Keeping skin healthy in the sun

A little sun goes a long way to boost our spirits, and a sun-kissed glow can do wonders for our confidence. We sure do want to feel a little more radiant - especially after the wet days of spring and the lockdown blues. Here are some of our top tips for keeping skin bursting with health for the long summer days ahead.

Staying safe in the sun

A good sun protection lotion is essential for all the family, even if you are someone who tans easily. The sun’s rays can be harmful to all skin types whether light, dark or medium, young, mature or in the middle! Here is a quick guide to UVA and UVB rays, and the best protection  for your skin type.

UVA is short for Ultraviolet A and refers to radiation from the sun with fairly long wavelengths. These rays penetrate below the skin’s surface and are responsible for skin-ageing, DNA damage and long-term skin damage.
UVB stands for Ultraviolet B – rays which have shorter wavelengths. UVB rays damage the outermost layers of the skin causing burning and redness.

Remember: A for Ageing and B for Burning. Both types of rays will cause irreversible damage to the skin, so preventing damage is best with an all year round skincare regime to protect your skin no matter the weather.

My skin is very fair, and easily burnt so I use an SPF15 all year round, and SPF30 in the summer. I have friends with warmer, darker skintones who wear factor 50 as they want to keep the signs of ageing at bay as long as possible. It really does differ for everyone, however Ultrasun tell us that choosing the right SPF is really important and a number of factors should be taken into account – your skin type, the sun conditions and the level of protection you’re planning to use. They say that skin that is not used to the sun is less able to protect itself so a higher SPF should be chosen. Under the influence of UV rays, the skin begins to thicken and starts producing melanin. This process can take 10-20 days, so use extra protection while your skin is adjusting to the sun. Clothes and cover ups don’t offer sun protection, rays can still reach through thin layers so always pop your sun cream on even when covering up in the direct sun.

Undetectable to the human eye, nanoparticles are tiny particles commonly found in transparent sun screen (amongst other products). They are used increasingly to boost chemical reactions in manufacture of products reducing the quantity of catalytic materials necessary thus saving money and reducing pollutants. However – research is ongoing, and there are concerns around the particles entering the blood stream as well as altering DNA. Ultrasun products  only use Titanium Dioxide (nano) in their products and non nano Zinc Oxide which they advise on their website are safe to use. “It’s about getting a good balance between the feeling on the skin and vital Nano research, and we’ve achieved this.” – Ultrasun

 

Our Green People range of organic sunscreens also contain titanium dioxide nanoparticles. They say “The use of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in our organic sun lotions was not a decision that was taken lightly here at Green People, but after our extensive research we are completely confident that they are safe to use..

Shade sunscreen is ‘nano-free’, as is Jason suncare – they are both completely free of nanoparticles.

 I am awaiting details from Yaoh on the use of nanoparticles in their range.

The star rating system is a UK only initiative, and is owned by Boots the chemist. It is a measure of the amount of ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) protection. You will see a star rating of up to 5 stars on UK made sunscreens on brands that partake.

The ‘star-rating’ system is not the only way to tell if a product offers protection against UVA rays. The European Cosmetics Association COLIPA have designed a symbol which is shown below to indicate whether products offer UVA protection in line with the Recommendations of the European Commission.

The recommendations of the European Commission states that, the claimed UVA protection factor should be 1/3 of the claimed SPF number, Green People Sun Lotions exceed this. Jason products do use the star rating, and are 4 star plus, Shade are rated 4-5 stars but do not partake in the rating system formally. Yaoh do not have a star rating either, but all of our brands show the European Commissions symbol.

 You will notice that the Ultrasun range does not have a rating as they are made outside of the UK they do however state the importance of looking for the UVA filter % – of which their products all deliver a long lasting UVA filter that protects at over 85% throughout the day, setting industry leading standards. 

 

Sealife and nature loving people will want to make sure their sunscreen is not doing any damage to our natural environment, so key things to look out for are the ‘reef safe’ or ocean friendly labels. Ultrasun is the first sun protection brand worldwide to be awarded the BASF EcoSun Pass, the ultimate test of environmental impact for sun protection products. All Ultrasun products are free-from any filters of concern making them reef-friendly, ocean and marine life safe, and therefore suitable worldwide including in Hawaii and Palau.  Green People’s range is completely reef-safe too, and free of any toxins that may be harmful to the environment. Our Yaoh range is vegan, cruelty free and 100% natural however does not state if reef-safe. Shade mineral sunscreen is 100& reef-safe and has the least ingredients of all our range with just four active ingredients.

There are two types of sun cream: chemical and mineral. Chemical sunscreen penetrates the skin and offers protection by dissipating UV rays, while mineral sunscreen sits on top of your skin and reflects UV rays away from the body.

