Nowadays it’s common knowledge that we need to protect the skin from damaging sun rays. While my sun-worshiping younger self may not have heeded to such advice so easily (she didn’t think a great deal about poor future self), I can, many years on, attest to the importance of sun protection.
When Is The Best Time To Start Looking After Your Skin?
Why yesterday of course! But because most of us didn’t have the kind of education or foresight to know what all those years spent sun-worshiping would mean for our older selves, the next best time to start practicing better sun safe skin care is today.
You may think that simply wearing an SPF cream is enough. But this is where most of us fall short. You can take your sun safe skin care regime one step further in covering up with SPF50+ clothing. This is especially the case during warmer months where you are more likely to spend more time outside.
But what is SPF, and how we can use it to look after our skin? Let’s dive in and find answers to some of the most pressing skin protection questions!
What Happens To The Skin When We Spend Time Outside?
When we spend time outside, we might get a nice tan, but this might come with significant side effects. Over the years, numerous studies have connected unprotected or excessive sun exposure with hyper-pigmentation, dry skin, dark spots, premature signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines, and the much-dreaded melanoma.
While being out in the sun is something that most of us love and some simply can’t avoid (due to the nature of their job or other reasons), there is no doubt about the fact that sunscreen is essential. But the question remains, is sunscreen really enough to protect your skin?
What Is UVA, UVB And SPF?
First, we must understand what we are up against. There are three types of ultraviolet rays coming from the sun – UVA, UVB, and UVC. The most dangerous UV rays are UVC, but luckily, they are filtered by the ozone layer. The UVA (long wave ultraviolet) and UVB (short wave ultraviolet) do, however, reach the earth and affect our skin, especially when not wearing sun protection.
The UVA rays can affect the DNA of skin cells in the long run, and they are responsible for premature skin aging. UVB rays, however, are just as damaging as UVA rays as they can cause skin burns. This is why dermatologists and skin therapists recommend using a broad-spectrum cream or lotion to ensure protection against UVA and UVB rays.
Another important acronym that we have all heard being thrown around but may not actually understand, is SPF which stands for sun protection factor. SPF is the parameter used to represent the amount of radiation our skin can take before it gets burnt.
Did you know that for people with fair skin, it can take less than 10 minutes of sun exposure to get sunburns? What SPF does is to prolong that time. For example, an SPF 30 cream means that you can multiply 30 with 10 minutes (in this case), and you get the amount of time you may be able to spend outside before getting burnt. However, it’s important to remember these are simply estimated measures and should not be taken as gospel for everyone. Each person is different and has varying degrees of tolerance. There are cases when not even a high quality sunscreen lotion can protect a fair skinned person efficiently!
Looking After The Skin In Summer Versus Winter
As mentioned before, the general rule of thumb is to use SPF creams whatever the season might be. A cloudy summer day shouldn’t be equivalent to no sunscreen. However, the experts agree that the most dangerous time to be outside without protection is in summer, between 12 and 4 pm. This is why a daily moisturizer with an SPF 30 could be just what your skin needs in winter and fall. As the mercury rises and summer turns up, we should all up our game in terms of sunscreen protection.
In summer we also tend to spend more time outdoors – swimming, surfing, hiking, playing sports or just tending to the garden. The amount of sun exposure, and thereby, sun damage risk, increases multi-fold. This is when sunscreen may simply not be enough to protect you for the duration of your time spent outdoors. Aside from traditional (chemical) sunscreen lotions and mineral filtering sunscreen, one of the most efficient methods to keep your skin protected during the hot summer months is with the aid of SPF 50+ fabrics.
SPF Fabric For Sun Protection
There are quite a few benefits of wearing SPF 50+ clothing. You can forget about a sweaty, sticky, slippery torso and apply some SPF lotion on the areas not covered by the SPF 50+ clothing such as the face, hands, neck, and so on. For example, if you’re out surfing, you not only want to wear an SPF 50+ long sleeve rash vest to protect your belly again friction from your surfboard, but to protect your skin from the sun rays beating down on you. These kinds of fabrics are great for children (children’s skin is even more prone to getting sunburn) and adults alike.
While using sunscreen is mandatory to keep your skin protected, consider taking your skin protection one step further with SPF 50+ clothing. Make sure to enjoy your time out in the sun without compromising your health and well-being.
About The Author
Anita White is the passionate owner of Sandy Feet Australia; the fashionable sun safe kids swimwear brand based on the Sunshine Coast. She loves exploring the outdoors with her husband and two kids and of course, in a sun safe manner!
You can find some more info on the following at these websites below:
Melanoma – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15221930/
Broad-Sprectrum – https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/stay-sun-safe-this-summer.html
Long Sleeve Rash Vest – https://sandyfeetaustralia.com/collections/rashies
Children’s Skin – https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_f6qid5ri