Understanding why sunscreen is important and what’s it saving us from

UVI, known as the ultraviolet index, is a global term used to understand the different strengths of the sun, and what your likelihood of burning is. The National Weather Service created this term in 1994 to give people safety precautions when planning outdoor activities. Countries around the world rallied together with the desire to protect people from skin cancer. 

Understanding the UV index helps you live a safer outdoor life and allows you to use the correct preventative methods, like sunscreen, hats, and wearing long tops to help you stay away from direct sun exposure. 

The UV scale starts from zero and can reach a height of eleven +. Studies suggest that above 8 you shouldn’t be outside during the day, especially midday, and if you are, wearing a hat, sunglasses, or staying in the shade is important if you want to protect your future skin, prevent acne and stay healthy. 

A study has shown that South Africa has a high UVI, and depending on where you live, it can rise to fourteen! Many countries have high UV exposure levels, such as New Zealand, Sweden, the United States, and many more.

Protecting your future skin is a value of ours. We try to instil this foundational belief in our clients: what we allow today will affect our tomorrow. Creating daily skincare habits and routines will assist with skin protection and acne prevention. 

Here is what can happen to your skin if you don’t create an environment to protect yourself from high UV rays:

  • Skin cancer
  • Damage to the collagen and elasticity within your skin
  • Wrinkles 
  • Hyperpigmentation and freckles 
  • Moles 
  • Sun rash if you have problematic skin known as Polymorphous light eruption
  • Eye problems

How do these problems accrue? Slowly, over time. We have websites built to inform us of the daily risk of Ultraviolet Rays because neglected sun care over time leads to health problems. The simple solution is to use sunscreen religiously. The older we get, the more our sunspots and moles appear, showing us how we didn’t look after our skin in the past. 

How does this relate to acne?

Looking after your skin barrier is the basics of skin protection and it is the first thing new parents are taught when looking after their baby’s skin. Protecting your skin barrier should be prioritised for the rest of your life. We suggest reading our previous blog about skin barriers, as it goes into greater detail. 

The epidermis is the outer layer of your skin. The skin on your face that you can touch and feel is known as the Stratum Corneum (SC), part of your epidermis. The SC is what keeps bacteria out, holds in moisture, and fights against skin cancer. If the SC is weak due to a lack of care: 

  • It will cause your skin to be brittle and tear easily. These tears are microscopic and cannot be seen to the eye but those tears welcome bacteria/ ingrown hairs and that leads to acne. 
  • Be strong enough to protect you from skin cancer. 
  • Your skin won’t be able to store moisture and you will be inclined to have more wrinkles.
  • Your SC won’t be strong against bacteria, creating different types of acne.  

A stronger skin barrier creates an environment for your skin to fight against bacteria, locks in moisture and keeps your skin hydrated. 

Now that we have briefly looked into understanding the effects of UV rays on your skin and the consequences of not wearing sun protection. We can see the importance of sunscreen, like our Sun Protect

It is important to wear sunscreen daily, no matter where you are. Many people disregard sunscreen because they are indoors and only see the light in the late afternoon. This thinking is understandable, but did you know UV rays pierce through windows and can be just as harmful as if you are outside? 

Our Sun Protect is a factor 30 and that allows in 3 percent of UV rays. It has a 97% protection rate however, the length that it lasts is dependent on how long it takes you to tan or burn.

Applying Sun Protect multiple times a day is important. Why? Because sunscreen in general only lasts until your skin begins tanning or burning.

Here is a simple guide to understanding how to apply and reapply sunscreen. The below examples are based on you already applying Sun Protect on your skin in the morning, 30 minutes before leaving the house.

  1. If you have very fair skin and hardly tan but instantly burn you may need to reapply sunscreen every 20 minutes, if you have no other protection from the sun. 
  2. If you have fair skin but it takes you 1 hour to tan and possibly another 20 minutes to burn if, in the direct sun, we suggest reapplying Sun Protect every 1 hour to protect your skin from burning.
  3. If you have olive skin and it takes you three/four hours to tan or burn, reapply sunscreen every 2.5/3.5 hours.
  4. If you have anything from dark olive to golden/African skin, we suggest the above methods still apply even though your skin is tougher against the sun. It may take much longer to burn but protecting your skin barrier and fighting against skin cancer is important. So we suggest reapplying sunscreen every 2.5/3.5 hours.

    These examples apply to your face, not just your body. You may not be aware of how your skin looks when it is damaged from the sun as it isn’t something you have been taught. Here are a few things to look out for:

    • Your skin becomes sensitive.
    • Your skin becomes red (not burnt red) in your daily life, working and running errands.
    • Your skin may be slightly swollen and feel tender. 
    • You start seeing small red veins on your cheeks.

    These side effects are your skin’s way of telling you something is wrong. Reapplying Sun Protect will calm your skin, and drinking water will hydrate your skin from the inside. 

    We hope this blog has opened your eyes to the importance of sun protection and how, over this festive season it’s vital to look after your skin and not fall into the silly season and neglect your skin. Remember, the damage you do to your skin now will only show up in years to come. 

    Links from research 

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3479513/#:~:text=We%20further%20show%20that%20solar,barrier%20function%20of%20the%20skin.

    https://sawx.co.za/uv-index-south-africa/

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