We all know how important it is to wear sunscreen during summer, but in reality we need to wear it ALL YEAR ROUND! In this post we’ll talk about why it is important to wear a daily sunscreen. We’ll also explore the difference between Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, the different ingredients that protect us from these rays, what SPF means, and the IMAGE Skincare Prevention+ Range. We’ll begin by looking at the difference between UVA and UVB rays.
Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation or rays is a type of energy, part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum, produced by the sun. However, unlike the sun’s light or heat, which you can see and feel, UV radiation is invisible to the naked eye because these rays have wavelengths between 290-400 nanometers (nm, or billionths of a meter), that is, shorter than visible light at 400-700 nm. These wavelengths are classified as UVA between 320–400 nm (long-wave), UVB between 290–320 nm (shortwave), or UVC (less than 290 nm). While most UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not reach the earth, both UVA and UVB penetrate the atmosphere and can affect us in a number of different ways.
Ultraviolet A (UVA) Radiation
I like to refer to UVA rays as ‘Ageing Rays’. They penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer and are accountable for 95% of the UV that penetrates our skin. Because of this, UVA rays are the leading cause of premature ageing, causing wrinkles and loss of elasticity and are a cause of, or major contributor to, every type of skin cancer! Just because you cannot physically see or feel the sun’s rays it doesn’t mean that they don’t affect you. Even on the cloudiest, darkest days, UVA is ALWAYS present and as, unlike UVB rays, you do not feel the effects of UVA rays damaging your skin, they are considered the sun’s silent killers. So it is important to wear a sunscreen EVERY SINGLE DAY to protect your skin against premature aging. The term ‘Broad Spectrum’ refers to a product being able to protect the skin from ALL UVA wavelengths.
Ultraviolet B (UVB) Radiation
With UVA rays being ‘Aging Rays’, I refer to UVB Rays as being ‘Burning Rays’. Affecting the skin’s top layer, they are responsible for sunburn and that ‘burning feeling’. The strength of UVB rays depends on your location, the time of day and the season. They are more prevalent during summer and on sunny days and, unlike UVA, UVB rays cannot travel through glass.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
Everyone knows that SPF is a measurement of sun protection, but what exactly does it mean? SPF, or Sun Protectant Factor, indicates how long your skin will be protected from UVB rays ONLY. The number that follows refers to the amount of time you will be able to stay out in the sun without burning. For example, if you normally burn after 15 minutes in the sun, then an SPF 30 will give 30 times more protection, meaning you have 450 minutes of protection. An SPF 50 will give you 50 x 15 = 750 minutes protection and so on. These figures are only a guide though, as many other factors can influence just how effectively your sunscreen works.
Key SPF Ingredients
ZINC OXIDE – A pure physical broad spectrum sunscreen agent that blocks, scatters and absorbs both UVA and UVB rays so that they cannot penetrate the skin. As zinc is a natural mineral, it is safely absorbed into the skin. A Sunscreen containing Zinc will often have a slight white hue and feel a little thicker than others, however technology has come such a long way these days that they have greatly improved the texture and thickness of zinc in sunscreens.
TITANIUM DIOXIDE – Very similar to Zinc Oxide, Titanium dioxide is a pure physical sunscreen that blocks, scatters and absorbs UV rays. It is great for UVB rays, but does not protect from UVA rays as well as Zinc Oxide does. It also can have a similar whitish hue.
OCTINOXATE & OCTISALATE – These ingredients are referred to as ‘UV Boosters’. They help to ‘thin’ out physical suncreen’s, allowing for a better spread and lighter feel, as well as improving the effectiveness of ingredients like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, resulting in a higher SPF rating. These ingredients are also known as ‘chemical sunscreen agents’, so if you want to stay away from chemicals and opt only for physical sunscreens then avoid products containing these two.
The Image Skincare Prevention+ Range
Currently around the world, Image Skincare has a range of 7 different sunscreen products. Here in Australia 4 of these are offered; Prevention + Daily Hydrating Moisturiser, Prevention+ Daily Matte Moisturiser (oil free), Prevention+ Daily Tinted Moisturizer (oil free) and Prevention+ Daily Ultimate Protection Moisturiser. All of these products are to be used as a daily MOISTURISER. Don’t even think of it as a sunscreen! They all contain a DNA Protection Complex to fight the signs of ageing and dehydration while having all the benefits of an SPF! In the following sections we discuss the key ingredients in each of these products and who they are best suited to.
PREVENTION+ DAILY HYDRATING MOISTURISER
This moisturiser has an SPF of 30+. It contains 18% Zinc Oxide to protect from both UVA and UVB rays and has an oil soluble form of Vitamin C for its antioxidant and hydrating properties, as well as Aqualance to improve the skin’s hydration. This is ideal for dry/dehydrated skins, or those who like the feel of a slightly heavier moisturiser.
PREVENTION+ DAILY MATTE MOISTURISER – OIL FREE
The moisturiser has an SPF of 32+ and is perfect for summer! This matte formula prevents excess shine, so is also great for combination or oily skins. It contains 9% Zinc Oxide and 7.5% Octinoxate. The micro-sponge technology absorbs oil throughout the day, while the DNA Protection Complex and Oil Soluble Vitamin C provide antioxidant properties, protecting the skin from free radicals and promoting skin cells longevity.
PREVENTION+ DAILY TINTED MOISTURISER – OIL FREE
A great daily moisturiser with a hint of colour that is easily spread and matched to your skins tone. It has an SPF of 30+ and contains 6% Tinted Zinc Oxide and 4.6% Titanium Dioxide, as well as a blend of Vitamin C, Vitamin E and the DNA Protection Complex.
PREVENTION+ DAILY ULTIMATE PROTECTION MOISTURISER
This super light-weight sunscreen is the perfect moisturiser for all skin types, especially those who hate the feel of sunscreen on their face! It has an SPF of 50+ and contains 9% Zinc Oxide, 7.5% Octinoxate and 5% Octisalate. With a blend of plant derived stem cells, Aqualance, Vitamin C and the DNA Protection complex, this little beauty is definitely a crowd favourite!
Hopefully by now you truly understand the benefits of wearing a daily SPF and just how important they are to prevent premature ageing, as well as sunburn, skin cancers, pigmentation…. the list goes on!
Pop into the Balwyn salon to test out the different IMAGE Skincare Prevention+ formulas for yourself and find the best fit for you and your skin. If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to contact Claire at Balwyn’s Luminescence Beauty Therapies.