Do you know that applying Vitamin C can be just as important as SPF? Or that the latest in an already long list of damaging elements is HEV light? No, neither did we. As high summer comes in to full-swing, now is the time to rethink your current SPF routine and make sure that you’re ticking all the right boxes. Skincare expert Rebecca Treston breaks down six simple but essential steps for a sun care safety check.
By Rebecca Treston, skincare expert at Dubai London Clinic
The Power Of Vitamin C
In addition to SPF, it is very important to use Vitamin C in your SPF routine to ensure that you have complete protection from UV damage (preferably before applying SPF). This beneficial ingredient plays an important role in preventing photo-aging. Sun damage is an oxidative process: UV rays cause the release of damaging free radicals, which leads to premature signs of aging, but Vitamin C neutralizes them and helps shield your skin from this damage. In essence, when Vitamin C is paired with a broad-spectrum sunscreen, the skin receives multifaceted protection. My favourite is Phyto-C E in C serum, coupled with Heliocare 360.
You Are What You Eat
Foods can also help protect against sun damage. Antioxidant rich foods such as berries, black grapes, peppers, tomatoes can help to pump up your skin’s natural sun protection. Foods with red and purple pigments can help mop up the free radicals caused in the skin when its exposed to sunlight. You still need your UV protection but by incorporating these foods into your diet, you will help guard against the tiny bits of damage that can get through sunscreen.
Be Aware Of High Energy Visible Light
Your choice of sunscreen is important. First of all, if you use technology, be aware that it emits HEV (High Energy Visible) light, which is as damaging (if not more so) than UV light as it penetrates more deeply. It has a negative impact on the DNA within the cells, accelerating skin aging. While traditional sunscreens protect against UVA and UVB rays, choose a sunscreen for your SPF routine that also protects against HEV light, if you and your smartphone cannot be parted. (And don’t forget that due to their reflective screens, it has been proven that smartphones increase UV exposure by up to 35%).
Apply your sunscreen in advance
Physical sunscreens act as a shield and contain either titanium oxide or zinc oxide, both of which reflect UV radiation; while chemical sunscreens absorb the radiation and convert it back out as infrared. In both cases, however, they should be applied 20 minutes before going outside to allow it to bond with the skin.
Don’t do the math…
It’s logical that SPF 50 should mean almost twice the protection of SPF 30, right? Think again. An SPF 6 filters out 75 per cent of the sun’s rays but then it takes a jump as SPF 15 filters out 93 per cent. Above that the difference is fractional, with SPF 30 filtering out 97 per cent of the sun’s rays and SPF 50 filtering out 98 per cent. The key to a successful relationship with sunscreen is not the higher the number but rather the frequency of application – at least every two or three hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating.
But do do the leg work…
It is not just your face that needs sunscreen. In women, melanoma or skin cancer most commonly develops on the lower legs as many do not bother to apply sunscreen to their lower half which are, in many instances, as exposed as the face or upper half of the body.