‘The sun will prematurely age your skin’ is a sentence we hope, by now, you’ve heard before. Ultra Violet light is responsible for 90% of visible skin changes, also known as Photoaging, where the sun prematurely ages the skin and causes fine lines and wrinkles. Feel less guilty about sleeping in your makeup and more guilty about walking around with no sun protection on a cloudy day.
There’s a lot of jargon around sun protection, and you probably think that wearing sunscreen with a high SPF is the key to protecting your skin, but unfortunately, as with everything concerned with the skin, it’s more complex.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measurement of how well you’re going to be protected from harmful Ultraviolet B rays (UVB) the sun emits that cause burning and skin cancer. Protection against UVB rays is vital for your health and safety. However, the sun also emits Ultraviolet A rays (UVA) which are responsible for wrinkles, ageing and pigmentation. It was only in the last 30 years that people realised just how damaging UVA rays were to the skin. The average sunscreen previously only focused on UVB coverage; unfortunately, for some sunscreens, this also still hasn’t changed.
The key to knowing if your sunscreen will protect you from UVA rays is through a Protection Grade of UVA (PA) rating, which is an indicator of protection against UVA rays. The PA rating was developed in Japan in the ’90s and is now used on many products globally. You need to look for a PA rating of 4+ for maximum coverage with a minimum of 3+.
Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects you from UVA and UVB rays. Using a product that protects you from just UVB rays isn’t enough. An SPF rating is essential for your protection against burning and skin cancer, but you also need to ensure this product protects you against UVA rays, and the way to measure that is through the PA rating.
Please also remember that sunscreen isn’t something that should just be worn when it’s sunny and that everyone needs protection from the sun, no excuses. You need to wear it all year round, even on cloudy days when you feel you can’t see the sun, as clouds don’t protect you from the rays penetrating into your skin. Wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen daily with the correct PA rating is the greatest anti-ageing tool.
A personal sunscreen favourite in-clinic is by Isntree, an incredible Korean skincare brand. It’s incredibly hydrating without being greasy and has a PA rating of 4+. We also recommend the Heliocare oil-free gel sunscreen if you like glowy hydration.