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Sunscreen for the Face: How important is it?

According to Cancer Research UK, the risk of developing melanoma is around three times higher in people who have had sunburn just once every two years. Even reddening of the skin or tenderness is a sign of sun damage

Cancer Research UK also found that a staggering nine out of 10 cases of skin cancer can be prevented by using a high factor sunscreen. Therefore, it’s clear that the best way to protect ourselves from dangerous UV rays is to wear sunscreen when laying out in the sun. 

Furthermore, people in other countries around the world, especially those that have warmer climates, tend to wear sunscreen all year round and it is in fact a common element of their skincare routine. Knowing all of this raises the question, ‘should we be wearing sunscreen all year round?’

Pamela Hamilton, Skin Educator for Millie.ie says, “Yes! It is so important we wear SPF all year round. Your face and body are exposed to UV radiation every day through clouds, rain, glass, sun or snow. Everyone, men, women and children over the age of six months should wear it everyday all year round. Not only is SPF the most important part of our skincare regime, it reduces the risk of melanoma by 50%! Going unprotected on an overcast day can lead to as much damage as to a sunny day. “

Sunscreen for the Face – How Does Sunscreen Work?

There are two basic types of ultraviolet rays that reach the earth’s surface. These are UVA rays and UVB rays. UVB rays are responsible for producing sunburn and they play the greatest role in causing skin cancers, including malignant melanoma, whereas UVA has a longer wavelength and is associated with skin aging. 

Sunscreen works by blocking and absorbing UV rays through a combination of physical and chemical particles. These physical particles, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are used to reflect UV radiation from the skin, whilst at the same time the chemical ingredients in sunscreen react with radiation before it penetrates the skin, absorbing the rays and releasing the energy as heat. 

Pamela Hamilton, Skin Educator adds, “Remember not all sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays. You must look closely at the SPF you are buying, what is on the label and the ingredients. Make sure your SPF is labelled Broad Spectrum, which means it contains a combination of ingredients to protect you from both rays.”

“Furthermore, when it comes to SPF, there are choices of filters. Always go that step further with your sunscreen, ensuring high protection from UVA UVB and other environmental factors such as pollution, infrared, blue light(eg: computer) and glycation.”

Sunscreen for the Face – Benefits of Wearing Sunscreen on Your Face Daily

We know that wearing sunscreen during the summer months in the UK is vital for protection against damaging UV rays, but are there any additional benefits of wearing sunscreen on your face daily?

Adding sunscreen to your daily skincare routine is fantastic for preventing premature ageing, helping reduce blotchiness, preventing tan lines, and finally, lowering the risk of skin cancer. Alongside this, wearing sunscreen on your face daily can also help you avoid inflammation and redness, along with stopping any DNA damage that may occur. 

Another reason to wear sunscreen on your face daily is due to the fact that even when it’s overcast, up to 80% of the Sun’s UV rays are still being absorbed by your skin. So while the rest of your body may be protected by layers of clothing, your face can still suffer the consequences if it is not fully protected. 

However, Pamela Hamilton warns, “be aware of expiry dates on your SPF and if your SPF has been exposed to direct sunlight. The ingredients in the formula can break down and render them ineffective and sometimes will irritate the skin.”

Sunscreen for the Face – How to Choose the Perfect Sunscreen for Your Skin

There are two distinct types of sunscreen used in skincare: Physical and chemical. Both types of filters absorb UV Rays, converting them into heat energy.

Physical sunscreens can both reflect and scatter a percentage of UV rays away like a mirror. Physical sunscreens can absorb up to 95% of the UV rays they are protecting from.  Physical sit on top of the skin and block rays at the surface.

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