Ultraviolet radiation is responsible for hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, sagging, and other signs of ageing. Sun protection prevents an overwhelming majority of these signs.
Once upon a time, fair complexions were celebrated as the most beautiful. While this remains true within most Asian cultures, Western cultures have spent the last 50 years promoting the tan as a symbol of health, wealth, and happiness.
We now know that the sun in fact causes an acceleration of the ageing processes within our skin. Out of all the ageing factors under our control, sun damage accounts for the highest percentage.
How does the sun damage my skin?
Sunlight is a mixture of several different types of light, all of which have different energies. The two types of sunlight that cause significant damage to our skin are:
- Ultraviolet A (UVA)
- Ultraviolet B (UVB)
Both UVA and UVB light have high energy. When these rays contact a surface like our skin, the energy is passed on. Whereas some levels of energy cause us to feel warm, higher levels of energy cause burns and genetic mutations, leading to permanent damage.
UVB light causes damage to the top layers of skin, usually in the form of sunburn. Remember 'B' for 'burning'. UVA light causes damage to the deeper layers, where structural proteins such as collagen and elastin are found. Remember 'A' for 'ageing'.
While it's vital to protect your skin against both kinds of UV light, UVA is most responsible for photo-ageing. Collagen and elastin form a framework that keeps skin plump, firm, and youthful. When these proteins break down, they become rigid and slow to regenerate, resulting in lines, wrinkles, and sagging.
Sunscreen is the most cost-effective anti-ageing cream on the market.
UVB protection: The SPF indicates how well a sunscreen protects against UVB light. Dermatologists recommend a minimum SPF of 30, which stops 97% of UVB rays from reacting with your skin.
UVA protection: The star or PA rating tells how well a sunscreen protects against UVA light. To get the best protection against UVA light, you'll need to look for one of these two ratings. The highest ratings for UVA protection are PA+++ and five stars.
We recommend the following high-protection sunscreens for daily facial application:
- Jurlique SPF 40 PA+++ High Protection Cream
- Clarins Sunscreen Control Cream – Very High Protection SPF 30 Face
- mesoestetic dermatological sun protection SPF 50+
... and the following high-protection sunscreens for bodily application when needed:
- La Roche–Posay Anthelios XL Spray SPF 50+
- Clarins Sunscreen Care Spray – Very High Protection SPF 50+ Body
It's important to remember that sunscreen gradually loses effectiveness after you apply it. Because sunscreen works by reacting with UV light, the chemicals becomes neutralised after a period of exposure. Your need to reapply the product depends on the time of day, the season, and your level of exposure to direct sunlight.
If you require any further guidance on sunscreen choices or application, our skincare experts are available through our skincare recommendations form.