Beauty News

Sunscreen: a guide

I'm old enough to remember the days when we slathered ourselves in oil and lay on the beach all day to bake - and I have the sun damage to prove it! We've all heard the sunscreen message countless times

I’m old enough to remember the days when we slathered ourselves in oil and lay on the beach all day to bake – and I have the sun damage to prove it!

We’ve all heard the sunscreen message countless times by now, but there’s still stuff you might not know about protecting your skin’s health and its appearance.

Need to know

The SPF system is slightly crazy and confusing. You would think an SPF30 would protect for twice as long as an SPF15, right? But no, you actually only get four percent more protection, according to dermatologist Katherine Armour.

And the rating system is purely for the burning UVB rays, not the skin-ageing UVA. It’s still worth going for a high factor, but don’t overestimate the amount of protection it will provide.

Windows don’t protect you from UVA, so if you sit at a desk right next to one or spend a lot of time in the car, then you need to cover up and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen on exposed skin. UVA creates long-term damage and is present even on cloudy, grey days.

We’re all useless at applying sunscreen, apparently. The problem is we don’t put enough on. Ideally we need a golf ball-sized amount for the body each time we apply and two pea-sized blobs for the face.

Put it on half an hour before sun exposure and then reapply every two hours if you’re still out.

Layering is worth it because while it won’t increase your overall SPF, it does mean you’re more likely to achieve a good coverage. So use moisturiser and foundation with added SPF.

The high-risk days are the bright ones with white clouds and if you’re on the beach or the ski slopes the reflection created makes them even more damaging. Plus, the higher the altitude, the higher risk of burning.

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