Despite how many times they’re told, people tend to forget how old I am. No, not because of my vibrant personality, or my typically Australian demeanour, but because I have youthful skin (even with my one wrinkle you can see on my Instastories from time to time).
Now, I turn 35 in two weeks and when people find out (or are reminded) there’s always that surprise, as they thought I was in my mid-twenties. And as much fun as I had a decade ago, I’m quite happy being in my mid-30’s thank you very much!
As an Aussie, the importance of sun protection makes up part of my DNA. The sun is hella strong in Australia, given holes in the ozone layer and all that, and so all throughout the year we are exposed to campaigns for protecting ourselves from the sun every single day - even in winter!
These days, sun protection and skin care are simply part of the Australian culture.
We're taught what are the best times to avoid the sun, exactly what tanning does to our skin, and how to protect ourselves in general. In fact, tanning beds and sun beds are actually banned in Australia - that’s how seriously we take our skin protection.
And all those tanned Aussies you see? Well, I used to be one of them, and trust me when I say those natural looking tans weren’t. Personally, I used Dove Summer Glow whenever I was tanning for approximately one month every summer.
Anyway, it actually came as quite a shock to me when I moved to the UK to see how many people had an unhealthy relationship with skin protection - there were sun beds everywhere, and people would be bragging about their natural tans they got from hours on the beach!
One friend of mine in London was actually developing skin tags from his excessive sunbed use and was asking me for advice!
My advice? Use fake tan!
And they wonder why Aussies look so young…
Protecting our skin from sun damage is so so so important not only to prevent premature ageing, but to prevent life threatening skin cancers. And although you can get SPF 15 in your foundation these days, let’s be honest, that’s really not enough. And sure, it’s always cloudy or rainy in the UK, but that doesn’t mean the suns harmful UV rays aren’t able to touch you.
So today, for #SkincareSunday I’m going to give you a few facts about why upping your SPF, wearing protective clothing (such as hats), and generally being a bit more sensible about our relationship with ol Sol up there, is so important.
Did you know?
- Heat from the sun is caused by infrared rays which can’t burn you, however your skin is damaged by UV radiation which can’t be felt. This is why you can be burned on cold, overcast days.
- UVA Radiation can pass through glass. That’s right, just because you’re not outside, beneath the suns gloriously warm rays, doesn’t mean you’re protected.
- Both UVA and UVB radiation contribute towards skin cancers and melanomas. This is why it’s essential to use a broad spectrum SPF that protects against both forms of radiation.
- It is impossible to block out 100% of UV radiation, with SPF 50 only offering 98% protection protection. That's why it's important to wear hats, or to cover up, to help protect you from that other 2%.
- Water, snow and sand all reflect the damaging rays of the sun, so even though it’s snowing, doesn’t mean you’re safe from sun damage.
- Sunburn is skin that has been damaged, right down to its DNA. But did you know, tans are also skin cells that have been damaged my too much UV radiation? That’s right - there’s no such thing as a naturally healthy tan.
- Some medications and skincare can cause your skin to be extra sensitive to the sun (photosensitivity), meaning they increase the risk of your skin being damaged by the sun. Again, why it’s important to always be protected!
- Sunscreen only lasts for roughly two hours, as the skin uses the protective agents over that time until there’s none left. And if you’re sweating or swimming? It won’t even last that long.
- Lips, ears, and eyes can get sunburnt too! It is just as important to ensure these are protected when being exposed the the sun.
Spending time in the sun is important for our wellness, our mental health, and our vitamin D intake. However, disregarding harmful UV radiation and is incredibly dangerous. Remember to always enjoy the sun responsibly and as us Aussies say - Slip, slop, slap!
xx Bry Jaimea