This week I’ll be holidaying on the beautiful island of Crete, so I thought a post about sun protection was in order. While I’ll be enjoying the beautiful sunshine, I’ll also be wearing lots of high-factor sun cream.
The truth is when it comes to premature ageing, it’s not all about your genes and the fact that mum, gran, aunty Cath etc has aged well – it’s a lot to do with how you protect your skin from external aggressors (pollution, the sun etc) and how you live your life (think Paltrow not Mossy).
You can also buy all of the lotions, potions and expensive facials you want, but if you don’t protect your face from harmful UVA and UVB rays, frankly it’s all pretty pointless. Ask any dermatologist how not to age prematurely, and they will always tell you the same advice – wear factor 50 on your face. Every. Single. Day.
You also need to be really careful about not solely relying on your makeup for SPF protection. Recent studies have shown that this provides a crappy amount of protection in comparison to a factor 50 suncream. Primers, foundations and powders also only offer UVB protection (the type that stops you from burning) and not UVA which causes you to prematurely age.
Here are a few more helpful facts to know about that nasty UVA…
UVA penetrates the skin 40 times deeper than UVB which is why it’s such a bugger for ageing. You’ll still catch a lovely glow on holiday by wearing a broad-spectrum sun protection, and if you want to boost your tan, try bronzer or a facial self-tan product. No one needs a leathery brown face.
Even when you aren’t on holiday, wear a high factor on your face. My mum has been telling me this since I was about 25 (when the ageing process begins) and I used to scoff and say ‘That’s a little over the top don’t you think’. But no, it really isn’t. UVA is present all year round, and will reach your skin through clouds, windows, car windscreens – you name it, it will find a way of getting to you.
When I tell people I wear factor 50 every day, some people reply with things like, ‘But we’re vitamin D deficient in the UK, and there’s barely any sun’. Firstly, see my previous point above, and secondly, you actually only need 15 minutes of sun exposure in the summertime to get all the vitamin D you need. And thirdly, sun protection doesn’t stop your body from absorbing vitamin D at all, so please don’t use that as an excuse.
Finally and most importantly, the damage caused by the sun can lead to skin cancer. Be sensible in the sun and make sure you get some shade in the hottest part of the day and are reapplying cream regularly. If, like me, you find suncreams irritate you, there are some lovely lotions specifically designed for sensitive skin. My favourites are from La Roche Posay’s Anthelios range and Ladival Advanced Infared-A Protection for my face. Factor 50 of course!
Later on in the week, I’ll be visiting and reviewing Crete’s beautiful Daios Cove spa and hotel. Stay tuned