SFP (sun protection factor) can be one of the best and most affordable ways to try and minimise skin damage and prevent lines and wrinkles associated with photo damage. Daily exposure to the atmosphere allows absorption of UVA and UVB rays through our skin, even on a cloudy day.
UVB rays affect the outer layer of skin known as the epidermis. It is the foremost agent causing sunburns. UVA however is responsible for the long term damaging effects on the skin (premature ageing) and is not filtered by glass. This type of ray is the type that will have an undesirable effect on the skin ultimately even when sitting in a window seat of a car.
Both UVA and UVB rays cause skin wrinkling by breaking down collagen at a much faster rate than normal ageing, causes build up of free radicals and reduces the skin’s ability to repair itself. Excess UVA and UVB absorption triggers melanocytes cells releasing excess melanin in a uniformed manner, thus creating the well know brown spots and hyper pigmentation we frequently see.
Choosing an SPF:
SPF can measure the amount of UVB protection while there is no specific measure for UVA absorption. However best practice would be to choose a broad spectrum SPF of at least 15 protecting against both UVA and UVB rays. Ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are well known to protect against both rays.
If ones daily moisturiser does not include an SPF then use of a sunscreen on top of the moisturiser will help. There are also mineral make up foundations such as ‘bare minerals’ which contain minerals that are physical sun screens offering further protection.
It is clinically proven that the daily use of a low SPF (15) is more effective at preventing photo damage than intermittent applications of high level SPFs.
The moral of the story really is to apply SFP no matter what your daily beauty routine is. It will prevent skin damage, minimising some wrinkles, keeping the skin tone even and much more hydrated. Ultimately the results of treatments such as Botox will be enhanced when not addressing photo damaged skin.