Most of you know the importance of wearing sunscreen in the summer months. However, as ultraviolet (UV) radiation is present every day, you should wear sunscreen all year round. This short article tells you why and how you should protect your skin from the sun and will convince you that natural sunscreen is a skincare product absolutely worth adding to your daily routine!
The sun emits three different types of UV-radiation, that all have the ability to damage your skin: UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. Each type affects your skin differently.
+ UV-C is mostly absorbed by the ozone. Although these rays are highly bioactive, we are not exposed to significant levels of UV-C.
+ UV-B can reach the epidermis – the outermost layer of the skin – and can cause sunburn. You can remember UV-B as “Burning-rays”. In addition, UV-B can cause eye damage.
+ UV-A can penetrate the dermis – the layer beneath the epidermis – and can cause premature aging, wrinkles and sunspots. You can remember UV-A as “Aging-rays”.
Exposure or overexposure to both UV-A and UV-B is a major risk factor for nearly all skin cancers. Thus, protecting your skin is important to avoid sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer.
Sunscreens are formulations that contain some kind of UV-filter or -blocker and have been recommended as a form of protection against sunlight. Sunscreens inhibit the transmission of UV-radiation into the skin in different manners, depending on the type of sunscreen. Both chemical and physical sunscreens stop UV-rays from penetrating the skin, but they work quite differently:
+ Chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin and then absorb the sun’s rays. Chemical sunscreens contain different active ingredients (i.e., oxtinozate, avobenzone)
+ Physical sunscreens sit on top of the skin and reflect UV-rays. The main active ingredients in physical sunscreens are the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Whether you use a chemical or physical sunscreen, choose a formula that is broad spectrum (meaning that the product protects from both UV-A and UV-B rays) and has a SPF of at least 30. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and refers to the theoretical amount of time it takes for the skin to burn with that sunscreen versus without that sunscreen. For example: if your skin starts to redden in 20 minutes without sunscreen, applying a natural sunscreen with SPF 30 increases that time by a factor of 30. It means that it takes 30 times longer to reach redness of the skin compared to no sunscreen at all. Although SPF tells you something about the protective efficacy of a sunscreen, the proper way to use the product – in terms of applied amount and regularity of reapplication – is even more important:
How much sunscreen should you use?
You need a significant amount of natural sunscreen. The recommended sunscreen application thickness is 2 mg/cm2, which is equal to 6 teaspoons to apply on the whole body of an adult. You need half a teaspoon to get the best protection for your face.
How often should you apply your natural sunscreen?
In general, every two hours. However, as the strength of the sun varies during the hours of the day, the time of the day should also be considered in reapplication.
Making SPF a part of your daily routine should be easy with the different products available:
+ Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen SPF30
This natural sunscreen lotion offers broad spectrum protection from the sun’s UV-A and UV-B rays using Non-Nano Zinc Oxide as its active ingredient. In addition, this product is packed with antioxidants including Organic Green Tea and Rosehip Oil.
+ Little Urchin Natural Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 50+
This product, with Non-Nano Zinc Oxide as its active ingredient, protects from both sunburn (UV-B) and premature skin ageing (UV-A). It’s fortified with a blend of deeply hydrating ingredients and antioxidants, to help protect and moisturize your skin.
You can apply foundation over both of these SPF products, but ensure the products are fully absorbed into your skin first to prevent the SPF from becoming diluted. If you are looking for make-up that already includes an SPF, we recommend:
+ Little Urchin – Natural Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30
This multi-functional natural sunscreen not only provides broad spectrum protection, it also replaces your foundation by offering a gorgeous warm tinted tone to your skin.
+ INIKA Organic – Loose Mineral Foundation SPF 25
This product can be worn alone or over liquid foundation (or other skincare products) for an even and long-lasting finish. In addition, the naturally derived Titanium and Zinc Oxide formula provides sun protection. Available in 10 shades for every skin tone.
+ Hurraw! SUN protection SPF15+ Lip Balm
Nourishing and calming for you lips, packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients and ingredients that heal damaged lips, whilst protecting your lips from the sun. Perfect, right?
Enjoy the sun safely! Besides using natural sunscreen or make-up with SPF, wear sunglasses and/or a hat, limit time in the midday sun and use shade wisely. Or as we say Down Under... Slip on a shirt, Slap on a hat, Slop on some sunscreen... Slip, Slop, Slap.
Discover more Natural Sunscreen options in the Nourished collection
+ Elsner, P. et al. Recommendation: Daily sun protection in the prevention of chronic UV-induced skin damage. Dt. Dermatologische Gesellschaft Journal. 2007, 5(2): 166-173.
+ Robaee, Al, AA. Awareness to sun exposure and use of sunscreen by the general population. Bosnian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences. 01 Nov 2010, 10(4):314-318.
+ Serpone, N. et al. Inorganic and organic UV filters: Their role and efficacy in sunscreens and suncare products. Inorganica Chimica Acta. 15 Feb 2007, 360 (3):794-802.
+ Schalka, S. et al. Sun protection factor: meaning and controversies. Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia. 2011; 86(3):507-515.
+ Petersen, B. et al. Application of sunscreen – theory and reality. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine. 2014; 30: 96-101