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Why you should be wearing SPF every day

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Why you should be wearing SPF every day

You need to wear sunscreen every day, regardless of weather. We’ve heard this time, and time again, but why is it so important? As a brand based in Scandinavia, where the winter takes up the majority of the year and the UV index is often low, it can be hard to understand. Let’s break down exactly why you should be applying SPF, even in the dead of winter, the difference between UVA and UVB rays, the difference between chemical and physical sunscreen and more. 

Understanding UVA + UVB rays

To understand why you need to use SPF every day, it’s important to understand the difference between UVA and UVB rays. We like to think of it like this: 

UVA = Ageing
UVB = Burn 

UVA rays have longer wavelengths compared to UVB rays and can therefore penetrate deeper into the skin. They are also present all year round and can penetrate clouds and glass, so even if there isn’t any sun in sight, they affect your skin and can result in premature ageing and the development of lines and pigmentation. In contrast, UVB rays are the kind that can lead to sunburns and skin cancer, being more intense during the summer and at higher altitudes. When checking the weather app, the UV index refers to UVB rays, so even when it says 0, that doesn’t mean UVA rays aren’t wreaking havoc on your skin. This is why we are so often told to apply SPF every day. You can read more about UVA + UVB rays here. 

What does the number on SPF mean?

SPF, which stands for sun protection factor, comes in different levels of UVB protection described by numbers, such as SPF 50, 15, and 30. Here's what the numbers typically mean:

  • SPF 15 offers moderate protection. The number indicates that the sunscreen provides 15 times the skin's natural protection against UVB rays. For example, if it takes 10 minutes for your skin to start turning red without sunscreen, using SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically extends that time to 150 minutes (10 minutes x SPF 15).
  • SPF 30 offers high protection, providing 30 times the skin's natural protection against UVB rays. 
  • SPF 50 offers very high protection, providing 50 times the skin's natural protection against UVB rays. 

Regardless of which level of SPF you choose to use, applying enough to adequately protect your skin, and reapplying throughout the day are key. 

Chemical vs physical SPF

There are two main types of SPFs, chemical and physical. The difference between the two lies in their active ingredients and how they protect the skin from the sun's harmful UV radiation. Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients, usually zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, that create a physical barrier on the surface of the skin that reflects and scatters UV radiation away from the skin. They are effective immediately upon application and are less likely to cause skin irritation or allergies compared to chemical sunscreens, and are therefore often recommended for people with sensitive or acne-prone skin. One of the downsides of physical SPF is that it can leave a white cast on the skin, making it tricky to use for individuals with darker skin tones. There are however newer formulas that minimise this risk. 

Chemical sunscreens contain organic, carbon-based compounds as their active ingredients that work by absorbing UV radiation and then converting it into heat, which is then released from the skin. In contrast to physical sunscreens, chemical sunscreens are often more lightweight, apply more easily and don’t leave a white cast. Which of the two you should choose is mostly based on formula preference.

The SPF / The Daily Shield: sun protection, elevated

Hopefully you are aware that we have our own sunscreen, The SPF / The Daily Shield. The development of our advanced sun-protective moisturiser took three years, simply because we felt it had to be perfect and suitable for as many skintypes as possible. The formula features high-protection, broad-spectrum, chemical SPF 50, combined with antioxidant-rich and skin-caring sea buckthorn extract and vitamin E to nourish and protect the skin. It doesn’t leave a white cast, making it suitable for all skin tones, has a non-comedogenic formula, which means it doesn’t clog pores and is ideal for acne-prone skin, and it doesn’t leave skin feeling greasy or sticky, but rather healthy and radiant. It can be used both as a traditional SPF on top of moisturiser, or you can simply replace your moisturiser with The SPF / The Daily Shield thanks to its nourishing ingredients. On top of all this, it is also reef-safe. 

Reef-safe SPF: What is it?

The term reef-safe SPF refers to formulas specifically designed to minimise their impact on coral reefs and marine ecosystems. Traditional sunscreens, particularly those containing certain chemicals, have been found to contribute to coral bleaching, which can harm and disrupt marine life and fragile ecosystems. Our own sunscreen, The SPF / The Daily Shield, while being a chemical SPF, contains no harmful chemicals. 

How to apply SPF on the face

The quality of your SPF and how many days a year you apply it becomes somewhat negated if you do not use enough product. While recommendations differ, as do needs depending on the surface area you wish to protect, generally, more is more. In other words, you can’t really use too much. You should be aiming for about half a teaspoon of SPF to properly protect your face. But to simplify things and avoid reaching for a measuring cup, we suggest following the three-finger rule. Apply a generous line of SPF on your index, middle and ring finger to cover your face and neck. Make sure to apply The SPF / The Daily Shield 20-30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every 2 hours and after every swim to ensure maximal protection all day long.

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