Holiday season is upon us! No doubt you’ve been getting ready to jet off somewhere exotic or have been making the most of the glorious weather we’ve been having here at home! Whatever your plans it’s important to stay safe in the sun because although we might love the effect the sunshine can have on our mood and vitamin D production, our skin certainly does not share the same feelings! Sure it’s great to be able to walk out in shorts and get a lovely tan but it’s important to wear sun protection in order to make the most of the gorgeous weather without costs later on.
When shopping for suncream there’s a few things you should be looking out for. There are 2 types of UV rays which can harm our skin: UVB rays which cause our skin to burn and UVA rays which can penetrate the skin more deeply and play a role in premature aging and skin cancer. The SPF rating on the front of suncream bottles represents the protection that the product will give you from UVB rays only, as it was once thought that these were the only rays to be concerned about. We scientists now know that this is no longer the case so before buying a product to take on holiday, make sure it gives protection from UVA rays too to help keep off signs of aging for longer!
So what ingredients are important to look out for in suncream to get the best all-round protection?
The best all-round ingredient is Titanium dioxide. This chemical compound can absorb the strong UV light from both UVA and UVB rays providing broad range of protection as it sits on the surface of the skin and acts as a barrier. Titanium dioxide is often found in beauty products as in the same way as it can protect your skin it also protects products from breaking down when exposed to UV rays.
Another great molecule to look for in a sun protection product is Avobenzone. This molecule absorbs light in the UVA spectrum and so gives protection from UVA rays. However, avobenzone breaks down from its protective enol form into a keto form in the sunlight which gives no UVA protection at all! This is why it is important to reapply suncream throughout the day! As avobenzone can absorb some UVA rays at wavelengths that titanium dioxide cannot, its best to have both in the mix to provide full protection.
There are many other ingredients with protective effects (which you can check out here: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/uva-and-uvb/understanding-uva-and-uvb) but titanium dioxide and avobenzone are 2 easy ones to remember when you’re out shopping for holidays! Why not go and check out any suncream bottles you have around the house to see if you can find these magic molecules?
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post below, I’d love to know what you think! But for now, enjoy the sunshine! It’s not often you can blog on your balcony in a bikini in Manchester so let’s make the most of it!