When talking about sun exposure we always hear about two types of ultra-violet rays – UVA & UVB. We all know how strong the Australian sun is but what we are finding many clients don’t know is that when the sun rises in the morning our UVA rays – those responsible for premature ageing – are just as strong and remain the same intensity all the way until the sun goes down. This means that UVA rays can be damaging your skin as early as 6am in the morning! So, who thought they needn’t wear sunscreen for that morning jog?
UVA rays are our “invisible killer”. These rays are able to penetrate dermal layers of the skin and are also responsible for the release of special enzymes that accelerate premature breakdown of our important collagen and elastin fibres spoken about in our Ageing article. And let’s not forget about pigmentation!
UV exposure can be a major trigger of pigmentation. When UV radiation hits our skin it triggers a process called melanogenesis which is responsible for the creation and distribution of melanin. UV rays can contribute to the damage of melanocytes (the cells that create melanin) which can result in darkened patches of skin on the skins surface – Hello there, age spots & freckles! This is why we really need to protect our skin at all hours of the day with a good quality SPF30-50 to keep our skin looking clear and youthful.
There are two different types of sunscreens available – Physical and chemical. It is important when looking at sunscreen that we use a good quality physical SPF which works as a reflective block on the skins surface. Chemical sunscreens whilst still protecting against UV rays work by absorbing into the skins epidermal layers and neutralising UV radiation. This can lead to possible cell trauma and can increase free radical attack resulting in eventual cell death. This is bad news for our important skin cells!
The best way to check if your sunscreen is a physical sunscreen is by looking for the ingredients zinc and titanium in your SPF as these are the two main physical sun protecting ingredients. Don’t forget to check your makeup too – Even though many makeups and moisturisers claim to have an SPF factor you will often find they aren’t a broad spectrum SPF (protecting against both UVA & UVB) and often they are only an SPF 15 which is just not enough in todays climate.
At Sheer Elegance we have a variety of SPFs to choose from and one of our experienced therapists can point you in the right direction of an SPF to suit your skin next time you visit us.