Why you should use SPF all year round

Róisín Cullen

Skin cancer was discovered in the 1800s by the same French doctor that invented the stethoscope, but the importance of SPF protection is a relatively new concept.

Sunscreen appeared on the market in the 60s although early forms like “Coppertone Suntan Cream” had existed since 1938. The “Coppertone girl” helped to popularise sun protection in the 50s. (Three-year old Jodie Foster kicked off her acting career in a Coppertone commercial.)

However, it took until 1972 for the sun protection factor to appear on labels. The dangers of sunburn didn’t sink in for generations of people. A ‘good tan’ was a sign of a successful sun holiday and sun cream was not a beach bag essential.

Today, most skincare products now offer their users SPF protection. The basic advice has been recited to us from a young age: stay in the shade, avoid midday sun, use sun protection and wear a hat.

Autumn rays are the strongest in the summertime, but can cause skin damage all year round. More worryingly, UVA rays penetrate through clouds, fog, even glass.

Some medications make people more susceptible to skin damage. Looking for skin protection that offers ‘broad spectrum’ protection is now more important than ever before. The number of deaths from skin cancer has doubled since the 90s.

UVB protection can be extremely white when applied. Brands like Avene have included tinted moisturiser in their products to make them more appealing to the consumer and easier to include in a daily skincare/makeup routine. Avene’s Tinted Mineral Fluid offers an SPF of 50.

It protects against both UVB and UVA rays, making it the perfect addition to your makeup bag all year round. The bottle may seem quite small when first purchased. Luckily, with this product a little goes a long way. Too much of the product can give a ‘caked on’ appearance.

Applying a thin layer before application of makeup is the best port of call. The product retails at around 22 euro, meaning some students may be put off by the price. Skin protection is a lifelong investment. No anti-ageing cream can truly reverse signs of sun damage, although they may claim to.

La Roche Posay brought their own competitor into the broad spectrum protection competition. Their Anthelios XL Comfort Tinted Cream also has an SPF factor of 50. Tinted cream is often key when it comes to sunscreen for sensitive skin.

Elave’s Sensitive Sun Cream is a prime example of this. Retailing at around 20 euro, the product offers ideal sun protection all year round. However, the cream is extremely pale and thick. It can leave the consumer looking pale, regardless of the weather.

Róisín Cullen

Image Credit: Flickr