 

In our range you will see ones that work in the ‘chemical’ way with clean, natural ingredients such as Ultrasun, Organic Green People, Yaoh and Jason. We also stock Shade which uses four simple ingredients and is a mineral sun cream.

You should consider using a very high sun protection factor when pregnant since your skin tends to be more sensitive, melasma and other kinds of hyperpigmentation are more of a possibility and can become more pronounced when you’re exposed to the sun. The whole Ultrasun range is safe to use throughout pregnancy, as are our Green People, Yaoh, Jason and Shade ranges. Always check with the manufacturers recommendations when using any skincare products during pregnancy.

Prickly heat (or miliaria rubra) is an itchy rash of small, raised spots accompanied by a stinging or prickling sensation on the skin. It can be caused by sweat trapped in the skin. Normally, sweat travels to the surface of the skin through tiny ducts. If the ducts become narrowed or clogged, the sweat is trapped in the skin. It can be very uncomfortable, but your skincare products can help soothe it. 

Aloe Vera can help in easing rashes caused due to prickly heat. It lessens the inflammation and soothes redness, and I have found paw paw lotion very good too and easing any burning sensation. Suncare products like Ultrasun Family 30 is very soothing on the skin, and Green People’s organic sun lotion is also very good for easing the discomfort.

Non-comedogenic indicates that a product has been formulated to avoid causing clogged pores. Many sun sensitivities and allergies are caused where sun cream blocks the pores and the skin is not able to breathe. Mineral oils and silicones can contribute to blocking of the pores. All Ultrasun products are non-comedogenic and free-from mineral oils and silicones, as are Jason products, Yaoh and Green People. 

If you fancy a sun-kissed look but would rather avoid the rays completely how about a skin loving, moisturising fake tan? 

 

The active ingredient in most sunless tanning products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). When applied, dihydroxyacetone reacts with dead cells in the skin’s surface layer to temporarily darken the skin, this typically wears off after a few days. We have some fantastic long-lasting self-tanning products that are derived from plant sugars and not loaded up with horrid toxins. Green People’s organic self-tan is recommended by the Beauty Director of Harpers Magazine, and is quick-drying and non greasy. It contains 89% certified organic ingredients and will leave skin soft, supple and with a golden glow. Lavera’s  self-tanning lotion offers a naturally radiant tan for a sun-kissed look. Containing organic sunflower oil and organic macadamia nut oil it gives your skin an even, naturally beautiful tan and intense moisture. 
It is important to remember that most self-tanning lotions do not contain an SPF, therefore will not protect against the sun’s rays so don a gorgeous hat and sunnies when out in the sun! Even better, apply an SPF as well daily, this will hydrate your skin and help to prolong your faux glow.

Your sun protection products should be applied to clean, dry skin BEFORE any other skincare products and reapplied as directed.

 

Always apply it AT LEAST 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun and at least 30 minutes before applying other skincare products (including makeup, perfume, creams etc). We often see people applying sun lotion when sitting in the sun however direct sunlight increases evaporation before it’s had a chance to bond with the skin, reducing its power to protect. 

 

Many lotions are formulated to be applied just once a day, but as Ultrasun say…..this isn’t a license to bake, no one should be out in the sun all day. Be sun savvy, take shade breaks, avoid the sun during 11am -3pm and keep hydrated.

Aftersun products are not just for soothing painful sunburn, they can actually help to keep that sun-kissed glow long after the sun has gone down and will help keep skin supple and smooth.  Look for products that include aloe vera to soothe and cool the skin, and ingredients such as coconut, shea, almond, rose or calendula for great hydration.Our favourites include aloe vera gel by Pura Aloe, Dr Hauschka After Sun and Green People Organic aftersun lotion.

Don’t forget the power of nutrition to keep your skin in tip top shape! 

 

Antioxidants such as vitamins (vitamin C, vitamin E) and flavonoids play the main role in fighting against free radicals that are the main cause of numerous negative skin changes. Green and black tea have for a very long time been used to boost health, and many of our customers attribute their good skin to regular use of matcha green tea and other herbs. Aloe vera, along with collagen, biotin and hyaluronic acid are all believed to stimulate skin and assist in new cell growth.

 

Eating a rainbow of colourful foods is a great way to make sure you get lots of nutrients in your diet! 

Every Friday in store we have Beauty Chat with Lucia, a dedicated session for all things beauty!

Pop by and see me for any skincare advice, or send any questions my way. I offer FREE consultations by Zoom or over the phone. Click on the logo to find out more!

Comments?

We'd love to hear from you on Facebook and Twitter.