Do you protect your skin from the sun all year?
Or just when you are skiing, cruising or lazing on the beach soaking up the rays?
Protect against sun ageing and skin cancer
“Relaxing and uplifting as the warm sun is, unprotected exposure causes your skin to age rapidly and can trigger skin cancer,” explains Clinic Founder and anti-ageing skin expert Lorraine Scrivener.
Shielding your face, neck and hands from the harmful rays of the sun every day of the year is one of the most effective ways to preserve your skin’s youthful look.
With our damp climate it’s easy to be dismissive of skin cancer, yet The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) confirm skin cancer continues to rise in the UK with over 100,000 people newly diagnosed with the disease every year.
Malignant Melanoma, the most deadly form of the disease, is the fastest rising common cancer and causes over 2,000 deaths in the UK each year. Most cases of melanoma are curable if detected early enough, but if diagnosis is delayed and the cancer spreads then your chances of surviving are greatly reduced.
Finding sun protection that sits comfortably with your make up without being shiny and oily can be a challenge. “I’m never without Brush on Block (B.O.B for short!). It’s a broad spectrum SPF 30 natural, mineral powder sunscreen with no chemical sunscreen ingredients and its own self-dispensing brush. Being translucent and non-greasy it’s easy to wear under makeup or reapply over makeup. BOB’s safe for children and sensitive skin, is cruelty-free and vegan-friendly and it doesn’t have any parabens.”
Reduce the ageing effects of the sun on your skin
These are my top tips for being out in the sun:
1. Avoid the midday sun
If possible, avoid being out in the sun between 11am and 3pm.
2. SPF 30 minimum protection for anti-ageing
Wear SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen. For ease, nothing beats Colorescience Loose Mineral Sunscreen – my favourite pop-in-your-bag product. It’s a powder sunscreen which I liberally brush on (even over my make-up) to give a hint of sun-kissed colour plus SPF 30-50 protection. A light compact, it’s perfect for skiing, sports or when you’re relaxing outside. It also comes recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
3. Reapply sun protection regularly
Slather on plenty of suncream SPF 30+ before venturing out in the sun, and reapply assiduously every two hours, and particularly after swimming. AlumierMD Sheer Hydration SPF 40 is a silky, sheer physical sunscreen packed with free-radical-quenching antioxidants, is Paraben and Sulfate free and not tested on animals. Ideal for a languid day poolside.
4. Free UV app to avoid harmful rays
Check the UV index which shows the amount of UV radiation. It is usually shown on weather forecasts or you can download the World UV App here for free. Developed by the BAD and the Met Office, it is a free app which gives live UV ratings anywhere in the world, ensuring you and your family know when to protect yourself against harmful levels.
5. A protection cover-up
Cover yourself up with a T-shirt, hat or pair of 100% UV protection sunglasses, keep well hydrated and your skin moisturised.
6. Ease sunburn
Try to avoid burning the skin. If you do calm the skin with a damp towel for 15 minutes, or ideally take a cool shower or bath. Pat dry (don’t rub) with a towel to minimise irritation. Moisturise your skin frequently, drink plenty of water and resist the temptation to pop any blisters as this can damage the skin and lead to scarring.
7. Sunbeds seriously damage your skin
Avoid sun beds at all costs if you want your skin to retain a youthful glow.
“Everyone is different so book an in-depth consultation on preventing sun damage or to discuss treatment options to reduce the effects of the sun. These consultations are free so why not book a time that suits you at either of our London clinics in Kensington or Wimbledon?
I run through the advanced skin care treatments options and benefits available at Eden Skin Clinics in this earlier article,” says Lorraine.
Look out for these skin cancer indicators
The BAD advises you to keep an eye out for these possible signs:
- A growth with a pearly rim surrounding a central crater, a bit like an upturned volcano
- A mole that is crusty or scabbed, or red, itchy or inflamed
- A mole that has got bigger and changed shape over time
You can find more detailed information on what to look for and self-examination here. Even though not all will be dangerous (and most aren’t), if you spot anything that looks unusual or out of the ordinary then have it checked out by a doctor.
Sunscreen protection know-how
“I use SPF 30 or higher on my face, neck and hands every day of the year and recommend clients to do the same,” advises Lorraine.
The labelling can be confusing on sun protection skin products so it pays to read it carefully. SPF is the Sun Protection Factor against UVB radiation. Quite simply the higher the number, the longer you can stay in the sun without burning. So, if you’re wearing SPF 30, you can stay in the sun 30 times longer than you could without any protection.
You also need to protect your skin against UVA rays. These are present even on cloudy days and age the skin by causing wrinkles, uneven pigmentation and some forms of skin cancer. The UVA rating is usually indicated by a number of stars on the bottle or a circle with UVA written inside it. Look for UVA rating of four or five stars for full protection.
Protect your hair when catching the rays
When protecting against the sun it’s easy to overlook our scalp and hair, explains Eleanor, Manager at TONI&GUY in Gloucester Road, Kensington.
“Protection isn’t just for those dreamy days on sun-drenched beaches. Daily exposure to sunshine in the UK can play havoc with your hair leaving it dry, brittle and damaged.