I'm sure I'm not the only one that is sad to say goodbye to summer for another year. We haven't quite hit the change of season, but already the days are getting shorter and I'm thinking about when I'll need to turn on the heating!
As autumn looms, I am sure there is relief from many of you at the thought of dropping your sunscreen application. However, while the sun may not be showing as brightly, I hope I can convince you to continue this important part of your skincare regime.
The end of summer means less sunlight each day and as a result there is significantly less chance for our skin to burn (or tan) due to exposure to UVB or 'burning' rays from the sun. However even with less sunlight each day, we are still vulnerable to ageing ultraviolet rays from the sun (UVA), which can be more damaging to skin than UVBs.
UVAs cause wrinkles and can cause skin cancer and weaken our immune system. And since UVA rays account for 95% of the sun's rays, even when we can’t see that bright light in the sky, protecting our skin from these rays is important as they can penetrate clouds and even windows.
This is why I apply sunscreen every single day, no matter the weather forecast or time of year. Anti-ageing is one of my top skin concerns and I want to do everything I can to prevent fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. Daily sunscreen application is a key way to do this.
I recommend proper daily application of sunscreen over your moisturiser and under foundation, if you wear it. Yes, your moisturiser and foundation probably contain sunscreen, however we rarely apply enough of either of these products to provide adequate protection.
So what does proper application mean? For your face, neck and décolletage, you need the equivalent of a 20-pence piece (or nickel) of sunscreen with SPF 15 to cover these areas. These areas are the ones most likely to be exposed to UV light, which is why they need daily protection.
Proper application also means that your sunscreen needs to protect you from UVA and UVB rays. Most sunscreens protect from UVB rays only, while we know that UVA exposure is greater and can cause more long-term damage. To ensure your sunscreen offers UVA protection, look for one that contains titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
Do you need to worry about reapplying during the day? If you are going to be inside for most of the day, then your sunscreen should provide sufficient protection as it is exposure to light rather than time that renders sunscreen less effective. However, if you are exposed to a lot of sunlight, say through your office windows, or are going to be outside for most of the day, be sure to reapply sunscreen to exposed skin approximately every 90 minutes.
I know we all want an easy skincare regime, particularly during the earliest mornings and latest nights. And yes, I understand that I am advocating that you add an extra step into your routine. I’m suggesting this because prevention is always better than cure.
Environmental damage is overwhelmingly responsible for ageing our skin and sun exposure is one of the biggest factors in this. So, daily protection of your skin from UV light will help to keep your skin as young looking as possible for as long as possible. To me, this certainly justifies the 10 seconds I spend applying my sunscreen. I hope it does for you as well!