Sun Vs. Skin

    By Therapist Kay

    When the sun is shining, we are all smiling, right? I know I am. However guys, the sun is also our worst enemy if we don’t know how it works with our skin. It can still be your friend, I’m not asking you to not enjoy it, you just might need to adjust some simple but life changing things in your skin routine. So here is all you need to know… Oh, and what myths to ignore!

    Did you know about 86% of skin cancer comes from the sun? [1] No of course you didn’t, or you’d be protecting your skin with a high enough SPF daily. (If you are, well done!) You need to watch out for UV radiation which is both UVA and UVB which both cause skin cancer. Basically UVB is a short wave length and this is what causes sun burn, (B for burn). UVA is a longer wavelength and penetrates deeper in to your skin causing ageing affects on your skin, such as pigmentation and wrinkles, (A for ageing.) And NEWSFLASH! You MUST wear an SPF all year round because UVA can penetrate clouds and windows and is always there!

    Did you know up to 80% of skin ageing is also caused by UV rays?[2] Sorry to be a party pooper, but what is the point in spending your hard earned cash on treatments and products if your not wearing an SPF? You may as well burn the money, instead of your face! Prevent not cure, people! Luckily there are many treatments available to cure the appearance of the ageing affects now a days if its a little too late for you on this part, like cryotherapy which can treat pigmentation caused by the sun in a controlled and safe way, and chemical peels and resurfacer facial treatments which are deeply exfoliating and can cause unwanted controlled tissue death to encourage cell turnover and give your skin a nice new top layer! (This doesn’t happen over night – you’d need a course.) There are also many products available. My favourites are the Derma-quest SkinBrite Range! Book a consultation with your skin therapist first as they need to be used correctly to get the benefits. Just make sure you then wear your sunscreen or the magic will be reversed!!

    Sunscreens are divided in to two types, physical and chemical. Physical acts by reflecting the radiation like a mirror, chemical acts by absorbing the radiation like a sponge. Most sunscreens contain a mixture of the two to protect you from both types of UV and to be safe apply 20 minutes before you go in the sun. There are many sunscreens on the market, just make sure to look out for one labelled “Broad Spectrum” which protects you from high levels of UVA and UVB. Heliocare is my go to! AND WAIT! Don’t forget to apply a full finger length of sunscreen for it to actually be as protective as what the bottle says, AND reapply your sunscreen every two hours to keep it effective. ( Within reason, I know if you are going to work all day with makeup on you can’t top it up, but your most likely in a safer environment anyway. If you are at the beach you can and will – I hope.) Dermatologists recommend to use a sunscreen that is at least an SPF 30 – 50. The SPF level measures how well and long it will protect the skin from damage, interestingly SPF30 being a protection of 96.7% and SPF50 being 98%, but both still need to be reapplied every 2 hours, it doesn’t necessarily wear off, it is used up! If it is not a water proof or sweat proof SPF reapply when needed too. (For example think of it as if you were in the sun with no sunscreen, however long it takes you to burn, if you were wearing an SPF 30 it would protect you 30 x more than without and so on.) Will you get enough SPF if it is in your makeup or other products? Meh! Not really! Firstly its only protecting you from UVB, Secondly its very unlikely you’ll be using enough for it to be doing anything!

    If I’m shielding from the sun, how will I get enough vitamin D you might ask. Vitamin D is important for maintaining healthy bones and muscles, and current research says it plays a role in preventing several diseases. It can be sourced through several foods, however most Is produced in our own body after exposure to UV light, Dam! The good news is the skin is able to make vitamin D long before it begins to burn, the bad news is its impossible to say what the ideal amount would be for each individual! BUT don’t sunbathe and please don’t get sun beds to increase your vitamin D, it may look nice and tanned now, but its not worth it trust me. You will still get a glow through sunscreens and Sienna X offer amazing self tan and spray tans, which is literally just DHA, ( sugar from fruit – like when you cut open an apple and it goes brown, when the tan oxidises in the air it turns brown.) Exposing your forearms and legs during an every day activity, not long enough to burn before applying sunscreen should be enough. We don’t get enough Vitamin D anyway, especially in the UK, so I’d highly recommend taking a Vitamin D supplement also, especially in the winter months! A great source of Vitamin D is the Skinade Vitamin A&D drink.

    PLEASE CHECK YOUR SKIN!

    Make it a routine to check your skin, at least once a month, it takes two minutes and could change your life! Use the ABCD method, and if you have any concerns please contact your doctor as soon as possible, its what they are there for and they will then send you to a specialist to check and test!

    A – Asymmetry (the two sides of your mole don’t look the same)

    B – Boarder (the edges of your mole are blurred)

    C – Colour (there are several or uneven colours)

    D – Diameter (the mole has grown)

    Disclaimer. All knowledge is my own or sourced reliably at these current times, references to follow.

    [1] The Skin Cancer Foundation. 2021. Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics – The Skin Cancer Foundation. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts/. [Accessed 25 April 2021].

    [2] The Skin Cancer Foundation. 2021. Photoaging: What You Need to Know About the Other Kind of Aging – The Skin Cancer Foundation. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.skincancer.org/blog/photoaging-what-you-need-to-know/.

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