Everybody loves a summer day. Whether it is the sun on your face in the morning or a day at the beach, we feel more relaxed and content, maybe even more attractive after a good day out. Adding further temptation, Australians are active people, and we are surrounded by beaches and blessed with a climate that allows us to get outside and enjoy ourselves year-round. Other people should be so lucky.
Unfortunately, as that seagull has been telling us since the beginning of time, getting out into the sun isn’t without its risks. The connection between the sun, ageing and, unfortunately, skin cancer can’t be denied and Australians are at higher risk than those other, more frigid nations.
It is a difficult balance to strike. Nobody denies the necessity of natural sunlight for our well-being. The sun is a major source of Vitamin D, which makes us happier, can limit the incidence of diseases like Diabetes and even increase levels of fertility. Sunlight helps us regulate the serotonin and dopamine that keep us content and alert during the day and can trigger the release of the melatonin that helps us sleep at night.
Nobody is telling you to go out with a sack over your head, but the facts are there. If you want to enjoy your day in the sun, a little preparation, some precaution, and finally an understanding of what you are getting into should help you avoid the worst of it while enjoying the very things that make life worthwhile.
UVA and UVB Radiation
Without going too deeply into it, UVA and UVB are forms of radiation generated by the sun that contribute to premature ageing and even cancer. Without proper skincare, they can damage your skin’s DNA in a way that affects its level of stored Vitamin A and can destroy your natural elastin and collagen. This translates into loose skin, sunspots, wrinkles and eventually cancer if you are not careful between the bright hours of 10 am and 4 pm, especially during the summer months.
But summer isn’t the only time you need to watch your skincare. While UVB rays are stronger on sunny summer days and are what gives you that painful sunburn, UVA rays are present at the same levels year-round and penetrate deeper beneath your skin.
In a nutshell, if you aren’t practising proper skincare, too much UVB contributes to premature ageing. UVA has the potential to cause skin cancer, especially if you are active, spend plenty of time outdoors and aren't using the best daily sunscreen you can find.
Make the effort to protect your skin and you can avoid the worst risks without compromising on your lifestyle.
Chemical / Synthetic Sunscreens vs Mineral / Physical Sunscreens
So what can you do to improve your skincare in the sun? Well, short of staying indoors, covering up, and wearing a broad-brimmed hat, there are two main types of sunscreen you can choose from. These are Chemical, also known as Synthetic sunscreen and Mineral, or Physical, sunscreen.
What you should know about Chemical / Synthetic Sunscreens
Most of the sunscreen available today is, at best, a mixed blessing. While it may protect you from the sun’s rays, sunscreen, especially from the Synthetic/Chemical side of the fence, may contain substances or compounds that could be doing your skin as much harm as it is good.
Chemical sunscreen is formulated to protect by penetrating the top layer of your skin. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always stop there and can be absorbed deeper into the body than you may want. Traces of the active ingredients in chemical sunscreen have been found in blood and urine after prolonged use. This is probably not what you are looking for when you shop for the best skincare products.
Woefully little documentation about the true effect of some of the most commonly used synthetic ingredients in chemical sunscreen exists. What has been documented is the negative effect of chemical sunscreen on coral reefs and the marine environment, so exercise caution when choosing what to put on your skin. Just natural skincare and sunscreen if you can please.
Mineral / Physical Sunscreens
Mineral, or physical sunscreen, behaves pretty much like its name suggests. Rather than being absorbed into the skin, it contains a blocking agent that physically stops or reflects the sun rays. As an example, consider the best sunscreen with titanium dioxide and zinc particles which sit on the skin and scatter or reflect the suns rays.
While not all physical sunscreen is created equal, they are generally a far more natural option and less likely to linger or harm the environment. Do your research to determine the best natural skincare products for your sunscreen needs. There are some excellent options out there. We recommend our best seller OIL-FREE MATTE CONTROL | PORE REFINING FACIAL FLUID SPF-25
SPF and Broad Spectrum Protection
Once you decide what type of sunscreen you want as a part of your natural skincare routine, you need to decrypt the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and Broad Spectrum ratings.
The SPF refers to the level of protection a sunscreen offers against UVB rays. It tells you how much longer you can stay out in the sun before burning. If the SPF says 30, you should be able to stay out 30 times longer with sunscreen on than without. But take that with a grain of salt.
One vital thing to understand, especially if you hope to avoid chemical sunscreen in your skin care routine is that for SPF 30 protection, sunscreen needs to contain both physical and chemical blockers.
The term Broad Spectrum refers to UVA protection relative to UVB protection. For the best protection, you should always choose a Broad Spectrum sunscreen for your skincare regimen. This is especially true of a day to day moisturiser with sunscreen. Go natural for the best everyday sunscreen for face to avoid chemical blockers and still achieve good UVA and UVB protection by selecting a Broad Spectrum product with a lower SPF.
Sunscreen tips practices for better skincare
- Always apply sunscreen at least 10 to 20 minutes before sun exposure to allow it to absorb into your skin.
- If you are going to be in the sun for extended periods, apply a second coat of sunscreen before you go out to ensure you are well protected.
- Apply sunscreen a minimum of every two hours or more frequently if you are sweating, swimming, exercising or working outdoors.
While you can never entirely avoid sun exposure (and why would you want to), you can protect your self and limit your risks by using common sense and a good sunscreen. Avoid the strongest sun when you can and do your research to find a sunscreen that works best for your lifestyle and your skincare routine.