Popular belief may lead you to believe SPF is only for summertime, when the sun is at its highest and we can see its effect on our skin. Reality is quite the contrary. Sun Protection Factor is necessary year-round as, whilst we can’t necessarily feel the warmth of the sun, the intensity of its rays is not diminished-meaning damage to our skin can still be caused.
Daily application is more important than we realise, taking into consideration that 80% of the sun’s harmful rays can penetrate through the cover of clouds.
So, what is SPF, and what does it do?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the number that follows it equates to how long the sun’s radiation would take to affect the skin when using the product. So, when SPF 30 is used correctly, it would take 30 times longer for UV rays to burn skin than in your weren’t using sun cream.
The Suns rays are made of UV light, which is invisible to the human eye due to its extremely short wavelengths. Within this spectrum, there are two types of rays that can damage the DNA of the skins cells, and it’s crucial to protect your skin from both.
UVB rays burn and redden the skin, and are believed to play a role in developing skin cancer.
UVA rays are the ones that tan skin, giving the summertime sun kissed look. But they also cause skin damage that can lead to lasting changes in the complexion, such as premature skin aging, wrinkles, and pigmentation. UVA rays can penetrate further into the skin than their UVB counterparts, damaging cells at the core of their DNA
What to look for in daily SPF?
SPF is common in certain makeup products, such as foundation and concealer, the factor (usually 15) is simply not high enough to provide the protection necessary. This, of course, is better for your skin than not using SPF at all, but to truly protect from the damage of UVA rays a layer of SPF applied before any makeup is most beneficial.
The most important thing to look for in SPF is a formula that you like using, which also provides an optimal level of protection. Finding a texture you like to use is vital, especially if you’re laying makeup or other skincare products on top of your layer of SPF.
Skin that feels heavy with product with a thick or tacky texture is avoidable, and skincare actives to give skin a boost are always beneficial. SPF’s with a lightweight feel and a natural finish are most suitable for all skin types, and thus should be the goal for an SPF infused skincare ritual. Nourishing actives, such as shea butter, Caviar, Pearl, or Platinum also envelop the skin in hydration, ensuring the skin is protected from sun, as well as any environmental pollutants.