Why Sunscreen Is Your First Defence

  • “Cleanse, tone, moisturise” is a mantra that generations are familiar with. But there is a new mantra on the block: “sun protection, sun protection, sun protection”.

    With the depletion of the ozone layer, outside aggressors like pollution and stress of modern life – our skin has plenty to contend with. So the need to nourish and protect the skin is of paramount importance to preserve and maintain its beauty.

    Sun protection may one day become as indispensable as toothpaste. It is still the one beauty product that helps prevent skin cancer and premature ageing. Yet, 85% of the US population is still unaware that the primary cause of skin ageing, brown spots, wrinkles and cancer are the sun's rays. While Australia has less incidences of skin cancer than UK.

    A popular misconception is that sunscreen should only be worn on sunny days. Yet, up to 40 percent of the sun's ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth on a completely cloudy day. There are two kinds of sun protection, the chemical kind such as avebenzone and oxeybenzone and the physical kind such as zinc and titanium dioxide. Avobenzone or octinoxate work by absorbing UV light. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide work by deflecting and scattering UV light. A sunscreen should be liberally re-applied every 90 minutes regardless of the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and anything below SPF 15 is not advised .

    Many skin care companies have incorporated sunscreen and protective elements into their skin care thereby cutting out the need to apply a separate sunscreen. And the choices are vast.

    There have been concerns regarding the use of chemical sunscreen, but according to Dr. Henry W. Lim, chairman of the Dermatology Department at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, these isn't much data to support any health risks. “As of today there are no recorded health issues associated with sunscreens proper use,” Linn says.

    “There is no such thing as a safe tan, whether it is from the sun or a tanning booth/bed” declares Paula Begoun, author of Don't Go To The Cosmetic's Counter Without Me. “Sunburns are bad. There’s just no way around it,” explains Kerry M. Hanson, a chemist at the University of California, Riverside “Protecting oneself from sunburn is critical to prevent skin cancers later in life,”explains Hanson.

    For those sensitive to sunscreen, a day product rich in antioxidants such as vitamins E and C is advisable such as The Body Shop Vitamin E Cream, £11, Nuxe Crème Prodigieuse® Anti-Fatigue Moisturising Cream, £21 and Philosophy Hope In A Jar (from) £10. Harley Street dermatologist Dr Nicholas Lowe recommends that everyone in the UK takes a daily vitamin D3 supplement of between 1000 and 2000 IU a day.

    In the end, sunscreen should not lull us into a false sense of security.Protective clothing, sunglasses that filter out UV light, hats and shade may have as much or more of a direct role to play. Avoid the sun in the middle of the day, from about 10 am to 3 pm. Ultraviolet rays are strongest during this time of day.

    A good moisturiser with an SPF is a safe bet for day long protection.

    1) Clinique, Superdefence Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 25, £38

    A light weight cream with firming birch extract, soybean oil and vitamin E.

    2) Elizabeth Arden, Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion SPF 15 £34.00

    An oil-free lotion with a gentle Alpha/Beta complex, Retinyl Linoleate, Sodium Hyaluronate, vitamins C, E and Glycerin.

    3) Green People, Day Solution SPF 15, £15.95

    Rich in antioxidants, organic Aloe Vera, Hemp, Jojoba, Green Tea and Chamomile.

    4) Estee Lauder, Day Wear Advanced \Multi-Protection Antioxidant Creme SPF 15, £40.00

    Two creams to choose: Normal/Combination and Dry Skin. A super Anti-Oxidant Complex with advanced broad spectrum sunscreen to defend against and diminish the appearance of signs of premature ageing.

    5) Olay Total Effects Day Moisturiser SPF 15 7-in-1 Anti-Ageng, £14.99

    6) Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Ultimate Moisture Day Cream With Active Soy SPF10 50ml £7.99

    Contains a time release formula with Active Soy technology. It continuously feeds skin with moisture and nourishing nutrient

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