Sunshine: Protecting your skin no matter the weather
Updated: Oct 11, 2020
Sunny days during winter are so magical. We look forward to those rare days to enjoy every sun-kissed moment.
But, a common oversight is to think that sun protection is not as important in the winter as it is in the summer.
It is the ultra violet radiation (UV) from the sun that is the cause of sunburn, skin ageing, eye damage and skin damage leading to skin cancer, not heat from the sun.
The sunlight that reaches us is made of two types of harmful rays; long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and shortwave ultraviolet B ( UVB).
responsible for causing skin damage such as skin ageing and wrinkles.
penetrate deep into the skin’s thickest layer which is called the dermis.
Think A = ageing
responsible for causing sun burn
play a key role in developing skin cancer
These rays usually burn the superficial layer of the skin.
Think B = burning
Over exposure to either of them is damaging to the skin.
UV can’t be seen or felt. Because of this, it can be damaging even without us knowing it at the time. Often, the UV index can be higher on cloudy cool days.
The need for sunblock is determined by the strength of the UV rays and not the heat or intensity of the sun.
Most weather apps display the UV index for the day. The UV index measures the strength of UV radiation. If your weather app doesn’t display the UV index for the day, head over to My UV to check it.
Cancer Council Australia recommends that we wear sun protection when the UV index is 3 or higher. Remember 3 is the key number when it comes to UV!
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN PURCHASING SUNBLOCK
Choose sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Note: the SPF factor only refers to the ability to deflect UVB rays
Make sure it is broad-spectrum which means it offers both UVA and UVB protection.
Make sure it has a valid expiry date
Choose a natural, mineral based sunscreen that contains zinc oxide as an active ingredient. This sits on the surface of your skin forming a barrier against UVA and UVB rays.
Avoid sunscreens that contain any parabens or fragrances.
Finally, compliment the sunscreen with other means of protection such as sunglasses, hats, protective clothing and shades when you are outdoors.