As many of you may know by now we LOVE a good SPF here in ELM Beauty! It’s definitely a must have product for all ages and skin types. But do you know the science behind sun protection factor and the protective benefits it has for our skin?

What is the meaning of ‘SPF’?

It stands for Sun Protection Factor. Which is a measure of how long your skin is protected from the skin. A specially formulated ingredient/ingredients that are designed to protect your skin. It can be in many different forms. From lotions, gels, creams and mists. It’s also sometimes found in moisturisers, primers and foundations. The number beside SPF in your product, eg: SPF 30, SPF 50, indicates the level of protection you have. it also indicates how long your skin will be protected. We always recommend an SPF of at least 30 the face and body. Ensuring your skin is getting optimum protection from the harmful UV rays.

UV Rays

Ultraviolet Rays or UV rays are harmful rays that are emitted from the sun. These rays are what causes our skin to burn or become pigmented. They can cause the skin to become dry and in some serious cases, skin cancers. There are 3 different types of UV rays:

UVC rays have the shortest wavelengths and highest energy levels of the three types of UV rays. As a result, they can cause serious damage to all life forms. Fortunately, UVC radiation is completely filtered out by the ozone layer. As a result, these rays from the sun never reach the ground.

UVB rays penetrate into the epidermis of our skin and damage the outermost layers of the skin. UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburn on your skin and your skin becoming darker or pigmented in areas. They also cause your skin to develop most skin cancers.

UVA rays are what I like to call your ‘Ageing Ray’, A for Ageing. These rays reach into the deeper layers of our skin and cause indirect damage to your DNA. UVA rays cause your skin to age prematurely, leading to visible effects such as wrinkles. UVA rays can also affect the collagen production in the skin. Which results in the skin losing it’s elasticity and becoming saggy and wrinkly.

Types of SPF and how to use them

The best type of SPF to go for is a ‘Broad Spectrum’ SPF. Providing protection from both UVA and UVB rays. It also protects against environmental factors. Such as pollution in the air, windy weather and bright office lights. Did you know that your SPF product also protects from the high energy lights within your phones, computers, iPad etc? These lights can cause up to 90% of ageing in the skin. So don’t think just because you work inside all day that you don’t need your SPF, trust me YOU DO!!!

Our Skinceuticals range of SPF products all have broad spectrum protection. Leaving your skin fully protected during the day. They can be used as the very last step in your morning skincare routine. After your moisturiser but before your makeup. Mineral Matte SPF 30 is perfect for anyone with an oilier or blemish prone skin. It helps to control the shine but is also tinted so it gives a small bit of coverage. If you are someone that prefers a lighter feel to their products, the Sheer Mineral Fluid SPF 50 is the one for you. It almost feels weightless on the skin. It doesn’t give that greasy white cast look that some SPFs can have. Making it the perfect product for anyone lucky enough to be able to travel to a sunnier country.

SPF can also sometimes be built into your other skincare products rather than being separate.

In this case you want to just make sure that you are checking what kind of protection it offers. As you may still need to apply your SPF product afterwards just to ensure your skin is fully protected. Our Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream has a built in SPF 30. Perfect for anyone who would rather have their moisturiser and SPF all in one. This one also gives broad spectrum protection from UV rays and the harmful environmental factors.

SPF for the body is just as important as for the face.

Although the skin on the body can be less sensitive than the face. It is still prone to the same damage, so we need to be protecting and nourishing it as much as we can. Decleor’s Sun Bi-Phase Oil is perfect for the body. It has an SPF of 30 and protects from both UVA and UVB rays. It’s a nice refreshing mist formula and also contains aloe vera. Which is going to help keep the skin cool and refreshed as you spritz it on. Great for throwing into the beach bag or hand bag for on the go protection during the day.

Tips to remember

Broad Spectrum protection is the best – protecting from UVA/UVB and blue light damage.

Aim for an SPF of at least 30 for optimum protection.

SPF goes LAST in your skin care routine, after moisturiser but before makeup.

You should apply 3 fingers worth of SPF to the face and neck EVERY DAY.

The higher the number, the better the protection.

No SPF is waterproof so ensure you are reapplying if it gets washed off.

Products CAN expire, so make sure you are keeping an eye on the date guideline on the packaging.