This summer has been nothing but hot weather and sunny weekends, and although this is soon coming to an end, the need for major sun protection is not! As we always like to say, sunscreen is non-negotiable! Many people tend to associate sunscreen with summer, but the truth is you need to be wearing it year-round (yes, even on cloudy days 😉). So, whether you’re hanging outdoors or just stepping out of the office for a morning coffee, putting on sunscreen daily has never been so important.
Sun exposure is one of the major causes of skin aging, contributing up to 80% of the visible signs of aging. Yikes! To ensure that you are fully protected from UV rays, sunscreen should be applied as the last step of your skincare routine and reapplied throughout the day. With all this applying and reapplying, it’s important to make sure that your skin is getting the right sun protection it needs. Not all forms of sunscreen are created equal. Learning the difference between UVA and UVB rays, and whether your sunscreen uses mineral or chemical filters will help you determine which sunscreen is right for you.
UVA vs. UVB Rays
UVA and UVB rays are two types of harmful light rays that come from the sun. We’ll start with UVB rays, which burn the superficial layers (in other words, the surface layers) of the skin. SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, numbers are used to explain the level of protection against UVB rays only. The higher the SPF number, the higher the level of protection from UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays. So yes, you really do need an SPF 30 or higher! We’re also exposed to UVA rays, which are more harmful than UVB rays because of their ability to penetrate deep into your skin’s thickest layer (the dermis). Unfortunately, many sunscreens do not provide UVA protection. Sunscreens that do protect against both UVA and UVB rays are called “broad-spectrum” sunscreens. Failure to protect your skin against both UVA and UVB rays will cause long-term damage underneath the skin’s surface that you might not end up seeing until years later (yes… it’s hard to believe when you can’t see it, but it’s coming). This can lead to premature skin aging, wrinkles, sun spots and skin pigmentation. In other words, broad-spectrum sunscreens are the only ones worth your money.
– I’ll pause while you find the nearest bottle of broad-spectrum sunscreen and apply generously –
Choosing the Right Sunscreen
Now that we know the difference between UVA and UVB rays, it’s important to consider what type of sunscreen (mineral or chemical) will work best with your skin. We use a mix of UV filters to ensure broad-spectrum protection, and a gentle formula that doesn’t leave a white cast. The mineral filter, zinc oxide, is one of our key UV blockers! Mineral filters such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide act as physical blockers by deflecting both UVA and UVB rays. Thankfully, these mineral ingredients do not break down easily or quickly, therefore providing long-lasting protection for your skin. On the other hand, chemical filters like oxybenzone, avobenzone and octisalate work by absorbing the rays emitted by the sun and release the absorbed energy as heat. These filters are often used over mineral alternatives because they are less likely to leave a white cast on skin. That said, chemical filters can be more irritating to certain skin types. A combination of different chemical filters is needed for broad-spectrum protection.
Making Your Choice Easy
We have formulated our inDefense30™ dual-action moisturising cream with SPF 30 that uses a mineral-based SPF system to protect against harmful UV rays. InDefense30™ uses zinc oxide to provide long-lasting broad-spectrum UV protection within a moisturising, yet protecting, formula that doesn’t leave a white cast (after all, we don’t want you looking like Casper the ghost). Our main active, Pycnogenol®, uses one of nature’s most powerful natural antioxidants to protect your skin from oxidative stress. Extracted from pine bark, this active has an antioxidative power that is 50x more powerful than Vitamin E. By protecting your skin from sun damage caused by free radicals, Pycnogenol® helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and discolouration, keeping your skin healthy and glowing.
Have you put sunscreen on today?