It’s a typical Maltese summer… the sun’s rays beat down mercilessly, and it’s easy to feel your bare skin burning under the near unbearable heat. Days spent at the beach, taking a refreshing dip in the sea are welcomed by many, and hopefully we all have a bottle (or two!) of sunscreen in our bags to protect our skin from UVA and UVB rays, along with a hat, and some protective clothing, or perhaps you prefer taking cover under the shade of a large beach umbrella.
Sunscreen is the one skin care product that many people seem to forget to apply, especially during the colder months. Most will argue that sunscreen is unnecessary on cold, windy, cloudy days, because if you can’t see the sun, then its rays can’t be harmful, right? Wrong! Sunscreen needs to be worn every day, rain or shine, because ultraviolet rays can very easily go through clouds, causing skin damage without us even noticing.
So, what are the benefits of sunscreen?
Sunscreen protects our skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, which play a large part in causing skin damage. This includes photo-ageing… yes, spending too much time in the sun can actually make your skin age at a faster rate, causing premature wrinkles, sagging, and hyperpigmentation. Sunscreen can also help protect us from the risk of skin cancer, which can occur due to over-exposure to the sun, without adequate protection. Painful sunburns can also be avoided when we use a good factor sunscreen.
What do we need to look for in a good sunscreen?
When choosing your sunscreen, it is important to read the labels to see if it is suitable. Words to look for are:
SPF (a.k.a Sun Protection Factor): This is a numerical indication of the level of protection provided by the sunscreen. These range from 15 (medium) to 50+ (very high). For short trips in cold, cloudy weather, an SPF 15 might be suitable, but for hot, sunny days, it is important to use a high SPF.
Broad Spectrum: any good sunscreen will be labelled as being “broad spectrum”, meaning it will protect skin against both UVA and UVB rays.
Water Resistant: This is especially important for anyone who sweats a lot or is going to the beach. A water-resistant sunscreen will stay on skin for a longer period of time, even in water.
Is it easy to find a sunscreen to suit my skin’s needs, as well as my lifestyle?
Sunscreens are now available in a variety of textures, and for all skin types. Whether you have dry, normal, combination, oily, or even sensitive or sun-allergic skin, and whether you want to use it during a shopping trip, a workout, or on a day splashing in the sea with the kids. For children, using a specially formulated sunscreen would be advisable, although it is important to not leave babies in direct sunlight at any part of the day. Many foundations also contain SPF!
Nowadays, it’s easier to find the right sunscreen to satisfy your personal needs.
How often should I apply sunscreen?
Sunscreen should be applied at least half an hour before leaving the house, and then every 2 hours or so after. When at the beach, re-apply sunscreen every time you come out of the water, and after towelling off.
So, don’t forget to fit sunscreen into your daily skin care routine, and to make sure every member of your family is well protected, this summer, and throughout the year!