A Guide to Sun Protection

Slip, Slop and Slap. The three S words you learn when talking about protecting yourself from the sun. Remember to always slip on a shirt, slop on some sunblock and slap on a hat to prevent excess sun damage to your skin. It’s currently Summer in America and some of you are having trouble with what sunblocks to purchase and use. Here I am with your little guide to finding the right sunblock for you.

Sunblock helps to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays. The rays are the biggest contributers to aging skin, darkening, burning and skin cancers amongst people. 90% of our wrinkles are caused by the sun, and it takes roughly 20-30 years before we see any real damage or signs of aging. Hence why I generally tell people that starting an anti-aging regime early isn’t too bad, because prevention is key, and prolonging the effects of aging means you can stay youthful for longer.

UVA, or Ultra Violet A rays are the most damaging to our skin, particularly our underlying skin cells. The wave is long and is able to penetrate through just about anything. Even if the sky is cloudy, UVA rays are able to penetrate through the clouds and damage your skin. UVA rays are the biggest contributors to skin aging.

UVB rays aren’t as potent as UVA rays are, but still damage your skin by a tremendous amount. Ever been sunburnt? UVB rays are shorter than UVA rays and are the main causes for sunburn, and darkening of the skin. Excessive exposure to both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer. So how do we protect our skin?

SPF means Sun Protection Factor and is an indication to how much protection you have against the UVB rays. The SPF gauge is an indication to how long you can be exposed in the sun before getting sunburnt. As the SPF increases by 1, you’re getting 10 minutes of UVB protection. For example, an SPF of 5 will offer 50 minutes of sun protection. We don’t have time to reapply sunblock every 50 minutes though, so hence why the minimum SPF sold on the markets is SPF 15 which offers 2 and a half hours of sun protection.

Besides SPF protection, you also have PA protection. PA stands for UVA protection. PA+ has the least amount of protection, and PA+++ has the most amount of protection. Basically, the more plus signs you see, the higher your protection, and the more your skin is protected from damage.

Make sure to always read the label before buying sunblock. The product should protect against UVA and UVB rays and be indicated on the packaging. Any sunblock that says “broad spectrum” does offer protection against both rays, but with no indication to how much protection the product offers against UVA rays. If you’re into Asian skincare, you’ll realise that only Asian sunblocks indicate the protection against both UVA and UVB rays, whereas, Western sunblocks tell you only about the protection of UVB rays.

There are two types of sunblocks; chemical and physical. Both have their pros and cons between them.

A chemical sunblock acts as a sponge, soaking up all the UV rays penetrating your skin. These sunblocks absorb right into your skin without leaving you with the white cast, so it works well in photography. Chemical sunblocks are recommended to those who age quickly or those who don’t want to have that white shade boost on their skin. Chemical sunblocks aren’t recommended to those with sensitive skin, as it may cause irritations.  It offers natural finish under makeup, and also doesn’t feel heavy, so perfect for those who don’t like to layer on heavy products throughout the day. Chemical sunblocks contain the following ingredients:
– oxybenzone
– avobenzone
– octisalate
– octocrylene
– homosalate
– octinoxate

Physical sunblocks act as a shield on your skin, deflecting all the sun rays from your skin. The finish leaves you with a white cast, and brightens your skin by one to three shades depending on the amount of sunblock you apply. Because physical sunblocks offer the white cast, they’re specially designed for protection mainly against UVB rays, so you’re not as protected against UVA rays compared to chemical sunblock. They are, however, recommended to those with sensitive skin, or those who tend to burn easily. Physical sunblocks contain the following ingredients:
– zinc oxide
– titanium dioxide

If you’re an oily skin type, try opting for an oil free or mattifying sunblock to avoid an oily complexion. If you’re leaning towards the dry type, then go for a water based sunblock to add hydration and nourishment to the skin.

Feeling a little lazy? Why don’t you use a makeup product with sun protection? BB creams, CC creams and foundation tend to have some form of sun protection in them to protect your skin from damage. I tend to apply a hydrating chemical sunblock under a BB cream with SPF 50 PA+++ and powder with SPF 55 PA++++ powder for added sun protection to really reap the benefits of the sun protection factors included in my makeup and sunblock.

That’s pretty much it for my guide to sun protection. If you had any other questions, please leave them down below or my SNS. Any recommendations for your favourite sunblocks or SPF makeup? Let me know because I’m all for trying new things or products. Until next time!

love anthony ♡

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