The sun is shining and in this week’s blog is about SPF and protecting your skin. There are many misconceptions about SPF and we are going to give you a rundown of all things SPF, its benefits and use.

What is SPF?

SPF stands for sun protection factor and is a legal rating. It only applies to the sun’s ultraviolet B rays, known as UVB rays. These are the rays that burn the skin. We use SPF to protect our skin from burning when out in the sunshine. SPF ranges in numbers from SPF10- SPF 50 and sometimes even SPF 100. However it can get confusing as to what the numbers relate to. Some will believe that using the highest SPF is the most superior. A higher SPF doesn’t indicate superior sun protection—it indicates that you will remain protected in the sun for a longer amount of time. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays from the sun also pose risks. They age the skin and contribute to skin cancer. SPF alone does not protect against UVA rays. In order to get the best sun protection possible, look for a sunscreen that provides both UVA and UVB protection and for best protection a broad spectrum SPF is key.

SPF – Is it important

Skin cancer rates are soaring. A recent study has revealed that in recent decade’s cases in men have increased five-fold, and rates in women are up 250% – with new cases predominantly appearing in those over 35.

Skin cancer is the fifth most common form of cancer in the UK, and it is estimated that 86% of cancer cases are caused by excessive exposure to the suns damaging UV rays. Many more cases caused by UV radiation are from tanning beds or lamps. Protecting skin has never been more important and this is where SPF comes in.

Protecting skin

Broad spectrum SPF use should be a non-negotiable part of all skin regimes.  We tend to think SPF is only needed when there is sunshine, however SPF should be worn daily. Just because we do not see the sun or feel the heat UVA and UVB rays are still hitting our skin. If we do not protect our skin, one of the skin conditions we will notice as we age is pigmentation. This skin condition is very difficult to treat and unfortunately you can never get rid of it. We can only manage it that the pigment colour decreases and that we do not damage the skin further.


We advise reapplying your sunscreen every 1-1.5 hours to ensure continuous protection from the sun. It should be applied to all exposed skin on the body, including the entire face and neck, as the very last product in a skincare regime.

For adequate protection, we should be using approximately two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimetre of skin. In reality, this means applying the equivalent of a shot glass (two tablespoons) of sunscreen to exposed areas of the body with a 2cm sized blob to the face alone.

Dry sunscreen such as Jane Iredale’s Powder me SPF is easy to use whilst quick on the go. You can brush it over the exposed areas, but remember you do need to reapply!

Beyond SPF

In addition to wearing and regularly reapplying sunscreen, certain topical and oral skin care containing active vitamins and antioxidants will further help to protect skin from the sun. Vitamin A, for example, has photoprotective properties.

Antioxidants complement the benefits of sunscreen by helping to defend against the free radical damage that accompanies UV rays. Free radicals are highly active and unstable molecules that can start a chain reaction of skin inflammation and damage, leading to premature skin ageing and even serious skin health issues. Vitamin C and Vitamin E are great antioxidants as they help protect the skin from free radical damage.


Remember to wear your SPF daily to protect your skin and to reapply every 1.5 hours for best protection. If you would like to learn more about which SPF products will suit your skin best, book in for a free skin consultation at the salon

Posted in

Ana Harmony

Leave a Comment