I’m sure most of you know that the sun is the number one cause of ageing, but I all to aware that many of you are not going to stay inside when the sun’s out.
That’s why I’ve created this simple sun guide to help you keep your skin safe this summer. I’ve added my favourite sun protection products at the bottom, too.
What causes sun burn?
First you need to know exactly what your skin is dealing with when you are in the sun. Most obviously is the heat, which on it’s own can cause premature aging, due to the cellular inflammatory response you body activates to help cool your organs. But more worryingly there are harmful rays that cause serious damage to your skin. UVA and UVB rays both damage the skin, but in different ways. The easiest way to remember the difference is UVA = ageing and UVB = burning. UVA can penetrate right down to your dermis and cause damage you’ll only see years later and while UVB effects the skin on a more superficial level, it can modify the DNA of your skin cells, which can lead to skin cancer. It is important to choose a ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen; this means that the cream or lotion will provide both UVA and UVB protection.
Know your ratings
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and contrary to popular belief; the higher then number does not mean the ‘stronger’ the protection. The numbers in a SPF rating refer to how long you can spend in the sun before you start to burn, and this will vary from person to person. To find out what level of protection your need, first find out how long it takes your skin to show the signs of burning without sun protection. Once you know this, you’ll be able to figure out how long your sunscreen will last. The formula is easy – take the time that you take to burn (in minutes) and times it by the SPF rating. This will give you the number of minutes you can stay in the sun before having to reapply. So, if you normally burn in 10 minutes you apply a SPF20, it means you can stay in the sun for 200 minutes (10 x 20). And remember to apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going into the sun – this gives the ingredients time to build up to their full protection capability.
PA is the rating for protection from UVA rays. PA+ means the sunscreen has a UVA protection factor of between two and four, PA++ between four and eight and PA+++ more than eight. Look out for the circled UVA symbol on the packaging to ensure UVA protection.
Don’t double up
While it may be temping to use your body sunscreen on your face, it’s better to use a separate one for your face and neck. The skin on your neck and neck is thinner, and therefore drier than the rest of your body. It’s better to protect your face with products developed specifically for the face, as these will contain nourishing and moisturising ingredients. They are also less likely to run into and sting your eyes..
Check your dates
Using last year’s grubby bottle of sunscreen just won’t cut it, sadly. Most sunscreens have a shelf life of 9 months after opening. It won’t necessarily damage your skin, but the active ingredients will have deteriorated, and won’t be able to offer nearly the same level of protection. Always check the best before date and the PAO (period after opening) symbol on the packaging – this symbol is normally a little container with a number inside it. The number denotes the number of months the product will keep after opening.
Know your limits
While sunscreen technology has come a long way in the last few years, there aren’t any products that can protect you from 100% of the harmful rays out there. If you are worried about burning or aging, make sure you stay out of direct sun between 11am and 3pm, as this is when the rays are at their strongest.
Give your face some colour the safe way with these tinted and tan enhancing face products.
Vichy Capital Soleil BB Natural Tan Shade SPF50, R279
Eucerin Sun Protection SPF50 Tinted Face Sun Cream, R179.99
BioNike Defence Colour Protective Foundation SPF30 in Beige, R225
Nivea Sun Protect & Bronze SPF50 High Natural tan face Cream, R109.99
Save your skin from harmful rays with these body products.
Vichy Capital Soleil SPF30 Hydration Milk, R399
Eucerin Sun Protection SPF50 Extra Light Body Sun Lotion, R179.99
Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh SPF30 Refreshing Sun Lotion, R109.99
BioNike Defence Sun SPF50+ Very high Protection Sun Spray Lotion, R189.95
Give your face full-on, A-Team protection with these products.
Justine SolarTec Skincare Age Defence for Face SPF30, R240
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Sun Defense for Face SPF50, R215
Lamelle Luminesce Brightening Defence SPF30, R407
Optiphi Protect the Canvas Sun Protection Cream SPF30, R439.90
Those of you who read Rouge regularly will notice a severe lack of Piz Buin on these lists, well that’s because they deserve their own pic! These are my favourite Piz Buin products I’ll be slathering on this summer (paired with my customised Piz Buin Havaianas, naturally).
In Sun Lipstick SPF20, R59.95
In Sun Ultra Light Sun Spray SPF30, R273
Active Long Lasting Spray SPF20, R215.95
Allergy Lotion SPF50+, R285
After Sun Soothing Lotion 24 Hour Hydration, R175
Wet Skin Transparent Sun Spray SPF30, R254