The importance of using an SPF every day
Many of us are unaware that the sun is damaging skin every day, all year round regardless of the weather. The awareness of the need to protect skin against UVB is high but there’s a long way to go when it comes to raising awareness of the dangers of UVA, visible light and infrared-A all of which damage the skin all year round.
Misleading terms- the very fact that products referred to sunscreens, SPF’s or even sun protection is misleading, suggesting that you only need to apply them when the sun’s out. The reality is that whenever it’s daylight we need to be protecting our skin. So rather than thinking of sun protection, we need to start to think of it as daylight protection.
High energy visible light is present in daylight and penetrates clouds, so it’s a daily challenge to skin. We’re also exposed to blue light, a part of high-energy visible light, when we’re using computers, phones and tablets. The exposure is lower here, but the proximity and regularity of the exposure means it’s still a potential concern when it comes to skin damage.
The main source of visible light is of course the sun. It makes up to 40-50% of the radiation that reaches the earth’s surface. It’s biological effects on the skin include not only changes to pigmentation and redness but also free radical production. In fact it’s responsible for 33% of the sun-induced free radicals in the skin and has been shown to cause even darker pigmentation than UVA.
Free radicals are u stable molecules that damage parts of cells and in turn, the way our skin functions, they can even cause cell death. They not only affect how our skin looks but also it’s health.
UVA is present in daylight all year round, penetrating cloud and even glass. It makes up 95% of the sun’s rays and as a longer wavelength, it penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB.
The level of UV exposure is dependent on several factors, including where you live in the world, with the highest levels of exposure being at the equator. Unfortunately even in the wet and windy UK, way up in the northern hemisphere, the fall inUVA exposure is relatively low- particularly in comparison to UVB, which experiences a much greater drop. In short UVA exposure and the damage it causes shouldn’t be underestimated and remember for those who enjoy winter sports, the UV risk is approximately doubled in snowy conditions.
More info on sun protection have a look at our Heliocare range