Recently I hear a lot about how important is to use products that protects you from the sun damage and this is making me very happy. I grew up not knowing about the importance of SPF and all my childhood I hated sunscreen so much that you could never put that thing on me. I was also the type of kid that would stay all day long in the sun and if you wanted to put a hat on my head or to get me a little bit under an umbrella I would make a big scene.
The time has passed and now the days when I don’t use SPF are rare. I mainly use it on my face during the year, but in summer I do make an extra effort and I apply it all over.
There are 2 reasons for which I am such a big fan of SPF and I believe that these 2 reasons are very important for you as well.
These 2 reasons are as simple as it can get: it prevents ageing and hyperpigmentation, dark spots, whatever scars from acne that can create permanent damage.
I think you already know that sun is dangerous for the skin and the main enemies for your skin are the uv rays such as UVA and UVB.
Did you know that the sun is responsible for 80-90% of the visible ageing signs? You know. like wrinkles, dark spots, hyperpigmentation and the lack of elasticity.
From these 2 types of rays, the UVAs are most predominant and they are also the ones that are responsible for ageing. Think about the UVA from Ageing. They can penetrate textiles, glass and also the clouds. In other words, if you are staying in the house but you have a window near by, you are not protected even if you think you are.
If the level of the UVA rays stays almost the same around the year, the UVB rays are changing with the season. UVB rays are the ones responsible for your tan but at the same time they are the ones that cause the sun burnt. Think about Burn from UVB.
Now, the people that have darker skin tone are a little bit luckier in this situation. It is known that people with darker skin have a natural SPF of 13.4, despite the lighter skin tones that have only around 3.4.
Now that we know how the UV rays can affect our skin it is important to speak about what can we do to protect our skin from the damage. I grew up in Romania where sun protection wasn’t a priority and I fairly believe that people didn’t know why it is so important so I almost all the time skipped sun protection because I wanted to get more tan as I am very pale naturally. Another thing that made me not want to use SPF was the fact that I always believed it will aggravate my acne and I know that I wasn’t the only one thinking this as many of my friends mention it.
There are also 2 types of SPF: chemical and mineral.
The mineral ones are the ones that contain mineral substances that reflect the UV rays so they will not damage your skin. One of the most common ones that I am sure you have seen is the zinc oxide. They have one downside, they leave a white cast on the skin so you will appear even more pale. For me personally this is not a problem, but if you are planning on taking pictures, especially with the flash, your face will reflect also light so you will pretty much look like a ghost.
There are also products that use both mineral and chemical substances, like La Roche Posay. They also claim that that their sunscreens are not damaging the corals so THUMB UP!
The chemical SPF products are working differently: they absorb the UV rays so you will be protected.
Using a chemical sunscreen has the advantage of coming in many textures and also colours so it is much easier to find one that suits your preferences and they do not reflect the light in pictures. They are also easier to find on the market.
The most common substances that I have seen in chemical sunscreens are: Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octocrylene and so on. These substances are harmful for the marine life. Many popular destinations, like Hawaii, have decided to ban the chemical sunscreens as the tourists get large amounts of chemical sunscreens in their oceans and seas.
One thing is certain, you have to use SPF, there is no doubt in that.
So I can make your life easier, I have prepared a list of products that contain SPF and that I have tried. There are many products suitable for outdoor activities that come in gel form or even make up products that have SPF and that you can reapply easily during the day.