SPONSORED FEATUREAccording to the Skin Cancer Foundation, just because you can’t see your shadow or a burning ball of sunshine in the sky, it doesn’t mean you're actually safe from the sun’s damaging rays. Although we've been programmed to associate holidays, exotic locations and cocktails with the need to layer up with sun protection, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can actually penetrate through clouds and fog; that means that stepping outside on a dreary winter's morning can potentially be just as harmful as a sunny spring day. Even more concerning is the fact that snow can reflect up to 80% of the UV light from the sun, meaning that you are often hit by the same rays twice. Who knew that building a snowman had the potential to cause as much sun damage as a lazy afternoon in Kavos? It's important to be mindful of looking after our skin (regardless of the season) not only because of the associated skin cancer risks, but because UV exposure is the number one reason for accelerated ageing; nobody wants to speed up the onset of those fine lines and wrinkles, so integrating an effective and lightweight SPF into your daily routine is the simplest tactic towards prevention. Facial SPF’s were once heavy, greasy and sticky and prevented makeup from applying well over the surface, but times have changed. Formula’s are now much lighter, more practical and designed to work in conjunction with other skincare and makeup. Hawaiian Tropic has nailed this with Silk Hydration Face SPF30, which not only offers an invisible finish, but up to twelve hours of moisturisation too.
Oil free and non-greasy, the delicately scented lightweight formula can be used as a daily protector under makeup - without causing products to slip. It provides high UVA and UVB protection to help protect skin from premature ageing and burning rays in one single application, while the pump dispenses the perfect amount of cream for one application. The formula itself glides onto skin, absorbing quickly to not only hydrate (the unique hydrating ribbons contain natural silk proteins and glycerine), but also create the perfect base for your foundation - there's no need for a primer! I'm always incredibly sceptical when it comes to facial sun creams, but this ticks all my boxes and integrates seamlessly into my routine.
Even more addictive is Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Body Butter Exotic Coconut, a delicious cream that's enriched with Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Avocado Oil to intensely hydrate for up to twelve hours. You may think after sun is just for the summer months, to be used to soothe sun-parched skin after a long day on a sun lounger, but you'd be wrong. After suns by their very nature are packed full of nourishing ingredients that soothe skin and leave it feeling refreshed. In the colder months our bodies are exposed to the elements and often find themselves parched of moisture; what better way to replenish that than with a rich cream that's designed to soothe, re-hydrate and nourish the skin? Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Body Butter Exotic Coconut definitely reminds me of summer, thanks to its subtle coconut scent, but that doesn't stop me slapping it on before bed.
In an effort to get you all using your SPF all year round, and to dispel some myths along the way, I've broken down some of the most common questions about sun care and provided answers that will hopefully make a difference. As a nation, we're all a bit rubbish at looking after ourselves in the sun, let alone in the colder months when we long to see that bright yellow ball again; education and knowledge is the first step on that journey to ensuring we're all using a daily SPF and looking after our skin in the best way possible.
WHAT IS A SUNSCREEN?
Sunscreen, sun cream, sun protection or sunblock is essentially a liquid that's applied to skin to prevent it from becoming damaged from UV rays, free radicals, sunburn or sun damage. It contains ingredients that absorb, reflect or scatter UV rays that can cause damage to the skin, enabling us to sit outside and enjoy the weather all year round.
WHAT IS AN SPF?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor - a technical and scientific measure of the effectiveness of the sunscreen. The higher the SPF, the higher the protection on the skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays.
HOW SHOULD I APPLY MY SPF?
Studies have found that most people apply less than half of the amount required to provide the level of protection indicated on the packaging. When applying SPF, make sure you're covering all areas of your body with a relatively thick layer of sun protection, waiting enough time (roughly 30mins) for the skin to absorb the product and enable it to start working.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UVA & UVB RAYS?
UVA rays penetrate the skin's surface, attacking free radicals (such as Vitamin A & E) and zapping our hydration levels. They also destroy the natural collagen and elastin fibres found in the deeper layers of the skin, which results in dreaded wrinkles and creases over a longer period of time. We're constantly exposed to UVA through any light source (be it your laptop screen, iPad or bedside light,) so we're at constant war with these invisible rays all year round. UVB are the super nasty rays that burn. Once these penetrate into the skin's surface, they can attack melanocytes, our natural cells that give our skin pigment. When these cells are under attack they become damaged and start to become abnormal; this is when skin cancer can start to form. A quick way to remember what they are is UVA = A for ageing. UVB = B for burning.
WHY DOES THE SKIN TAN?
The dark pigment that gives the skin its natural colour is called melanin. After our skin is exposed to sunlight, the skin produces more melanin to try to absorb further UV radiation, and so the skin becomes darker. A tan is actually a sign that the skin has been damaged and is trying to protect itself - so not necessarily a good thing!
WHY SHOULD I BE USING SPF OUTSIDE OF THE SUMMER?
As discussed above, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can actually penetrate through clouds and fog - with snow reflecting up to 80% of the UV light from the sun too. Potential damage from UVA and UVB rays isn't just limited to your summer holidays, so being safe and looking after your skin 365 days a year is paramount to a youthful and glowing complexion.
HOW SHOULD I APPLY MY FACIAL SPF - BEFORE OR AFTER SKINCARE & MAKEUP?
Any facial sun protection should be applied after skincare (you still want your expensive lotions and potions to penetrate and get to work in the most effective way possible, without a sun cream in the way!) but before makeup. Investing in a lightweight formula that doubles up as a primer (such as Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Face SPF30) will ensure makeup still applies seamlessly and lasts as long as you need.
WHAT DOES AN AFTER SUN ACTUALLY DO?
After Sun products will never reverse the sun's damage to your skin, but they do help to lock in moisture and aid in new skin cell turnover. They're often in gel, cream or lotion formulas and contain soothing, hydrating and nourishing ingredients - such as Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Avocado Oil in Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Body Butter Exotic Coconut. Essentially, they're just an intense version of a body cream so can be used every day of the year to look after your skin!
Although we're stepping into the festive season and start to think more about sparkly eyeshadow and the perfect shade of red polish, why not ask Santa for the gift of protected and healthy skin this Christmas? It's the gift that keeps on giving - and definitely not something you'll want to give back.
Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Face SPF 30 is priced £11.99, while the After Sun Body Butter Exotic Coconut is priced £10.50. Both products are available online and in Boots stores nationwide.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Hawaiian Tropic. All opinions are my own.