Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen

Heading to warmer climes or just sitting out in the West London sunshine?

Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen

We talk to Justine Masters, The Alternative Facialist who is based at TriYoga, Dicken's Yard, about the importance of SPF.

What is SPF?

SPF is Sun Protection Factor. This indicates the level of protection a sun cream provides against burning. For instance, if you usually burn after 20 minutes in the sun then applying a factor 20 SPF will protect you 20 times longer than that.

What is the the difference between UVA and UVB?

UV stands for ultraviolet Radiation. UV rays are responsible for making our skin tan and burn. UVA is a form of UV radiation responsible for skin damage, allergies, and skin ageing. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skins dermis which can cause skin cancer, wrinkles and sunspots as they penetrate clouds and glass. With regard to ageing, most of our wrinkles are caused by over-exposure to the sun. The sun breaks down our collagen and elastin fibres, which are the building blocks in our skin. These proteins keep our skin supple and firm. UVB rays cause a different type of damage like the redding of your skin, skin cancer and melanoma. UVB does not penetrate as deeply as UVA.

What is the difference between mineral and chemical sunscreen?

Mineral sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and act as a shield to prevent any penetration at all. Chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin like a sponge which causes a chemical reaction to take place and converts the heat which dissipates from the skin. Depending on what type of SPF you get (oil, cream or sprays), always apply 30 mins to an hour before you are exposed to the sun. Make sure you rub into the skin and do not miss out areas like the ears, back of the neck, nose, feet, chest, and neck as these can often be forgotten.

How much should I use?

For the body you need about a shot glass or two table spoons worth. For the face, apply two lines of sunscreen directly onto your index and middle fingers first, starting from the base of the fingers to the very tips. Then you use this to apply to your face and neck.

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