAMAGE IS DONE
Safe sunning requires a basic understanding of ultraviolet radiation. There are two kinds of rays that penetrate the Earth’s ozone layer: UVA and UVB. UVB causes superficial damage, such as sunburn, and is responsible for non-melanoma cancers. It also plays a pivotal role in the production of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate and strengthens bones (there is growing evidence to suggest that vitamin D3 can also help prevent chronic diseases and fight infection by regulating the genes that control the immune system)
UVA is an insidious beast. It penetrates deep into the skin where it encourages cells called melanocytes to start producing a brown pigment known as melanin. Even though we tend to regard this effect as a “healthy” tan, melanin is the body’s defense mechanism against burning, a way to prevent UV rays from penetrating deeper into the skin and wreaking havoc with DNA. As an added bonus, UVA rips into collagen and elastin supplies, ageing you faster.
Just because you haven’t burned (UVB), it doesn’t mean you’ve escaped the invisible wrath of UVA. It is for this reason that you need to invest a broad-spectrum sunscreen that covers both kinds of UV radiation.
SPF AND BROAD SPECTRUM
What do those SPF numbers really mean? SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. As a general rule, the SPF figure is intended to help the wearer determine how long they can stay in the sun before they need to reapply. It doesn’t have much to do with the strength of the product per se. To work out how long your sunscreen will last, simply multiply the amount of time in minutes that it takes you to burn (without any protection) by the SPF on the bottle. For example, if you generally burn after 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure, a product with an SPF rating of 30 will allow you to stay in the sun for five hours without burning (10 minutes X 30).
Contrary to popular belief, SPF 30 is not twice as protective as SPF 15. Here’s a breakdown of UVB protection as it relates to SPF number:
- SPF 15 = blocks 93% of UVB rays
- SPF 30 = blocks 97% of UVB rays
- SPF 50 = blocks 98% of UVB rays
As you notice we only mentioned UVB rays. The SPF number on sunscreen has nothing to do with UVA. For that, you need to make sure that your sunscreen formulation is Broad Spectrum. This term means the formula protects against both UVA and UVB rays to shield skin from a host of issues including sunburn, cellular damage, and elastin and collagen production. Look for the words “Broad Spectrum” on the front label for your sunscreen to make sure you are protected properly.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SUNSCREENS
There are 2 types of sunscreens:
- Mineral Sunscreens (physical):
Mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin’s surface, acting as a physical blocker by deflecting and scattering UV rays away from the skin like tiny mirrors. Because they block UV rays at the surface level, mineral sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Chemical Sunscreens (organic):
Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into your skin and sit in the deeper layers. They absorb UV rays and change them into heat, then release the heat from the skin. Since UV rays must penetrate the skin to reach these chemicals,
Depending on the type of sunscreen filter used (mineral or chemical) there are pro's and con's for use of both types of sunscreen filters. We at The Grey have chosen for a next generation chemical / organic UV filter dispersion, ensuring high performance of prolonged and consistent SPF value while using less filters. This creates an ease of use, non-irritant (even to chemical sunscreen sensitive people) and not absorbed into the skin, safer on the skin, ultra light formula that allows the skin to breathe freely and will forms a thin layer of water resistant protective shield upon skin.
It is a big misconception that black and brown skin doesn’t need sunscreen, thinking that it is only suitable for Caucasian skin tones. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The sun does also affect dark skin negatively. it’s true that because of melanin - the pigment which gives black skin its color, darker skin tones have an inbuilt protective cloak that absorbs most of the destructive sun rays that can lead to diseases like skin cancer. Research shows that on average black skin has a natural SPF 13.4 which is a head start!
However, this is far from enough to afford full and complete protection from UV radiation, especially from UVA rays which age the skin and exacerbate common black skin complaints such as hyperpigmentation and melasma. Likewise, to a lesser extent UVB rays burn the skin and also affect darker skin tones by fueling malignant DNA and cellular damage. Whilst the statistics are lower for the black community, it is still possible for black skin to develop both sun related and non-sun related skin cancers.
Protecting from damaging light — UV rays from the sun being number one — should always be a top priority. However, our new normal of endless Zoom calls and show streaming now also requires consideration of blue light, also known as High Energy Visible Light (HEV) It's present in visible sunlight and in illumination from our screens. It's just a little bit shorter in wavelength than ultraviolet light (UV) and we're all just used to blue light because we see it all the time. Its sheer familiarity makes it seem harmless."
Blue light is not known to cause skin cancer, but there is science to indicate that it potentially contributes to skin aging. "It does this by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the skin. These ROS, or free radicals, in turn, cause oxidative damage within the skin.
The antidote is antioxidants, which protect the skin by "quenching" or neutralizing these ROS before they can do their damage. In contrast, and for some context, UV light from the sun harms skin both through the generation of free radicals and by directly damaging the skin's DNA,
Protecting skin against blue light doesn’t require that major of a skin-care shakeup just look for a sunscreen with Blue Light protecting properties.
HOW TO USE
A good facial SPF product incorporates the sort of things you would expect from your moisturizer, including ingredients with anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties. Daily Face Protect SPF 50 contains peptides, grape stem cells and hyaluronic acid to nourish and restore your skin while the filters protect you. But you need to know how to apply a sunscreen correctly otherwise the is no use.
- Wear on a daily base: Make the sunscreen part of your everyday routine. The sun is always present, even on the rainiest days.
- Apply properly: Apply a solid layer of a sunscreen for optimal coverage the amount of 1 tsp is required. Apply before sun exposure to dry skin.
- Reapply: Every sunscreen wears off, so reapply at least every two hours. This is particularly true when sweating or swimming and with direct sun exposure.
- Don’t skip it: Any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen for protecting your skin from harmful UV rays.
Words by our friends at the Grey.