We all know we should be applying SPF when we spend a day out at the beach, but is it really necessary the rest of the time? Sure, if you live in Arizona or Australia, you likely need to apply it morning, noon, and night, but here in cloudy Britain, how often do you really need to use SPF? Today, we’re clearing up all the myths around SPF and sun damage for those living in the UK, to show you why daily SPF is essential all year-round.
What is SPF?
SPF, or sun protection factor, measures the amount of solar energy required to cause the skin to burn someone wearing sunscreen versus unprotected skin. For example, an SPF 30 sun cream, when used as intended, can prevent an impressive 97 percent of UVB from getting to (and damaging) the skin. A sunscreen of SPF 50 typically blocks 98 percent, however higher SPFs don’t last any longer than sun creams with a lower SPF number and should be reapplied just as frequently.
Why is daily SPF essential?
There are a number of reasons why daily SPF is essential. No sunscreen is entirely effective at protecting you from burning or skin damage, but wearing sunscreen can increase the amount of time you can safely be outside. Wearing the right SPF can reduce your risk of being sunburned and even contracting skin cancer, so it’s important for your overall health, too.
SPF can also prevent premature skin aging. UV sun damage causes photoaging of the skin, which often results in the skin developing a thick, leathery, even discoloured look. Skin with sun damage may also suffer a breakdown of collagen, the protein responsible for preventing lines, wrinkles, and sagging of the skin.
SPF sunscreen also helps you maintain an even skin tone, preventing discolouration and dark spots caused by sun damage.
Should I be wearing SPF all year-round?
We have a lot of overcast weather here in the UK, and many of us don’t bother wearing sunscreen unless it’s sunny outside, if it happens to be included in our moisturisers or makeup. But did you know that up to 80% of the sun’s rays are still absorbed by your skin, even when it’s cloudy outside?
We know what you’re thinking: “do I have to wear SPF in the winter?” and the answer is yes. Surprisingly, snow can nearly increase how much ultraviolet radiation hits your skin by double! For this reason, you should be applying SPF every day of the year, even if it’s cold outside and even if you’ll only be outside for less than 30 minutes. This advice is especially important if your skin is naturally pale or sensitive to sunlight.
Should I apply SPF more often when it’s sunny outside?
You should certainly be more conscious of it, yes. SPF protection does not last all day, so you can’t apply it once and forget about it. If it’s a hot summer day or if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outside, make sure you reapply your SPF every 3 hours or less. Check out our latest blog post for other ways that you can protect yourself from the sun, as well as how to choose the right SPF:
How long does SPF last?
SPF only works properly for about 2 hours, so you need to reapply it regularly. It’s also important to note that SPF loses it’s effectiveness overtime, so it’s time to throw away that bottle you’ve had in the cupboard for 5 years and get a new bottle. It’s recommended that you replace your SPF bottle when it expires (they have a use-by date) or after 3 years, though if you’re using it as much as you should be, you should run through it much faster.
Where can I find the right SPF for my skin?
At Hodgson Pharmacy in Longfield, Dartford, we prioritise our customers’ health. We know that this year has brought about a lot of change and that many of our valued customers are looking forward to a long-awaited and well-earned summer holiday. That’s why we sell SPF and after-sun for all skin types. We are also happy to advise you if you have any queries about sunscreen and skin health.