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    Why SPF Is The Most Important Part Of Your Skincare Regime

    Sophie Bronstein

    If you only associate the term SPF with hot weather and sunny holidays, you’re not alone. But did you know you should be wearing it EVERY day, even when the weather is drab, rainy and blustery? According to dermatologists, your vigorous skincare regime and expensive products could be going to waste if you’re not keeping your skin protected first and foremost. We spoke to Dr Uliana Gout of Harley Street clinic LAM, and here’s everything you need to know… 



    Why is SPF so important?


    According to Dr. Gout, SPF is crucial if you want to reduce the potential of developing wrinkles, pigmentation and laxity formation. “You wont notice the benefits right away, but in 5 years you will be thankful for the moment you started to use SPF daily. It’s worth every penny and every minute you spend in the long run!” she says.



    How do rays affect the skin – and what does SPF do about it?


    So let’s debunk the difference between UVA and UVB rays. The sun emits both rays. And although UVB rays only make up for 5% of the rays emitted by the sun, they are very powerful. Although they may not penetrate as deeply as UVA rays, they can significantly damage the top layers of skin, causing sunburn and in worst cases, DNA mutations that can develop into melanoma and other types of cancer. UVA rays, however, penetrate the skin so deeply that they are one of the greatest culprits of premature skin ageing and other skin concerns. “UVA penetrates the dermis (the core layers of skin), causing damage to the pigment cells and collagen fibres, which can result in premature ageing,” says Dr. Gout. “ UVB rays penetrate the epidermis (the top layers of skin) and can cause pigmentation, skin roughness and give skin that typical ‘leathery’ look. SPF slows down all of the above and with daily usage and adequate quantity application, it really does preserve the health of your skin.”



    Why is SPF needed, even when it’s not sunny?


    “UVA and UVB rays are all around us no matter the weather,” says Dr. Gout. “In fact, here’s a little secret you should know – UVA can penetrate the skin even through a window, and can cause wrinkles and ageing. So if you sit next to a window and you’re not wearing SPF, the ageing process can be sped up!”.



    What are the different types of SPF?


    “These days, most skincare brands will make a blend of both physical and chemical blocks. Physical blocks repel the UV rays but tend to be quite opaque on the skin, which may not be suitable for darker skin types. Chemical blocks work by absorbing the UV rays. They are not opaque, hence they are more popular for darker skin types as they don’t leave a whitish residue.”



    Do darker skin tones still need to wear SPF?


    Dr. Gout is adamant that darker skin tones should always wear SPF. “Although darker skin doesn’t age as fast and can be more tolerant to the sun, it’s still prone to developing strong pigmentation, wrinkles and deterioration of elasticity. Protection is the way forward!” she says.



    Will SPF prevent you from getting a tan?


    Ah – the age-old question. While culturally we are all still conditioned to believe that a tan is a sign of health – actually, it can mean quite the opposite! Tanned skin can become parched and leathery looking, and this is a typical sign of sun damage. While you may look ‘well’ in the short-term, in the long-term you have actually caused total unnecessary damage to your skin! “SPF will stop tanning to a certain extent, although you will still pigment somewhat. My suggestion is to opt for a spray tan to supplement your tanning needs,” adds Dr. Gout.


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