Baz Luhrman famously said to the class of 99 “wear sunscreen”. He knew what he was talking about. If you haven’t heard his pearls of wisdom in the song titled “Sunscreen” go listen here. Trust me, it’s worth it.
I’m notorious amongst friends and family for my obsession with sunscreen. I’m always clucking about them whatever the weather “have you got your sunscreen on?” “what factor are you wearing?”. I’m not sure where or when it started but I do have an obsession with spreading the SPF word. So I thought to myself, what better place to preach about my quest to get everyone wearing sunscreen then right here with all my lovely readers.
SPF as you all know (or should know!) stands for Sun Protection Factor. As wonderful as the sunshine is, making us all feel just a little more jolly, filling our bones with Vitamin D, and giving us that golden sun kissed look we all covet, she is a cruel mistress. Make no mistake. That golden sun kissed look is wreaking havoc with your skin cells and your DNA at a cellular level if you are not using, ideally, a broad spectrum sunscreen.
Now I know the spring Equinox has only just tapped, ever so lightly on our door, but the message about sunscreen is still equally important. Did you know that more people are statistically affected by the damaging affects of the sun on cloudy days, then those on sunny days? This is because we either underestimate or simply don’t know that the suns ultraviolet rays (UV) still penetrates the cloud and remain a risk.
The science part
So here’s a little of the science; Ultraviolet rays are made up of UVA, longer rays which penetrate our skin more deeply and accelerate skin ageing, and UVB, shorter rays which cause burning.
On the whole we tend to be more aware of UVB as we experience the immediate effects of it if out in the sun too long. Our skin becomes red, tight and uncomfortable. In severe cases skin can even blister.
Most sun lotions with SPF will protect you against UVB. SPF is usually given a number for example SPF 15, 30 or 50. This number relates the the amount of time the product will protect you in the sun depending on how long your skin will usually tolerate sun exposure. This is a key factor. So, for example, I can usually tolerate sitting in full sun for around 15 minutes before my skin will start to feel uncomfortable. If I apply a SPF factor 15 to my skin, in theory I may be able to stay in the sun up to 15 times the usual amount my skin would normally tolerate – Approximately 3 and a half hours. BUT and this is a big but, most SPF is recommended to be reapplied at intervals no longer then every 2 hours.
Generally the higher the factor the longer your skin will tolerate being in the sun, but keeping in mind the 2 hour rule, you generally want to go for the highest factor possible to ensure your time in the sunshine is as safe as possible.
So how do I practice what I preach? Here’s a rundown of the products I will be using to keep my skin safe in the sun this year, whilst enjoying as much of the delicious sunshine as I safely can.
Ideally I would recommend trying to use skincare products with SPF in them to increase your protection. However bearing in mind the 2 hour rule, you have to remember that this will only afford you protection for limited period of time.
Currently my skincare regime doesn’t include a product containing SPF so I have to get around it. To do so I use this:
This is a gorgeous face sunscreen which I have raved about previously here. I apply this as my last step in my skin care routine and before I begin putting my makeup on. The great thing about this cream is that it can be reapplied over your makeup throughout the day and doesn’t have a dramatic effect on the finish of your makeup. Obviously this may be different if you wear very heavy or full coverage makeup, but I’m thinking ahead to the warmer months when we generally wear a little less full coverage and let our tans do the talking.
It smells absolutely gorgeous and evokes a feeling of summer. It is light, non-comedogenic and doesn’t cause my usually very easily irritated skin any problem.
But for those of you who do prefer full coverage, this little beaut will help. Garnier Moisture Bomb Protect. A super lightweight moisturising mist with SPF30. Perfect for rehydrating you skin on a hot day and enables you to reapply you protection every 2 hours! This may just be my new favourite thing.
For my hair I use Living Proof Restore Revitalising Spray. Hair also needs protection from the harmful UVA and UVB rays which cause ageing. Coloured hair fades more quickly and hair becomes brittle and dry on over exposure.
This product contains heat protection and a UVA screen.
It’s extremely light and doesn’t weigh my hair down or make it feel oily.
There’s a number of products on the market to protect your tresses. Make sure you add one in to your sun care routine.
Despite petitions on change.org I do still get my body out in the warmer months. I may well be carrying a bit too much timber on this frame, but it’s mine and so I have to go with it!
To prepare my skin for sun exposure I start using a product which helps stimulate melanin production. This means that your skin will tan easier and is less likely to burn. There are a few great products on the market but I particularly like the Gatineau Melatoginine Tan Accelerator cream. I use this for a good 2 weeks before going on holiday or in late spring. It is also fabulous as a tan extender.
My hero product has to be the Bali Body tanning oil in watermelon. I gushed about this product here last summer and it has lost no favour with me ever since.
The watermelon seed also stimulates melanin production and the silky oil makes your skin look and feel fabulous. The delicate watermelon scent is just delicious. The oil is now available with SPF in it so that is even better. You can prep and prime all in one. I’d still want to use and additional SPF though. Just saying.
Once my skin is prepped Im ready to protect it from the damaging UVA and UVB. My go to body product is Eucerin Sun spray in SPF 50. This one in particular gives me my deepest and most golden tan.I discovered it in Majorca last summer and it was just brilliant. Eucerin are asking care company led by dermatologist. They treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema so you know you are safe hands here.
So there it is. That is how I practice what I preach when it comes to protecting myself whilst enjoying the sunshine.
If nothing else I hope you take away the importance of protecting yourself and that lovely skin you’re in.
Enjoy the sun safely