“To SPF or not to SPF?”
There are some things in the beauty world that really are unnecessary and should come with an exclaiming question mark but sunscreen is definitely NOT one of those things. However, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that sunscreen and the benefits are taking a bit of a hit at the moment in terms of scrutiny with so many ‘experts’ voicing their ‘expert opinions’ on whether it actually is beneficial for us mere mortals or whether it’s just another pile of old codswallop that us unsuspecting consumers have been fed in order to line the pockets of the profit-margin-makers also resident of our delightful planet.
Without creating a conspiracy theory that could quite possibly turn into the latest NETFLIX marathon, let me explain (in brief) the reasons why, in MY ‘expert opinion’, it DEFINITELY SHOULD be an invested part of your daily care routine (shouty capitals definitely required) and when and how to use it.
Fondly known as the Chalomine Kid growing up in the 70s and 80s in Scotland, the nearest thing anyone got to some sort of sun protection came in the form of that much loved tropical brown carrot oil slapped on profusely by the ladies who luxuriously leisured. It simply wasn’t considered a health issue back then. There were 2 looks that inhabitants were unintentionally going for during our summers (yes, we do have them in Scotland); one being the rawhide leather look you’ll now witness sported by the maturer types of today’s community and the other, the lobster. So much damage caused but, I am happy to report that since then and due to education and technological advancement those memories are all a thing of the past.
Wherever you are in the world, and while we love it so, we cannot escape the evil clutches of the sun’s UV rays. Even during the dreariest, coldest, cloudiest days those critters are to us humans like Kryptonite is to Superman. They are present in our atmosphere all the time even though we can’t see and feel them. UV damage has nothing to do with temperature, let’s get that myth put to bed right now! Otherwise known as ultra-violet radiation, the sun emits 2 types – A (ageing) harmful rays that penetrate deep below the skin’s surface destroying where all the magic happens with long-term irrepairable effects and B (burning) rays that cause immediate surface damage that simply does just that – burn. Please let it be known that even that beautiful bronzed tan you’d been working on relentlessly during your well-earned 2 weeks in Mala is, in fact, severe skin damage and comes under the B category.
What is SPF?
There is an overwhelming choice of sunscreens available these days, admittedly, more so than I can ever remember. With all the different types and factors from body creams and sprays to face wipes to moisturisers and foundations, factor this and factor that and not knowing then which to go for, especially now that we’re being told NOT to use it, it really is no wonder our wee heads are in a sunblock spin and consequently, it’s back to the 80s and either we do or we don’t!
If you don’t know, SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It measures the level of protection your product will give you from harmful UVB especially. The British Association of Dermatologists recommend always using a minimum of SPF 30, which blocks 97% of UVB. To put that into context, SPF 15 blocks 93% and SPF 50 blocks only 98%.
As well as skin cancer, the harmful effects of UV can lead to premature ageing and other health problems such as a weakened immune system, liver damage, eye problems such as impaired vision and cataracts. However, the upside is that it provides us with Vitamin D, a vitamin source that is much needed here in the UK.
So, should we?
In a word…YES! DEFINITELY! 365 DAYS OF THE YEAR (plus that extra one when it occurs)! REGARDLESS OF HEMISPHERE AND SEASON! ALWAYS! But what I will emphasise here is…. make sure you go AU NATUREL. By this I mean avoiding the synthetic chemical laced stuff. None of that pretend rubbish you’ll find on your supermarket or popular high-street store shelves. Natural ingredient-based products only. They are out there! Or here, at Odara Mineral Beauty (some of anyway).
Keep an eye on the ingredient list!
The latest sunscreen trend I see now being offered is the mineral-based type (HURRAH!!!!) and, excitedly, what I would consider the best. They have been around a lot longer than you may realise but were less ‘user-friendly’ than formulas of today. Mineral-based sunscreens, whichever choice form they come in, physically block UV rather than filter it like the synthetic chemical versions do and contain perfectly safe active ingredients, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide precisely but not forgetting in some, boron nitride – your sun protection heroes. These are naturally forming ingredients more commonly known to be found in your mineral makeup such as our Immaculate Mineral Foundation, Immaculate Mineral Veil Perfecter and Shape and Shimmer Contouring Bronzer. Your makeup is more than just makeup! Add a dolloping of the wondrous aloe vera and you’ve got a match made in cosmetic heaven.
Most face moisturisers also, like our Double Drench Daily Moisturiser provide protection as well as hydration so never go without it! Couple this with our Immaculate Mineral Foundation for double action and safe waterproofing.
Avoid at all costs products containing parabens and sulphates and any other nasty additives and where aqua sits high on your ingredient list (if at all) put that sunscreen back on the shelf. In sunscreens, aqua dilutes the performance of the sun-protecting ingredients. And, when in and out of the cool, holiday resort pool as you no doubt will be, only dilutes further discouraging that much needed high factor protection. This is where an aloe vera solution is best for a myriad of other reasons too which I’ll discuss in a later blog. Be mindful of this when coming into contact with the water as you must re-apply immediately afterwards.
Mineral ingredient-based sunscreen products are a pleasure to apply, are more user-friendly these days and are suitable for all skin types. Even the sensitive ones. Their lack of synthetic chemicals means your sunscreen won’t interfere with your serum either allowing it to continue to work efficiently. Traditional sunscreen creams or lotions with a high factor tend to be quite thick in consistency and when applied to the skin block the pores promoting blackheads and spot breakouts, stickiness and more oil leading to other skin issues. Not great for already oily or acne types. Instead of opting for ‘oil-free’ a lightweight moisturiser, like our Double Drench Daily Moisturiser, is a perfect alternative.
For extremely sensitive skins, a light, easy all-over dusting of our Shape and Shimmer Contouring Bronzer won’t irritate your skin or make it feel heavy and overwhelmed with product, but weightless and looking healthy instead.
Whichever product you choose, remember it is the ingredients contained and frequency of your re-application that is key so ALWAYS understand your product, follow the instructions on your label to the T and by doing so help you make the most of your skin CARE and the sun, wherever and whenever you are!