Expert advice: Educating your clients on staying sun safe
Dr Pauline Hili discusses the myths around sunscreens, UVA and UVB rays and shares expert tips on how to stay skin safe no matter what the weather.
Broad spectrum sunscreens are designed to protect against sunburn from UVB rays and damage from UVA rays. They come in two forms:
Chemical Sunscreens – these contain chemicals such as octylmethoxycinnamate as the active ingredient. They prevent sunburn by absorbing the ultraviolet UVB rays.
Physical/Mineral Sunscreens – these contain inert materials such and titanium dioxide and zinc oxide
and work by reflecting the ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) rays away from the skin.
What does reef safe mean?
This means that the ingredients used the in the product is not toxic to coral or any marine life in the coral reef ecosystem.
What does broad spectrum mean?
This means that the product protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation by absorbing or blocking both UVA and UVB rays.
What is a mineral sun filter?
This is a non-chemical, naturally occurring mineral ingredient, either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which protects the skin from the sun's damaging UVA/UVB rays.
Why should you wear sunscreen every day and even indoors?
A small amount of exposure to the sun is vital to your overall health and wellbeing. Most of the body's vitamin D supply is generated by the skin's exposure to UVB rays. Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body and is needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy and can help ward off depression and even help regulate your blood pressure.
The good news is, whatever the season or the weather, UVB rays are abundant so your skin will still absorb some vitamin D.
However, too much unprotected exposure to the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer and cause premature skin ageing. The bad news is, it doesn't matter what season it is or what the weather is like, those harmful ultraviolet rays are abundant.
Even when it's cloudy, up to 80% of the sun's rays are still being absorbed by your skin as UV radiation can penetrate through the clouds. And snow can nearly double the amount of UV radiation being absorbed by your skin. This means, every single day of the year, no matter what the weather is like, if you are outside for even 10 minutes you should be applying SPF.
Even when you're inside, especially if you're sitting near windows, or in front of a computer screen, you're exposing yourself to potentially skin-damaging light. UVA, which can accelerate the signs of ageing, can penetrate windows and the blue light emitted from digital screens, including your computer, phone, tablet and TV, can increase the production of melanin or pigmentation in the skin, which could lead to age spots. Blue light can also create free radicals, which can lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastic in the skin and accelerate the ageing process.
Dr Pauline Hili is an organic skin expert and Founder of Nourish London. All Nourish London skincare is vegan, alcohol-free and excludes unfriendly chemicals such as synthetic colours, TEA, DEA, parabens, phenoxyethanol, sulphates, mineral oils, PEGS and silicones.