Be smart in the sun: things you definitely need to know

The sun can cause a lot of damage to your skin: wrinkles, patches of brown skin, a dull skin tone and even skin cancer. In order to get a healthy, younger looking skin and keep it that way, there are a few things you need to know.

What you need to know about the sun

There is no such thing as safe sunbathing, whether you do it in the sun or on a sunbed. The sun’s UVB rays cause sunburn, but UVA rays are the real silent killers. You can’t feel them but they are the most significant cause of skin cancer, wrinkles and a weakened immune system. UVA rays can even penetrate windows that don’t have a UV protective layer. Sitting in the shade or wearing a sun hat only offers partial protection. Even on misty or cloudy day, all forms of the sun’s rays are present and can damage the skin.

Surfaces around you, such as water, sand, concrete and grass, reflect the sun’s rays from the ground to your skin. This exposes you to a higher level of radiation. Altitude increases the strength of the sun: in fact it increases by 4 per cent with every 300 metres.

So make sure you always protect yourself when you go outside by using a product with a high SPF.

What you need to know about your sunscreen product.

The SPF number (Sun Protection Factor) indicates approximately how long you can stay in the sun before getting burnt by UVB rays. A SPF is essential, but only offers protection against sunburn (UVB rays). In order to protect your skin from UVA rays as well, your sunscreen product must contain at least one of the following active ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone (also known as methoxydibenzoylmethane), Mexoryl SX (ecamsule) or Tinosorb. All Paula’s Choice Day Creams with SPF protect against both UVB and UVA radiation.

There is no such thing as a total sunblock: it is impossible to protect your skin from 100% of the sun’s rays with a sunscreen product. Even with a SPF of 50 or higher, about 3 percent of the UV rays can penetrate the skin. So direct sunlight is always risky.

Applying your sunscreen product

  • Apply your sunscreen product twenty minutes before going outside.
  • Use generous amounts of your sunscreen product.
  • If you will be using more than one product containing a sun filter, the protection factor is not as much you get from adding the two SPF values together, but you do get a bit more protection than with a single product.
  • Sunscreen products containing only titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide as the active ingredient are guaranteed not to irritate the skin, which makes them ideal if you have a sensitive or rosacea-prone skin.
  • Each body part that is exposed to the sun should be protected with a sunscreen. So don’t forget your hands, neck, ears and upper chest.

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