Sunscreen is the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth since the 1930’s. Even an abundance of anti-wrinkles creams won’t help, if you neglect to protect your skin against the sun’s harmful rays. Daily use of this liquid armor is powerful enough to maintain natural glow and skin’s elasticity through the aging process. Taking preventative measures also reduce risks of developing skin cancer and premature aging as a result of accumulated exposure and presumably harmless tanning under today’s UV ray intensity.
“The immediate effects of sun exposure can include redness, sunburn and flaking skin. However, in the long-term UV damage causes poor texture and sallow complexion, brown spots, fine lines, wrinkles and ultimately scaly, red, patches,” says Dr. Susan Mayou, a dermatologist and an Honorary Lecturer at Imperial College London .
Experts urge regular use of a sunblock even when the sun’s strength seems the weakest. Dr. Mayou recommends a teaspoon of SPF15 or higher on the face all year round. “Just because the sun isn’t hot in January doesn’t mean it isn’t there!”
In the summer, SPF should be increased accordingly. Our skin suffers from the misconception of a healthy tan when we ditch the winter paleness and the sunscreen altogether. In fact, suntanned skin is a sign of visible cell damage caused by extensive contact with UV rays when the sun is at its peak.
THE SUN PROTECTION FACTOR (SPF) indicates the length of time a sunscreen protects your skin from reddening. The more time you spend under the sun, the SPF of your favorite youth potion must increase. The effectiveness of the SPF highly depends on sufficient application required for maximum protection and repeated use throughout the day, as the sun tends to quickly break down the barrier of some sunscreens. On a daily basis, dermatologists recommend using SPF 15 moisturizers. For outdoor activities, use chemical and physical sunscreens containing at least SPF30+ and Zinc Oxide (wide spectrum and high in SPF).
CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN - absorbs the UV rays. It is superior to physical sunscreen in absorption of the UVA (aging rays). However the chemical might be as irritating to your face as it sounds and also may trigger pigmentation. Best for outdoors but not for the face, this type of sunscreen requires frequent application.
PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN - the more natural sunscreen that shields the skin by deflection or blocking the UVB rays that cause burning. Daily use of a broad-spectrum (UVB and UVA) sunblock widely available on the market is the best for the face underneath makeup as it allows skipping reapplication. Experts say the less chemical ingredients, the better.
Photography by Masha Maltsava; styling by Tiffani Chynel; hair and make-up by Victor Noble using Covergirl; model: Christina Gottschalk / One Management.