How does sunscreen work?
- Sunscreen works by combining organic and inorganic active ingredients.
- Reflecting chemical ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium oxide reflect or scatter ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
- Absorbing chemical ingredients like octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC), avobenzone or triazine absorb UV radiation, dissipating it as heat.
The best sunscreens protect us from the two types of damaging UV radiation: UV-A and UV-B. Both UV-A and UV-B cause sunburn and damaging effects such as skin cancer.
Ultraviolet radiation is divided into three types of wavelengths:
UV-A: This is the longest wavelength and is not absorbed by the ozone. It penetrates the skin deeper than UV-B, and passes through glass and clouds.
UV-B: Responsible for sunburns. It is partially blocked by the ozone layer and glass.
UV-C: This is totally absorbed by the earth's atmosphere; we encounter it only from artificial radiation sources.
When choosing a sunscreen, the Sun Protection Factor or SPF measures how effectively the sunscreen formula limits skin exposure to UV-B rays that burn the skin. The higher the SPF the more protection the sunscreen will provide against UV-B rays. SPF does not measure UV-A. If you are looking for UV-A protection, the experts recommend that you purchase a product that has broad-spectrum protection and specifically states that it is EU compliant and contains UV-A protection.
Dr Lowe's Recommendations On Everyday Skin Protection
The golden rule is that if you want to keep your skin looking young and healthy and free of skin cancer, use a sunscreen everyday regardless of whether the sun is shining or not.
Your choice of everyday sun protection should always be a minimum of SPF 15 and contain UVA protection - tested to new EU standards. SPF number and UVA condition testing.
The daily protective products should be applied every morning after washing or showering to skin that is likely to be exposed to daylight, especially face, neck, chest, hands & arms. Apply one teaspoon amount to the face and neck and another for the upper chest and another for the hands.
The following day protective products are available through this website and Boots the Chemist:
- Dr Nick Lowe's Supercharged SPF 15 Day Cream (For Normal - Dry Skin) SPF 15 + UVA
- Dr Nick Lowe's The Secret Is Out Lifting Day Cream (For Mature & Dry Skin) SPF 15 + UVA
- Dr Nick Lowe's Double Duty Hand Cream SPF 15 + UVA
They can all be used as morning moisturising products, skin firming and protective products.
Dr Lowe's Recommendation On Summer & Outdoor Activity Sunscreens
In summer or during out-door activities where there is a high likelihood of exposure to direct sun light, a waterproof sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF + UVA protection is highly recommended. If you have olive skin, or darker, SPF 15+ UVA is sufficient protection.
Recommended Products would be:
- Ambre Solaire Sun Screan - SPF 30 with UVA
- Nivea Sun Spray SPF 30 with UVA
- Piz Buin SPF 30 with UVA
- L'Oreal Solaire Expertise Spray SPF 30 + UVA
In addition Dr Lowe also recommends that those with sensitive skin types consider wearing clothing and hats with additional sun protection qualities, such as those manufactured by 'The Sun Protection Company' and take Vitamin D3 (1000Iu a day) as a vitamin supplement because sun protected skin will not make enough vitamin D.
When To Apply Sunscreen
- Apply sunscreen approximately 10 minutes before being in the sun for best results so that it can be absorbed by the skin and will be less likely to wash off when you perspire.
- Remember to reapply sunscreen after swimming or strenuous exercise.
- Apply sunscreen often throughout the day if you work outdoors, and try to wear hats and protective clothing.
How To Apply Sunscreen
- Shake your sunscreen well before use to mix particles that might be clumped up in the container.
- Be sure to apply enough sunscreen. As a guide, if you are of average size, use about an ounce or a handful to cover your entire body.
- Apply the sunscreen thickly and thoroughly to all parts of your skin exposed to the sun, including the ears, back, shoulders, and the back of the knees and legs.
- Don't use two year old protective products as their sun protection potential will degrade over time.
- Do not leave your products in very hot places e.g. back shelves of cars or sunny windows ledges as they may deteriorate.