The Importance of SPF

As we are getting nicer and nicer weather in the UK, we are all tempted to go into our gardens more and have a little sunbathe, or go for a stroll around the park with our loved ones. Whilst the sun beating down on you feels great at the time, the next day when your skin is a little dry, red and irritated because of overexposure to the UVA and UVB rays, this is when we can regret our decisions to not wear SPF.

When I was a child, I remember my Mom slathering me in it, from head to toe, but only when we went on holiday to very hot countries. Now, as a Skin Therapist and adult, I know that SPF needs to be worn all year round, even in the winter, and not just when we’re on our holidays.

UVA rays can penetrate your skin more deeply and cause your skin cells to age prematurely (it is the number 1 cause of premature ageing). About 95 percent of the UV rays that reach the ground are UVA rays. The other 5 percent of UV rays are UVB. They have higher energy levels than UVA rays, and typically damage the outermost layers of your skin, causing sunburn. So it is very important we protect ourselves from them.

From a Therapist perspective, when I perform my treatments (especially exfoliating ones such as Microdermabrasion and Chemical Peels) I always apply SPF afterwards. I then tell my client (again, especially for those heavily exfoliating treatments) that SPF will need to be worn every day. I generally say you can wear a SPF30 in the late Autumn and Winter months, and then take it up to a SPF50 for the late Spring and Summer months, and especially if you’re going away on holiday, wear a hat also.

Nowadays, there are SPF’s designed specifically for the face everywhere on the skincare market. I, personally, am one of those people who have oily/combination skin, and can suffer with a little bit of acne and I do not like the feel of anything heavy sitting on top of my skin. I was scared that wearing SPF would make my skin feel this way, or it would break me out into loads of spots. I have to admit, in the past, when I have not done my research, some have done exactly this. Looking back, they were not suitable for my skin type, and one was even for the body (I have to add I did this as a teenager!)

If you are willing to look around and do your research, or go to a Skin Therapist who can assess your skin and suggest the best product for you, then SPF does not have to be a chore of a product to use, but it can be lovely as putting on your favourite Moisturiser.

So, how to use it?

In the morning, once you have done your whole skincare routine, you will apply it then. Let it sink in and dry a little before applying make-up. When you come to remove of an evening, make sure you double cleanse. SPF is designed to stick to your face like glue to protect it, so a double cleanse is needed to remove all of it. I would suggest the REN Perfect Canvas Cleanser, I use this every day personally and swear by it to remove all of my SPF. Obviously you do not need to reapply at night as you are going to bed and sleeping, so will not be exposed to any of those UVA and UVB rays.

It comes in different forms also. It can be already incorporated into skincare (usually Moisturisers) or it can be a stand-alone product, such as the Decleor Aloe Vera Sun Face Cream SPF50. You will find these feel more like a “traditional” sunscreen, but a little more potent and protective than ones diluted into Moisturisers.

So whichever way you decide to go with your SPF, make sure to protect your skin and wear it every day.

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