Wearing sunscreen every day is a crucial part of your skincare routine, and without it, you are exposing the sensitive skin on your face to unnecessary damage from sun exposure. The UV light emitted by the sun steadily and silently damages the skin all year-round, whether it is sunny or overcast, sunscreen needs to be worn daily. Leaving your skin unprotected against the sun’s UV-B and UV-A rays can result in signs of premature ageing.
UV-B rays are short, high energy wavelengths that penetrate the dermis layer, which causes redness and swelling. As a result, this leads to freckling, pigmentation, and age spots. UV–A rays penetrate slightly deeper into the layers of the skin and attack the DNA cells of the dermis, this is what causes premature wrinkling and sagging, which has more long-term damaging effects on the skin.
Regular use of sunscreen has the ability to slow down the signs of ageing. To protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays, it is vital that you apply an SPF between 30 and 50 daily. However, hope is not lost – as research has shown that it is possible to reverse signs of ageing and sun damage with the correct usage of these skincare products.
Chemical VS Physical Sunscreen
The main difference between chemical and mineral sunscreens can be found in their ingredient lists. To better understand the differences between chemical and mineral sunscreens:
Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the UV rays as it enters the skin which is then transformed into heat and released as infrared rays. These products are generally more lightweight in consistency, leave no white cast on the skin, works well under cosmetic products applied to the face and is an easy product to re–apply throughout the day.
Whereas physical sunscreens contain more natural agents like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are known to leave a white cast on the skin that is more visible, because of their heavier consistency. These active minerals sit on top of the skin deflecting damaging radiation, rather than absorbing them.
Since both physical and chemical sunscreens are considered effective, it all comes down to personal preference, your skin type and what product you will use consistently. A sun protection factor of 30 filters out about 97% of UV-B rays, thus it is recommended you use sunscreens with broad-spectrum coverage of 30 or higher. This protects your skin against UV-B rays that cause burning/inflammation and UV-A rays that cause lasting damage.
Why should you be wearing sunscreen every day?
Applying sunscreen every day should be the foundation of your skincare routine. Here are some reasons why:
1. It prevents premature signs of ageing.
UV radiation causes the premature breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles. Regular sunscreen application protects the skin against photoaging, which is the wrinkling, spotting and loss of elasticity caused by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
2. It reduces the risk of hyperpigmentation.
Sunspots are caused by hyperpigmentation and are typically flat areas of discoloured skin that can be different shades of brown. Hyperpigmentation is when your skin is darkened in patches due to changes in the production of melanin, which gives skin its colour. UV radiation damages pigment-producing cells called melanocytes, resulting in the overproduction of melanin.
3. It helps prevent skin cancers.
UV radiation is the top risk factor that causes skin cancers. The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer and melanoma. Consistent application of sunscreen will increase your skin’s protection from the sun’s UV rays and will lower the risk of developing cancer cells on these areas of the skin, which is why you must apply sunscreen every day.