Sun 101: SPF Protection

You asked and I delivered – SUN 101, your guide to preparation, protection, healthy tanning and after sun care. This is a series of articles that I started yesterday with supplements, and I am following up with my favorite sun protection products. After you did a first step with prepping your skin internally with right dietary supplements, here comes the next one, a really important one – SPF protection. I don’t have to tell you how important it is to use your SPF, not only in the summer or when exposed to the sun, but daily. Here you go – explanation, recommendations and experiences, so that you have everything you need in one place.

SPF & Importance of Using it Daily

Your skin is damaged by sun exposure over your lifetime, whether or not you burn, so for that reason, you should always use sunscreen, as SPF also helps to protect against the potentially harmful consequences of sun exposure. It is proven that regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of squamous cell carcinoma and lower melanoma risk. Also SPF helps to prevent premature skin aging caused by the sun, wrinkles, sagging and age spots.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number tells you how long the sun’s UVB rays would take to redden your skin if you apply the sunscreen exactly as directed compared with the amount of time without sunscreen.

There are two types of sunscreen depending on ingredients that help prevent the sun’s UV radiation from reaching your skin.

Physical sunscreen ingredients (including the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) block and scatter the rays before they penetrate your skin. They may be less likely to cause skin irritation than chemical sunscreens, but that doesn’t mean they are not safe or less effective.

Chemical sunscreen ingredients (like avobenzone and octisalate) absorb UV rays before they can damage your skin. All active ingredients in sunscreen are chemically derived.  Some people may think of physical sunscreens as more natural, but they’re actually inorganic mineral compounds.

SPF: How to Choose?

SPF 15 – if you’re inside most of the day with just short intervals in the sun, for a short walk, while driving (SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB radiation)

SPF 30 or higher – if  you spend a lot of time outdoors, especially when and where the sun is strongest, if you go for a swim make sure that it is water resistant. (SPF 30 blocks nearly 97% of UVB radiation).

SPF 50 – it is important to remember to apply your SPF 50 as often as you would a lower SPF though to ensure your skin is continuously protected throughout the day. It blocks approximately 98% of UVB rays.

SPF 50+ – can be counter-productive as it might mislead you into a false sense of security. Above SPF 50, the increase in protection is minimal and people are encouraged to neglect other protective habits such as seeking shade and wearing sun-protective clothing, so even if they don’t burn they can still get sun damage from UVA rays.

No matter the SPF, reapplication every two hours is key. Sunscreen must also be reapplied immediately after swimming or sweating!

UVA vs. UVB: The Difference

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of electromagnetic energy and it can come from natural sources – sunlight, as well as artificial sources – lasers, black lights, and tanning beds. The sun is the most significant source of UV radiation.

UV rays are classified according to wavelength:

UVA rays – have higher and longest wavelengths, but lower energy levels than other UV rays. They are more penetrating than UVB rays, which means they can affect cells deeper in the skin, and they cause indirect damage to DNA. Also due to that your skin can age prematurely, leading to visible effects such as wrinkles. They’re also associated with some skin cancers. Unlike UVB rays, they’re not absorbed by the ozone layer. About 95% of the UV rays that reach the ground are UVA rays. They cause an immediate tanning effect, and sometimes a sunburn. The effects of UVA rays tend to appear right away. UVA rays are the main type of light used in tanning beds. They can penetrate windows and clouds, so that is why you need to wear sunscreen even when driving.

UVB rays – Relative to UVA rays, UVB rays have shorter wavelengths and higher energy levels. They damage the outermost layers of the skin & they directly damage DNA and cause most skin cancers. They’re partially absorbed by the ozone layer, but some rays still get through. About 5% of the UV rays that reach the ground are UVB rays. Overexposure to UVB rays leads to sunburns. Usually, the effects of UVB rays are delayed, or appear a few hours after sun exposure. They don’t penetrate windows, and are more likely to be filtered by clouds.

UVC rays – have the shortest wavelengths and highest energy levels of the three types of UV rays. As a result, they can cause serious damage to all life forms. Fortunately, UVC radiation is completely filtered out by the ozone layer. As a result, these rays from the sun never reach the ground. Although not considered a risk for skin cancer, UVC rays can cause severe damage to human eyes and skin, including burns, lesions, and ulcers on the skin.

Tried & Approved

I know, I know – this is your favorite part of this article since you want to hear what am I using in order to protect my skin daily and when being exposed to the sun directly.
So, as always – not everything I use will work for you, but everything I will mention I consider an amazing product that is more than worth giving a try. Firstly, let me explain how and when I use SPF. I started applying SPF religiously on my skin daily, on a cloudy day, in winter ever since I discovered one that wasn’t giving me further problems with my skin – you already know how the old story goes with sunscreen clogging pores and causing breakouts and stubborn comedones. I wish I’d found one like I am using now sooner. But now you can, if you read this carefully.

