SPF. The most essential skin care of all.

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Slapping on the baby oil then basking until you felt the burn… it’s unthinkable now, isn’t it? Sunbeds have (thankfully!) given way to St Tropez, and now we all don’t think twice about serious sun protection when we hit the beach.

But what about the rest of the time? If you want to protect yourself against long-term damage –both premature aging and pigmentation, and more dangerous changes – then you should wear SPF every single day. UVA rays are the same strength all year round and cause about 80% of ageing. But how? And why? Skip a para if you’re not interested in the science, but for those who are…

Why is sunlight dangerous?

UV light damages molecules in our skin and causes them to become free radicals, including oxygen free radicals – the worst kind! What’s a free radical, do we hear you ask? Think back to those chemistry lessons… they’re atoms with unpaired electrons. This makes them unstable – they ‘want’ to pair their electrons, and will ‘steal’ electrons from other atoms, including other oxygen molecules or worst of all our own collagen, elastin, red veins walls or pigment cells.

And this is where the science matters – in the long-term, UV damage and subsequent free radicals results in wrinkles, redness, red veins, uneven pigmentation… and an older-looking you.

The key to anti-aging is SPF

The miracle cure for looking younger for longer? Prevention. Unfortunately for those of you who haven’t started yet, it’s true. Prevention really is better than cure, but it’s never, ever too late… there are SPFs ideal for all skin types, including skin that already shows signs of pigmentation and premature aging. But more about that a little later…

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How does SPF work?

There are two kinds of SPF – physical and chemical. Chemical barriers are the variety most of us are used to. They take about 30 minutes to penetrate into the skin to the layer where they work. As the light hits the skin the UV radiation is diffused, protecting your skin. However, this reaction gradually reduces the effect of the SPF, so you need to remember to reapply regularly – not good if you’re wearing makeup. These chemical options can also cause allergic reactions in sensitive skins.

Meanwhile, physical barriers literally provide a protective barrier between your skin and sunlight. These sun protections contain no chemicals, sitting on the surface of the skin and working immediately as they are applied. When the sun hits the skin the UV radiation is literally bounced away like a mirror so no UV enters the skin.

Barrier vs. chemical – which is best?

Well, that’s up to you. It’s worth bearing in mind that some people are sensitive to chemical SPF and the reactions they cause as the UV light breaks them down – so if that’s you, a barrier is much safer. Add in the fact that barriers stay effective for longer, and you can guess which many of our practitioners wear themselves.

But won’t a barrier leave me all, well, white?

In a word, no. Physical barriers have come on leaps and bounds, and are now comfortable, light and wearable – ZinClear even does a tinted one. But a barrier isn’t the end of the story, because however good your SPF, it will only block around half the free radicals. So what else can we do?

Amazing antioxidants

Antioxidants neutralise free radicals so they can’t damage our collagen, elastin, red veins and pigment cells – so for the very best anti-aging protection we need antioxidants in combination with physical SPF.

And there’s an added extra benefit of antioxidant products… their ability to stimulate new collagen and elastin. This means that as they protect, they gradually plumping lines and wrinkles and healing scarred areas. Brilliant, no?

Our favourites?

  • Best for aging skins –  Epionce spf 50
  • Powerful against pigmentation –  Epionce spf 50
  • Perfect for acne-prone skin – Antioxidant soothing serum and zinclear spf30
  • Ideal for adding radiance – C Lipioc antioxidant and Epionce spf 50
  • Gentle for sensitive skin  – Agera MagC and Epionce spf 50
  • Perfect for balancing oily complexions – Zinclear

Ready to stock up for the Summer? It’s best to pop into your clinic to get your practitioner to prescribe your perfect product – though those available to buy online are displayed as links above.

How should you wear it?

It’s amazing how few people know how best to apply SPF, so here’s the low-down – ever single day, even in winter because UVA, the damaging rays are present all year round. Apply your SPF after skincare but before makeup, and don’t forget hydration first to ensure antioxidants can act effectively – we love Advanced B5 serum.

Finally, if the weathers’ warm, reapply throughout the day. Don’t want to ruin your make-up? Or favourite top up is the brilliant On the Go Finishing powder – mattifying with a SPF barrier of 30, provides a little cover as well as the protection you need.

So that’s it. You know all about SPF and why it really, really matters! And if you haven’t found your perfect protection yet, why not reserve your place at your clinic’s Beauty Uncovered event? These exclusive events are running throughout April, and if you stock up on two products, we’ll give you a FREE prescription facial.

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