Should I really be using SPF every day? It's a question lots of us ask ourselves as we see it frequently slapped on beauty products as a benefit but we don't really know why on Earth we'd need it when we get about 5 days of sunshine a year (talking about us Brits here).
Well, I have the answer for you all: If you go outside for longer than 15 minutes a day then YES you should be wearing an SPF. No ifs or buts. Your skin will thank you and I'll explain why, and how you can easily get it into your every day routine.
What is SPF? SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number that follows the SPF is the level of the suns, or UV, rays it filters.
What's the difference between UVA and UVB? UVA causes long-term damage that may not be immediately visible to the naked eye (A for aging) and UVB causes your skin to burn if you aren’t using sunscreen (B for burning) [Source]. Broad Spectrum formula protect from both UVA and UVB.
Do I only need to use SPF when it's sunny? No. UV rays are high energy and can affect your skin even when it's cloudy. It's so easy to get caught out by the sun so it's easier to just apply some level of SPF every day to be safe.
How much SPF should I be using? For your whole body, you need roughly a shot glass full of suncream. You need to use about a teaspoon amount for the face alone. It sounds a lot but the alternative is not applying enough and risking skin cancer. Apply it around 30 minutes before going out into the sun (at least 15 minute before) so it has chance to skin into the skin and work. If you apply it right before leaving the house you might as well not bother as you will still be exposed to UV rays whilst it's settling on the skin. You need to then reapply every two hours or after swimming.
What products can I use for everyday SPF? Here are a few of my favourite products for SPF:
- LUSH Sesame Suntan Lotion: Lush has some amazing sun care products. This lotion is very light and SPF10 so quite low but it is perfect for those who would like a tan without the damage! It comes in a small bottle too so I carry mine around with me quite happily.
- LUSH Sun block: Another Lush product, Sun Block is like a soap with SPF. It's quite a high factor of 30 too. It's super easy to apply, all you do it use it like a soap in the shower then towel dry. By the time you're ready and dressed from showering, you will be perfectly protected from the harmful rays!
- Revlon Colorstay Foundation: Although the amount of foundation I apply is no where near enough to offer full protection from the sun, it's reassuring to know that Revlon's Colorstay offers and SPF of 15. If I do happen to forget to apply an SPF, at least I'll have a little bit of a shield from the sun from my foundation. If you pair it up with a high SPF face moisturiser, you should have your face covered for SPF :)
- Solait Hair & Scalp Sun Spray: No one ever thinks to protect hair from UV rays but it can cause a lot of damage by leaving your hair to become brittle and dry, and it can strip colour. Superdrug make this handy spray just for the hair and scalp. I just use a spritz of it every day to make sure I have optimum sun protection - it's lasted me ages!