We all know we should be wearing sunscreen everyday, not only to protect our skin from damaging UV rays, but also to avoid the ageing effects of the sun. But in a recent study nearly 50 per cent of women confessed they still don’t wear a daily SPF.
The woman, shown here is in her late thirties and is an example of what the sun’s rays are capable of.
Using a special hi-tech camera we took an ‘X-ray” of her complexion to reveal how her sun worshipping sessions without wearing adequate sun protection have taken their toll on her skin.
The simple test, called a Visia Analysis uses multispectral imaging and gives a detailed but shocking image of the hidden damage of the effect of sun exposure beneath the surface of the skin.
The spotting of the skin reflects the sun’s damage to the deeper skin, especially to the elastic fibres and collagen and shows a combination of hyper pigmentation caused through UVA rays, as well as a loss of elasticity, a break down of collagen and bacteria.
Sun damage is the number one skin complaint we see at our clinic. UV rays account for 80 per cent of skin ageing and alters the DNA of your skin cells, causing lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and even cancer. This sort of damage often goes unnoticed at first and then manifests itself years later, like it has with our patient.
The real depressing fact is that this sort of skin damage, called photo ageing, isn’t part of the natural ageing process and is completely avoidable.
But there is a ray of light because as soon as you start protecting yourself from the sun, you will stop the process of additional damage and start to reverse, to some extent, what you've already accumulated.
We know British summers are rarely scorchers, but even on the coolest or overcast days, UVA rays travel through the clouds and can even reflect off concrete and penetrate through glass.
Below we guide you through the suncare jungle. From mists to smart sunscreens, it’s never been so easy to protect your skin but remember the best sun protection of all is the one you will use.
*There two types of UV rays; UVA and UVB. Your protection should shield against both, also known as ‘broad-spectrum’. UVB protection is rated as SPF in numbers. In the UK don’t use anything less than SPF30, and switch to SPF50 on holiday.
*Many sunscreens now also have a PA rating which measures the product’s protection against UVA rays. Look for the a+ symbol, the more + symbols, the better the protection.
*Your SPF beauty products- i.e. primers, foundations and powders, are probably not offering enough protections mainly because they cannot contain enough of the necessary ingredients in one small tube and also because, you won’t be using enough of it to give you the level of protection your skin needs. You need to cover your entire face neck and ears with at least half a teaspoon of sunscreen to get full coverage- do it after your moisturiser and primer, but before your foundation.
* We do need a little sunshine for vitamin D but ten minutes exposure is enough.
*Don’t rely on once a day suncare - a new Which report found that some all day suncreams can lose 74 per cent of their power to protect. Reapply every two hours.