Spending days by the pool or at the beach is a perfect way to relax this time of year but remember that while you may want to achieve a golden glow, tanned skin can lead to premature ageing and skin imperfections such as hyperpigmentation, not to mention a lifetime of sun damage as the damage is accumulative.
So, before you go out to soak up the rays, make sure to include sunscreen on your list of outdoor essentials, even before your phone and sunglasses.
SPF application should be a vital part of your daily skincare routine.
Use a high-factor, broad spectrum SPF daily to protect your skin from damage. Many people think of SPFs as thick white creams that sit on the surface of the skin and give you a pasty white appearance, but there are now a number of products from budget to luxury that absorb beautifully into the skin, providing both moisture and protection, some even incorporate a tint to rival many tinted moisturisers. A word of warning, though, watch out for makeup brands with SPF. Many foundations and tinted moisturisers offer some protection, but these should not be used as a substitute for a dedicated SPF product.
Not surprisingly the best type of sunscreen is the kind you wear on a daily and consistent basis. Aside from that, you should choose your sunscreen based on your skin type and outdoor activity. There are two common types of sunscreens: physical and chemical. Physical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin and scatter the sun’s UV rays.
Chemical sunscreens sit on top of the skin to filter out UVA and UVB rays. Chemical sunscreens with common ingredients such as oxybenzone or octinoxate [that act as UV filters] are usually thinner in consistency and spread easily on the skin and leave no white or grey residue after application. For a chemical sunscreen, make sure to apply it 20 minutes before going outside.
Unfortunately, according to the experts most of us are not applying nearly enough to protect ourselves. People typically apply between 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen. Remember, a ‘full body’ application requires about eight teaspoons of sunscreen.
Another key factor in sun damage is the time of day you are exposed. It is important to stay out of the sun as much as possible between the peak times of 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest, and if you do venture out ensure you cover up.
Finally, if bronzed skin is a must have, experts recommend you fake it with a spray tan, which will give you a golden glow all year round, even when the sun is not shining.