As much as we all love the sun and spending time outdoors, our skin doesn’t always take to it so kindly. Failure to protect your skin from the sun can go far beyond sunburn and as May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to brush up on your SPF knowledge.
Skin cancer and SPF go hand in hand – it’s hard to talk about one and not the other. Back in 2018, the UK had the fourteenth highest rate of skin cancer diagnoses in the world, which may seem surprising for a country that only sees an average of 1495 hours of sun per year. Even if the sun doesn’t shine, the dangers of skin cancer are still as present as ever but there are ways to protect yourself.
What Is SPF?
SPF stands for sun protection factor and is used by manufacturers to describe the level of protection a product offers your skin. Dermatologists recommend using products with SPF 30 as an absolute minimum as this will provide your skin with protection from the sun’s rays, but the SPF you should use ultimately depends on you as a person. The sun emits UVA and UVB rays, both of which have the potential to damage the skin and contribute to premature ageing.
If you are pale, freckly, and more likely to burn after being exposed to the sun, you should be using stronger SPF products. If you have darker skin and don’t burn very often, SPF 30 is still advised. Just remember, whether you’re susceptible to sun damage or not, everyone should apply SPF on a daily basis.
Yes – daily! UVA rays can penetrate clouds and glass, so if you’re only leaving the house for a little while or you’re sunning yourself indoors, you should always protect your exposed skin. In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion around whether or not SPF in makeup is enough, but experts suggest that it isn’t. SPF deserves to have its own spot in your skincare routine and this will ensure that you are provided with the most protection.
What Does SPF Have To Do With Skin Cancer?
When your skin burns, it becomes tender, red and uncomfortable. This short-term discomfort is mainly caused by UVB rays and it’s your skin’s way of warning you against potential long-term damage. The more you get sunburnt, the less able your skin is to repair itself. Lack of SPF protection and overexposure to the sun can result in premature ageing and even skin cancer.
Using SPF, whether it’s in specifically formulated moisturisers or suncream (sunscreen) is the most effective way to lower your risk of contracting skin cancer. Always endeavour to