Summer is officially over here in the UK, which means the majority of us will be returning our suncream to that shelf in the bathroom cabinet until it’s called upon for next year’s holiday.
But did you know that your sun protection regime shouldn’t change between summer and autumn?
1. Know how the sun affects your skin
According to Cancer Research UK:
“There are 2 main types of UV rays that damage our skin. Both types can cause skin cancer: UVB is responsible for the majority of sunburns. UVA penetrates deep into the skin. It ages the skin, but contributes much less towards sunburn.”
An easy way to remember this is:
Now obviously, the chances of us getting sunburnt from a drizzly Autumn day feel slim. However, the sun’s UV rays are damaging all year round, regardless of whether it’s 10 degrees or 30 degrees outside. Even in the dead of winter, cuddled up underneath your cosy blanket, those thin rays of sunshine are still causing harm to your skin and increasing your risk of skin cancer.
But I don’t want to apply sunscreen every day! I hear you cry. So here are 3 low maintenance ways to keep your skin protected during spring, autumn and winter:
2. Keep your lips topped up with an SPF lip balm
We all know that horrible feeling of chapped lips in the colder months, but did you know that sun exposure could be causing some of the dryness you experience?
Using a lip balm with built-in SPF protection is a good way of keeping your lips moisturised and protected against harmful UBV rays.
3. Avoid 'combi' creams, or creams with SPF
There’s a lot of focus on ‘SPF’, but this only blocks the first kind of UV ray: UVB.
UVB is what gives you that painful red sunburn, but actually UVA rays penetrate deeper into your skin (that’s what your sunglasses are blocking from getting into your eyes.)
Now, I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking you'll buy a day moisturiser with SPF. Right?
Moisturisers need to work at a lower level, whereas sun protection needs to work on the top of the skin. Therefore you mustn’t have them combined.
Did you know?
It's better to wear a lower level suncream and apply more regularly than wear a higher protection.
SPF 15 blocks 93% of rays.
You’d think SPF30 would provide double the protection of SPF15, but its actually only 4% more (and it contains a much greater level of potentially harmful chemicals.)
4. Know when you’re at risk
Ideally, we should all stay inside between 10am and 4pm, when the sun is at the highest point - but who actually wants to do that? Especially in Autumn and Winter when it’s chilly, wet and or snowing, a bit of sunshine is just what the doctor ordered.
Just be aware that things like water puddles and snow reflect the sunlight back to you. That means double the UV rays coming your way. Snow is especially bad, as it can reflect up to 80% of UV light back again.
You should also know that whilst most fabrics will block UV light, not all fabrics do. If you can see light through a piece of fabric, it means UV rays can see through it, too. So don’t assume that just because you’re layering like Kanye, you’re covered. Stick to these rules of thumb:
Dark clothes block UV rays better than light coloured clothes
Close knit is better than loose knit
Long sleeves are your friends
5. Know how much you need
You actually only need a shot and a half (so 32.5ml) of suncream to cover your entire body. Doesn't sound like a lot, right?
Probably because only 55% of people are able to correctly identify the amount you actually need.
So next time you go lathering it on - stop and think about how much you need to use.
Cancer Research UK: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/sun-uv-and-cancer/how-the-sun-and-uv-cause-cancer