With the effects of the sun much less obvious on those overcast Bury days, forgetting about the importance of proper sun protection is understandable. Alarmingly, though, up to 80% of harmful UV rays still reach us, even when the sun is covered by cloud.
Living in the UK, it’s easy to become complacent, leaving our skin vulnerable to the damaging effects of UV radiation. Let’s take a look at why daily SPF is essential all year round – come rain or shine.
As we’ve already touched upon, the sun’s radiation is present even when you can’t see or feel it, and UV damage can lead to a range of health issues from sunburn and skin ageing right through to skin cancer.
Allocating an extra 5-10 minutes into your morning routine to apply sunscreen is a powerful protective health measure, and there’s plenty of research to support this. For example, skincancer.org notes that even using an SPF15 sunscreen daily can lower your risk of skin cancer by 40-50%.
Regardless of skin tone or where you live, daily SPF is essential. But for certain groups, making sure to stay protected each day is particularly important.
For example, people with pale skin, freckles, a lot of moles, and those who burn easily should take extra care. Daily SPF is also essential for individuals with a family history of skin cancer, as well as those who have skin issues as a result of a medical condition.
If you’re unfamiliar with the jargon, picking out a great SPF product can feel like a stab in the dark. Luckily, the numbers and symbols you’ll find on sunscreen bottles aren’t too difficult to decode. Essentially, there are two key things you should be looking out for:
– SPF. SPF, or sun protection factor, refers to the extent to which a product protects you from ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. Sun protection products can be rated from SPF 2+ to SPF 50+, with 2+ offering the lowest amount of protection, and 50+ offering the greatest. Dermatologists tend to recommend that everyone uses a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30+.
– Star rating. A product’s star rating tells you how much ultraviolet A (UVA) protection it offers. This is rated on a scale of up to 5 (with 5 providing the best protection).
A great SPF product will be ‘broad spectrum’, boasting an all-encompassing combination of UVA and UVB protection. Crucially, broad spectrum SPF products offer the greatest protection against most issues linked with UV exposure, including skin cancer.
For expert advice tailored to your skin type, or to find out more about why daily SPF is so essential, pay a visit to our local pharmacy in Bury. Our team of pharmacists will be happy to advise you on the perfect products to suit you and your family.
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