We all know that it is important to avoid extended sun exposure and to wear sun cream with an SPF. However, it is equally important to understand why protecting your skin all year around and not just in the summer months is a vital part of reducing skin damage. Did you know that up to 80% of premature signs of ageing are caused by UV from the sun?
Olay research confirms that external factors such as UV exposure play a bigger role than genetics when it comes to preventing visible skin ageing1 highlighting the importance of wearing a broad spectrum SPF to fight against UV every day. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a measure of how long your sun cream will offer protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays burning your skin.Understanding UV index
The Global Solar UV Index is a measure of the UV radiation on the earth’s surface and an indicator of potential skin damage. Two types of UV rays (UVA and UVB) are damaging to the skin in excess. UVB mainly causes erythema (skin reddening and burning) which can lead to uneven pigmentation and skin cancer. UVA damage causes premature skin ageing and can also cause skin cancer.
The Global Solar UV Index codes UV levels between 1 and 11 (low, moderate, high, very high and extreme) and to give context, in the UK on a sunny summer’s day the UV index may reach around 7 at midday, when the sun is highest in the sky however nearer the equator, the UV Index is much higher. Over autumn and winter, the UK’s UV index is normally at or below 3 which indicates a low risk of burning but, according to the WHO, protection is still required2. UVA damage accumulates with time and due to this, it is essential to wear daily broad spectrum protection with a minimum SPF15.Dangers of Ultraviolet
What is a moisturiser with SPF and what sun protection should you choose?
- 95% of the UV which reaches the earth is UVA
- Windows don’t block all of UVA so you still need to protect yourself indoors
- Over 90% of UV can still penetrate light cloud cover
- Up to 80% of UV rays can be reflected off surfaces such as snow, water and even sand
- UV radiation doesn’t just affect skin – it also can cause cataracts of the eye and impair the immune system
- Sun elevation, latitude and altitude affect UV intensity (it increases by 4% for every 300m increase in height)
SPF is a measure of UVB protection and an increase in SPF doesn’t provide linear protection. For example, a product with SPF15 blocks 93% of UVB, while SPF30 blocks 97% – doubling the SPF doesn’t double the UV protection. In addition, this protection is provided only when product is used as directed (i.e. the correct amount and re-applied every 2 hours).
If your skin would burn after 20 minutes in the sun, applying an SPF15 will allow you to remain in the sun without burning for approximately 15 x longer – (300 minutes). It is important to note that this depends on other factors including skin type and sun intensity, and whilst SPF is a measure of protection from sunburn, it should not be the only measure used to determine how long you spend in the sun.
However, everybody should use sun protection as skin damage can still occur (as often evidenced as pigmentation issues in darker skin).
A small amount of UV rays are important for the body to produce Vitamin D and can of course be beneficial in moderation to skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis however skin should still be protected with an SPF. In fact, research has shown that daily sun protection has no negative impact on Vitamin D levels.
Olay recommends staying out of the sun between 10-3pm in the summer and using a facial moisturiser with broad spectrum SPF daily such as NEW Olay Total Effects Day Moisturiser SPF30. The all-in-one skin solution uses SolaSheer™ technology, a photo-stabilised sunscreen system which offers broad spectrum SPF30 protection against both UVB and UVA rays to help mitigate daily UV damage. It combines Olay Total Effects’ proven anti-ageing power with broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF30 protection to help defend against the ageing effects of the sun on the skin all year round.
Citations1 AAD 2017, Poster #5530: Genetic and Lifestyle Factors Contribute to Youthful Facial Appearance. R Osborne, J Tiesman, F Neuser, M Tamura, W Safi, MH McIntyre, SS Shringarpure, IB Hallgrímsdóttir2 Multi-Decade and Ethnicity (MDE) study3 https://www.aestheticscienceinstitute.edu/library/dermal-and-epidermal-aging