Monday, 30 May 2016

The Importance of SPF & an SPF for your every need

Whilst I'm still no SPF expert, over the last year I've learnt a lot! I have to be honest and say that two years ago I was really quite naive, exposing my skin to so much damage. I was recently away on holiday in the UK, the temperature was 25 degrees and still nobody was covering their skin. I actually ended up in a heated debate with my sister, who told me she'd burn, then it would peel for a tan and no damage was done. It's funny how still in 2016, there are so many myths there are when it comes to sunscreen. So in today's blog post I'm sharing some answers to the most frequent SPF FAQ's and suggesting some of the best products on the market. SPF has come a long way, they are no longer greasy horrible creams and really there's no excuse not to wear it!

What is SPF?
SPF stands for 'sun protection factor' and is a measure of how effective a product is at protecting you from the sun. The rating of SPF can go from as little as 2 and go as high as 70 and it's important you wear the right level of protection. SPF is a calculation of how much time you can be in the sun before you burn. For example, if you burn after being in the sun for 5 minutes, SPF15 will give you 15 times the time before you burn; 75 minutes. The higher the SPF the higher the protection, personally I need to slather myself with factor 50. 

Why is SPF so important?
Wearing SPF is important all year round, the sad thing is that most people only take notice when they are going on holiday. What we're trying to do is stop the ultraviolet rays UVA and UVB from damaging our skin. UBV is the ray that is responsible for sunburn, whilst UBA is the ray that causes long-term damage. Long-term damage can include aging and skin cancer, which happens to be the second most common type of cancer for women in their twenties. UVA and UVB rays are present all year round and they are just as harmful in the winter as they are in the summer. You don't just have to be outside to get damaged skin, UV rays can come through windows and even through light clothing, so it pays to be protected. It's important to reapply your SPF every 2-4 hours to maintain full protection from the sun.

Will I still get a tan?
Absolutely! SPF is designed to stop your skin from burning and to stop the harmful rays penetrating your skin. No part of SPF formulation is designed to stop you getting a tan. If you're particularly worried you can buy suncreams that aim to help the natural tanning process. Nivea have a range called "Protect & Bronze" which does exactly that - it contains plant extract to encourage your own melanin production. If you've tried an SPF and you still don't get a tan, please don't stop putting it on! It's better to fake your tan than take the risk!

I have sensitive skin, SPF always gives me spots?!
Surprisingly, a lot of people do not realise that there are specific SPFs for your face and body. Obviously it's important to use the right formula in the right place, but sensitive skin is completely and utterly catered for in the SPF market. La Roche-Posay in particular are experts at creating SPF's for every type of skin - sensitive skin included. They have the 'Comfort' range for dry skin, the 'Ultra-Light' range for normal/combination skin and the 'Anti-Shine' range for oily skin. It's worth shopping around and finding the perfect SPF for you. 

When my skin is feeling dry one of my favourite products is La Roche-Posay's Cicaplast Baume B5*, which is actually a soothing balm with a high UVA/UVB SPF50. It's designed to protect, defend and hydrate skin, with a lovely lightweight texture that fixes irritations with an innovative anti-itch formula. When my skin is more oily, or when I don't need a strong SPF I like to use the Day Solution Cream SPF15 from Green People*. 

I don't want to cover myself in a horrible greasy cream?!
The good news is that you don't have to! SPF has come a long way and you can now pick up a whole range of formulas, in fact t
wo of my favourite SPFs are not creams at all! the Garnier Ambre Solaire Dry Mist, which is an ultra-light mist which is completely dry to the touch. Another is the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Comfort Oil; an oil formula which is lightweight and nourishing for all skincare types. You really don't have to wear a cream if it's not a texture you like. 

I want to wear makeup on holiday - surely SPF and makeup don't mix? 
Actually they do! The key here is to find an SPF that is made for your face - you should do this anyway as the skin on your face is different to your body. Many SPF's are made to wear under makeup, just give them ample time to soak in. You can also purchase lots of makeup products that have SPF built in, I have lots of favourites in this category! First of all we have the ILIA Radiant Beauty Balm*, an
 instant cream which offers a brighter and more radiant complexion. It's packed with subtle gold pearl pigments, which diffuse light and give you fresh, youthful appearance. Inside the balm there is a high-grade, non-SPF 20 sunscreen, which offers natural UVA and UVB protection. For something more heavy duty there is the SPF 50+ CC Creme from Eucerin*, which uses a fast-absorbing colour pigment that blends to a natural matte-looking finish, whilst shielding skin from harmful sun rays. La Roche-Posay also have the beautiful Anthelios XL Tinted BB Comfort Cream SPF50+.

Does my hair need protecting too? 
Absolutely! Many of us have experienced our hair getting lighter after a summer holiday, but the damage does not end there! Right now I'm obsessed with Ritual's Sun Protection Hair Spray*, which is a sun-protective hairspray with a fresh summer scent. It's made using Vitamin E, Ginkgo Biloba, and White Tea, which all help protect the hair against the harmful effects of UV radiation. You spritz this in your hair before and after sun exposure, to achieve long-lasting shine and protection from hair discolouration! 

So there you have it, there is really no excuse for skipping your SPF! Please don't do it, it's really not worth the risk! 
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