SPF – All You Need to Know

Here Comes the Sun!

When it comes to protecting your skin against harmful sun rays and ultraviolet radiation there are two options. The first is to stay in a darkened room and not leave the house for the whole summer – no fun and probably completely impractical. The second option is to invest in the right skincare products for your unique skin type and combine optimum protection with developing a long-lasting, lovely glow.

The Facts

There are two different types of ultraviolet radiation – UVA and UVB, with UVA rays penetrating deeply into the skin while the shorter UVB rays burn the surface. Sun Protection Factor or SPF measures the level of protection a product will give you from UVB. It is recommended by The British Association of Dermatologists to always use a minimum of  SPF 30 which blocks 97% of UVB.

UVA radiation penetrates into the dermis – (the layer of skin beneath the outer layer or epidermis) which is where the capillaries and collagen are found. This triggers the production of free radicals which are reactive, unstable compounds causing damage to skin cells. In turn, this causes a breakdown of collagen resulting in the skin losing strength and elasticity. The capillaries then become visible through the skin, known as thread veins or spider veins. Further results of photoageing (when collagen is destroyed by UVA radiation) also manifests in fine lines, wrinkles and brown spots.

It is worth noting that the damaging effects of sunlight can also occur in winter and even indoors, as UVA rays are not blocked by ordinary window glass. This is why, to be effective, sun protection should be worn all year round to maximise the benefits of it for your complexion and well-being.


The Harsh Reality

The 1970s and 80s saw sun-worshippers everywhere returning from holiday with deep, bronzed tans thanks to the sunshine on the Riviera, Bahamas or the Mediterranean. Everything was wonderful as people slathered on their sweet smelling tanning oils and low SPF lotions in a bid to obtain that all-important chestnut brown skin shade. However, with the rise in global warming and issues with the ozone layer, people now understand how dangerous sun rays are for people everywhere.

Sun damage shows itself in the form of dull, saggy skin with uneven pigmentation, wrinkles and rough patches becoming prevalent, especially in people who have exposed their skin to the sun with little or no protection. Research shows that both UVA and UVB play a role in the development of skin cancer.

The dangers of over exposure to the sun has seen the development of skin care products which offer protection from harmful sun rays even on a cloudy winter’s day. Research has also shown that people who use sun protection from a young age (starting from childhood) are less likely to develop sun related skin conditions – particularly those who live in warm and hot climates.

Top Tips

Although darker skin tones are not as susceptible necessarily to skin cancer, they can have a tendency to develop hyper-pigmentation and free-radical damage. If in doubt, always apply sunscreen.

Clothing only protects us from approximately 40% of UVA and UVB rays, so it is worth applying sun protection even if you’re wearing a cover-up on the beach.

Most sun damage occurs before the age of 18 years and signs like fine lines and wrinkles can begin to appear from as young as 20 years. Even from a young age, apply one ounce of sunscreen (about a full shot glass) liberally to the body and continue to reapply.


The Solution

CLARINS offer products for both men and women which are both nourishing for the skin and provide protection all year round, offering sun protection for both face and body. Their UV+ ANTI-POLLUTION SPF 50 sunscreen protects from UV rays, free radicals and city pollution on a daily basis come rain or shine. The formula is rich in plant extracts with a fine, translucent texture; keeping your skin looking young and radiant while preserving an even skin tone.

From ClarinsMen comes a NEW formula: UV Plus SPF 50 UVA/UVB, suitable for all skin types and designed specifically for men. Ideal for the city and outdoor sports, this multi-tasking facial treatment provides protection from UV damage and the environmental factors present in urban environments.

French brand Caudalie (one of the beauty industry’s best kept secrets) offers a range of sunscreen products ranging from SPF 20 to SPF 50, also for face and body. Their Soleil DivinAnti-Aging Face Suncare SPF 50 offers high protection for those of you, both young and more mature, who are exposed to strong sun rays. Specially formulated to be non-sticky, this wonderful product will help you develop and maintain an even, radiant tan.

So remember – use sunscreen, in the winter and inside, because these days, even the sun has got his hat on!

For further information or to try our range of sunscreen products please drop into our Bath and Wells salons or call us on Tel: 01749 672225 (Wells salon) and 01225 478478 (Bath salon.)