With the warmer weather approaching fast and us moving into level 1 of lockdown we will be spending a lot more time outdoors than we did the past 6 months. I thought now would be a good time to dive into sunscreen. What is sunscreen? Why do we need sunscreen? How does it work? I’ve teamed up with Elizabeth Arden who inspired this post to answer some questions for us too.
What are UVA and UVB Rays ?
UV stands for utraviolet and there are two types of ultraviolet rays that reaches the earth’s surface. UVB rays are the ones responsible for giving us sunburn and causing aging like giving us age spots and wrinkles. UVB rays are the greatest role player in the cause of skin cancer including malignant melanomas.
What is the UV Ray Index ?
A number between 0 to 15 is given to different areas to rate the strength of UV rays. 0 – 2 being minimal and 10 – 15 very high. With minimal risk your skin can burn in 60 minutes and at a very high risk your skin can burns within 10 minutes. (Keep in mind that different skin types also burn at different rates) The UV Ray index varies from day to day and you can view the day’s index over here.
Here is a breakdown of the UV Index and which precautions are recommended at which rating, note that sunscreen is always on the list!
|Rating||Risk||Minutes to Burn||Precautions|
|0 – 2||Minimal||60 minutes||Sunscreen|
|2 – 4||Low||45 minutes||Sunscreen + Sunglasses|
|4 – 6||Moderate||30 minutes||Sunscreen + Sunglasses + Hat|
|6 – 10||High||15 minutes||Sunscreen + Sunglasses + Hat + Umbrella|
|10 – 15||Very High||10 minutes||Sunscreen + Sunglasses + Hat + Umbrella + Avoid Midday Rays|
How does sunscreen protect my skin ?
Take a look at this short video of how the sun sees you when you’re wearing sunscreen. I first saw this video in 2014 and it’s stuck with me ever since and is one of the biggest reasons I apply sunscreen daily.
Linsday Fernandez, the Elizabeth Arden National Training Manager kindly answered some questions for me regarding sunscreen.
What does the number stand for in SPF (for example SPF35)?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the number is an indication of how long a product protects skin from the sun. As an example, if I sit in the sun without SPF and it takes me 15 minutes before my skin starts turning red, then with an SPF35 I would be protected 35 times longer or it would take my skin 35 times longer before starting to turn red e.g. 15mins x 35 = 525 mins or 8,75 hours before burning.
This may seem amazing, but remember that besides burning, one is exposed to all sorts of rays that speed up ageing and contribute to skin cancer so although you may protect yourself for a certain length of time from burning, you are still exposing yourself to other harmful rays. It’s also very important to remember that this protection is also based on using the product exactly as directed and dependent on factors such as the application of the correct amount of sun protection, and variables such as perspiration, water coming into contact with the SPF and product rubbing off in general.
Which Elizabeth Arden SPF product(s) would you recommend for everyday use for maximum protection when wearing makeup, as it’s not so easy to re-apply sunscreen over foundation?
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Sun Defense for Face SPF50 PA+++ 50ml (R360.00) which protects against UVA and UVB rays, and the PA+++ means the protection against UVA specifically is high. It is a lightweight formula which works really well under foundation.
Prevage City Smart + DNA Enzyme Complex™ + Anti-Pollution + Antioxidants Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA++++ Hydrating Shield (R895.00) has a DNA enzyme complex which means it tries to repair damaged cells. It protects your skin against pollution, free radicals and the sun which is so necessary considering many people’s lifestyles.
What is your best advice when it comes to sunscreen?
Form a habit of applying SPF everyday whether or not you are planning to go outside. I also don’t hold back when it comes to a good SPF as protecting my skin is an investment and I need to do everything to ensure I protect it.
Thank you Lindsay for sharing your knowledge ! I never really understood how the SPF number worked and always thought it was the strength of the protection and then later realized it was a time frame but never quite got it right. So the lower the SPF the more frequently you will have to re-apply.
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your lips and the top of your ears. Elizabeth Arden has a great 8 hour lip balm available as well that contains an SPF, it’s just as lovely as the rest of their 8 hour range, I highly recommend it.
So no matter how much time you will be spending outside and where you will be spending it, always remember to apply sunscreen. Even when you don’t plan on going outside still apply!