Wearing a high SPF cream is not the ultimate sun protection solution

A recent survey carried out by the British Association of Dermatologists revealed that there is a high level of confusion about the difference between a product’s UVA rating and Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Only 38% of respondents knew that the SPF is what predominantly protects against sunburn and just 39% realised that is a product’s UVA protection, rather than SPF, that protects against skin ageing.
suncream 1 150x150 - Wearing a high SPF cream is not the ultimate sun protection solution
The survey also claims that the recent rise in moisturisers featuring SPFs may have led to this misconception, as people often assume the added SPF properties will prevent wrinkling as opposed to UVA protection which is often missing from High Street brands.

“Contrary to popular belief, wearing a high SPF cream is not the ultimate sun protection solution. Studies show that people who wear higher SPFs put their skin at greater risk of damage by staying in the sun three times longer” warns Tracy Tamaris, Environ Training Director at the international institute for anti-ageing.

“There is also evidence that some sunscreen ingredients can trigger free radical damage once they have been absorbed unless they are frequently reapplied. Antioxidant vitamins significantly reduce the impact of free radicals that can damage DNA and lead to the destruction of collagen and elastin, prematurely aged skin, pigmentation and even skin cancer.”

Many sunscreen products do not block UVA radiation. UVA radiation does not cause sunburn but increases the rate of skin ageing and melanoma, a kind of skin cancer. So people using sunscreens may be getting too much UVA without realising it.

It is therefore essential to wear a broad spectrum sun cream containing a combination of absorbent and reflective UVA and UVB filters backed up by antioxidant vitamins C, E and beta-carotene (plant vitamin A) to combat the free radical damage inflicted by the sun’s rays on the skin.