L’Erbolario – Prima & Poi

L’Erbolario is a symbol for sun protection, tanning and summer if you grew up anywhere near Italy (or in Italy of course). This is an amazing serum that I use in summer and before and after the direct sun exposure – when I go for a swim or sunbathe. It improves the smoothness and compactness of the skin and at the same time protects my skin against the ageing caused by UV. It also enhances the tanning and therefore protection. It is is made with the pulp of watermelon of the Kalahari and Amaranth Oil. It is non sticky, non comedogenic, skin will drink it up completely. It can also be used all year round. If you are from Croatia, you can find it here.

Biologique Recherche – Préparation U.V.

Préparation U.V. is rich in natural and plant-based active ingredients, stimulates natural tanning and prepares skin for exposure to sun. It thus boosts melanin synthesis without exposure to ultraviolet rays. It helps prevent the appearance of pigmented spots and slows skin aging, by stimulating proteasome activity and reducing the rate of protein oxidation. Its anti-radical function also fights free radicals. I used this product before traveling to Mexico, where I knew my skin will be exposed to sun. You should use it in the morning and evening on the entire face, neck and décolleté, during approximately one month before sun exposure. It leaves a healthy glowy finish which I like, but for people that don’t like shiny/glowy skin that might be a problem. It doesn’t cause problems like breakouts and it is non comedogenic. Find it here!

Jane Iredale – Powder Me

Here comes his majesty, the one I talked so much about for so long now. The one I use even in winter and I use it daily. It is probably my favorite skincare, sunscreen and make up product in one. So this is a dry mineral sunscreen without chemical sunscreen actives. It nourishes, protects and soothes your skin with broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen and it can be used on body, face and scalp. That means that it can be used on sunburn to help calm and soothe the skin. The best part (my God – everything about this product is the best part) is that it has a beautiful sheen coverage that covers just about enough, giving you glass like complexion. Also, is is water-resistant up to 40 minutes. But that’s not all – this bad boy is environment friendly and it is a reef safe sunscreen. I mean, words truly can’t speak how I feel about this product, since I also firmly believe that is has helped with perfecting my skin and it also does not cause breakouts whatsoever. I use shade ‘golden’ all year round and you can get it here.

P.S. I heard Nicole Kidman swears by Powder Me and wears it daily.

Biologique Recherche – Protection U.V. (SPF 25 & 50)

This product protects the epidermis from the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and infrared rays. If I am exposed directly to the sun, when I am on vacation, or when I am not using my trusted Powder Me, I will use one of this two boys since they never let me down and I never ever burned while using them. If I am on vacation and exposed to sun, I will wear it underneath ‘Powder me’ or any other BB cream.

Protection U.V. effectively protects skin against the sun thanks to a combination of 100% natural filters. The Triple Shield Complex technology targets 100% of the sun’s rays (UVA + UVB + visible light + infrared) and provides complete protection by preserving the skin’s solar capital. Skin is moisturized and dehydration caused by solar exposure is limited. This product should be re-applied, like any other sunscreen. Again, it is non-comedogenic and it leaves shiny fininsh that is not white since this product is not thick at all. Get it here by contacting Biologique Recherche Croatia team via e-mail.

L’Erbolario Sun Protection

I already mentioned how L’Erbolario products are a classic and a second name for sun protection and healthy tanning. First sunscreen I ever got as a kid was L’Erbolario. My mom always uses their SPF 50, on her face – daily. All of their products are really amazing, natural, good for you, good for the environment and highly, highly effective. And also, really affordable. All of their sun protection products are something that I always recommend – they have everything for everyone. For example – you don’t like cream, okay, you can have a mist with SPF 50. Or, you have sensitive skin prone to redness and clogging – no problem. We have one for you! My favorite products from their sun protection line would definitely be Prima & Poi Serum that I previously mentioned and their SPF 30 For Sensitive Skin with sesame oil and shea butter hydrating formula that I always use on areas of my body where I know I could burn, such as back, knees and shoulders. Find the whole range here.

Madara – SPF 30 Plant Stem Cell Age-Defying Face Sunscreen

This is a breakthrough mineral-based natural face sunscreen that ensures broad spectrum UVA & UVB protection with an invisible, flawless finish and it is specialized for the face. Innovative SPF 30 formula with patent-pending stem cells from Northern Dragonhead delivers a hyperdose of antioxidants, shields against urban pollution, protects the skin microbiome and regenerates the skin for a 360° age-defying effect. It works to prevent all types of sun damage, including dryness, wrinkles, pigmentation, dark spots and loss of volume. Ultra light, subtly tinted texture, 100% invisible on the skin. Suitable for both you and your boyfriend, you can wear it on your own or over daily moisturizer. I already wrote a post on Instagram dedicated to this natural, Earth and animals friendly product that doesn’t clog your pores that I absoultely love. Get it here! P.S., it is on sale now.

Sources: Skin Cancer Foundation, Healthline

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