England have made a promising start to their World Cup campaign and whilst the nation basks in a combination of hot weather and hangovers, we thought it an ideal time to get a little reminder on the perils of going unprotected. With temperatures set to soar in the coming days, we touched base with Kay Graveson – Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner and Founder of Regents Park Aesthetics – to get some expert comments and tips when it comes to suncare, and what we can do to help our skin. Take it away Kay…
The skin is the largest organ in the body and acts as a barrier to chemical and environmental factors in order to protect it. The science behind an amazing tan comes from a cell in the skin called a ‘melanocyte’. These are situated in the epidermis (top layer) of the skin and are made up of an amino acid called L-Tyrosine which is responsible for causing pigmentation and colour to the skin. When your skin is exposed to the sun, a Melanocyte-stimulating hormone comes into action and stimulates L-Tyrosine to produce more melanin via a series of reaction in the skin and communication between different cells, which eventually leads to a suntan.
Wearing sunscreen is important no matter what your skin type and what your lifestyle. Here are some tips for everyone to consider:
– Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects you from UVA (aging) or UVB (burning) elements of the sun
– Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outdoors
– Use at least an SPF 15 (darker skin tones, rarely burn) or SPF 30 (pale skin, prone to burning)
– A higher SPF doesn’t mean you don’t have to reapply; all sunscreens should be reapplied every 2 hours on average
– If you are regularly exposed to the sun or sunbeams then it is important to get regular skin checks; be cautious of any mole irregularities, changes, itching or bleeding.
If you are really sporty and spend a lot of time doing activities in the summer (such as swimming, surfing, cycling etc.), a water-resistant sunscreen is essential, as water and sweat affect sunscreen, meaning it won’t last as long. It is important to remember water-resistant does not mean waterproof; water-resistant sunscreens will protect you for around 40-80 minutes longer than standard sun protection but should be reapplied once you have left the water and dried off.
For those who love to tan, use a high factor, broad-spectrum sunscreen not only to stop you from burning but also to prevent premature aging and exposure to UVA rays. I see many people in their 40’s and 50’s who admit to loving the sun but are not using adequate sunscreen and come to me looking for anti-aging treatments. Skin damage won’t show straight away but will show later in life, therefore prevention is better than cure.
If you have paler skin tones and spend lots of time in the shade, this doesn’t mean you can skip using sunscreen; paler skin types burn easily and are more at risk from sun damage, therefore, need an SPF 30 or higher. Cloudy days are also not a safe bet at 80% of the sun’s rays can still penetrate the skin.
If you have darker skin tones, then you may tan easily and rarely burn as your skin has more natural pigmentation, and therefore have more natural protection from the sun. Your skin is still prone to sun damage and also at risk of more serious types of skin cancer like melanoma, therefore a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher is still important.
So to avoid having a bonce only a mother could love or recognise, here’s our pick of the best suncare on the market…
Garnier Ambre Solaire Sensitive Anti Imperfection Face Sun Cream SPF30
A great option for men with an oily, sometimes greasy complexion, this very reasonably priced face cream from Garnier is actually perfect for year-round use, yes guys it’s not just about the summer months. If you want to avoid going wrinkly early doors, then get in the habit of protecting on a 365 basis. This non-comedogenic formula is enriched with salicylic acid and ginger root extracts, great for blemish prone skin and with a mattifying effect for up to 8hrs it protects against the harmful UVB and UVA damage.
Ultrasun Very High 50+ SPF Face Anti Pigmentation Treatment
Ok if you’re late to the suncare party and are already seeing signs of damage then this little number from Ultrasun could be just the ticket. Designed to specifically target skin pigmentation it also works as a moisturiser reducing fine lines and wrinkles, all the while offering factor 50 protection from the suns harmful rays. A great addition to your travel wash bag.
Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily Defense SPF 50
What Kiehl’s don’t know about skincare, frankly isn’t worth knowing and if you’re looking for some lightweight protection for these balmy British days then this non-greasy broad spectrum formula is good an option as you’ll find. For many blokes, the key is avoiding a heavy thick sunscreen that clogs the pores and leads to a sweating and shiny face. With the addition of wrinkle reducing, dark spot protecting action, this sun cream is worth the wonga.
Coola Classic Sport Face SPF 50 White Tea
This award-winning, organic, antioxidant-rich formula is perfect for those with a propensity for an active lifestyle and anyone spending long periods in the gaze of the glaring sun. Water resistant for up to 80 minutes this fast absorbing, lightweight cream also contains Evening Primrose Oil and Linseed Oil for antioxidant protection while the addition of Safflower offers a moisturising effect all while not feeling heavy in texture. A powerhouse in the suncare department.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF 50+
Another great value for money option is this lotion from La Roche-Posay that is ideal for normal/combination skin, with it’s easily absorbed texture and lightweight formula it is also water resistant. Perfect for those younger men looking for an invisible finish that has high dose protection, great as a preventative measure for those looking to maintain their youthful, boyish charms well into later life.
For more pearls of wisdom head over to Kay’s website