WHAT IS SPF IN COSMETICS?
When choosing a sunscreen, first of all, we are used to focusing on the SPF indicator – this is what protects the skin from sunburn. Let’s see if this is really the case and how the abbreviation SPF stands for?
SPF PROTECTION: WHAT IS IT?
SPF (or Sun Protection Factor) is a UV protection factor, and the higher its value, the more effective the protection. There are two types of ultraviolet rays that have a negative effect on human skin – UVA and UVB rays.
UVA rays make up 95% of all ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth’s surface and are the most dangerous for the skin. They start the process of destruction of collagen and elastin, damaging the cells of the dermis, eventually provoking malignant changes and contributing to photoaging.
UVA rays penetrate clouds and glasses all year round and even in winter can adversely affect the skin, contributing to the synthesis of free radicals.
UVB rays make up only 5% of all ultraviolet rays reaching the earth’s surface: most of them are blocked by clouds and glass.
UVB radiation penetrates the epidermis, due to which the skin not only tans, but also gets a sunburn, which can provoke an allergic reaction or the development of cancer cells.
WHY IS SUN PROTECTION SO IMPORTANT FOR SKIN?
Sunscreens can help minimize the negative effects of UVA and UVB rays. Products with SPF, like a mirror, reflect the rays of the sun and prevent their destructive effects.
Sunscreen prevents not only the appearance of a sunburn, but also other undesirable consequences:
- the appearance of allergic dermatitis;
- development of malignant changes.
Exposed areas of the skin, mainly the face, must be protected from ultraviolet radiation all year round. During the day, use a cream with SPF, which will prevent photoaging of the skin: dryness, the appearance of premature wrinkles and age spots, a decrease in firmness, elasticity, and rosacea.
According to cosmetologists, in 70% of cases, the skin ages due to exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
This is due to the fact that ultraviolet light penetrates into the dermis (deep layer of the skin) and contributes to the formation of free radicals that have a destructive effect on collagen fibers.
WHAT GRADES OF SPF PROTECTION ARE THERE?
The degree of protection against UVB radiation that provokes sunburn is considered to be the numbers indicated next to the abbreviation SPF:
- SPF 10 blocks less than 90% of UVB rays;
- SPF 15 – 93%;
- SPF 30 – 97%;
- SPF 50 (+) – 98%;
- SPF 100 is filtered out up to 99%.
There are 2 types of SPF filters:
Physical (mineral): Titanium dioxide or Zinc oxide are the most common of the existing ones. They work as a protective screen that reflects the sun’s rays from the surface of the skin. Suitable for sensitive skin (including for children).
Chemical (oxybenzone, octocrylene, mexoryl, etc.): they absorb UV radiation, being activated under their direct influence. Some chemical filters are effective against the negative effects of UVA rays, some are effective against UVB rays.
Modern manufacturers often combine both types of filters in formulas to protect the skin from a wide range of radiation.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PRODUCTS WITH SPF?
To choose the right sunscreen, first of all, determine your phototype, then what helpful functions sunscreen should have: moisturizing, nourishing, matting the skin, etc.
DETERMINING THE SKIN PHOTOTYPE
Phototype determines the degree of reaction of the skin to the effects of UV radiation and directly depends on its natural ability to protect itself from it. Any skin under the influence of sunlight produces melanin pigment, which affects its natural shade – this is the main evaluation criterion.
There are 6 phototypes:
Phototype 1 (Celtic, albinos) – very light skin (milky white, porcelain), high sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation: reacts to the sun with redness, rarely tans, often covered with freckles. With this phototype, use products with SPF-50+.
Phototype 2 (Nordic, Scandinavian, Aryan) – light skin of ivory color, often with freckles, often burns in the sun, a slight shade of tan rarely appears. With this phototype, use products with SPF 30-50.
Phototype 3 (European) – slightly dark skin, practically does not burn, the tan appears gradually and evenly. With this phototype, use products with SPF 20-15.
Phototype 4 (Mediterranean) – olive-colored skin without freckles, burns minimally, the tan lies evenly and intensively manifests itself. With this phototype, use products with SPF 15-10.
Phototype 5 (Indonesian) – swarthy or dark brown skin, rarely burns, tan appears as a rich dark shade. With this phototype, use products with SPF 10-5.
Phototype 6 (African) – very dark chocolate-colored skin, low sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation: it never burns, the tan is very dark. With this phototype, use products with SPF 5.
COMPOSITION OF SUNSCREEN
In addition to physical and chemical SPF filters, sunscreen formulas can include moisturizing and softening ingredients (thermal water, glycerin), matting ingredients (salicylic acid and niacinamide), antioxidants, vitamin E, etc.
The composition of the product depends on the type of skin for which the protection is intended.
It also depends on the type of skin what additional properties sunscreen should have. According to its characteristics, the product formula for sensitive skin will differ from the formula for oily and problem type.
To preserve the beauty and health of the skin, choose SPF protection based on the needs of the epidermis:
Oily type: light texture products (fluid, milk, cream-gels) with mattifying (sebum-regulating) non-comedogenic formulas and anti-inflammatory properties. For this type, it is not recommended to use tanning oil that clogs pores.
Dry Type: Non-greasy creams or oils with moisturizing and softening formulas.
HOW TO USE SKINCARE PRODUCTS WITH SPF CORRECTLY?
At first glance, it may seem that there is nothing complicated in using sunscreen, but even in this process there are some nuances, if they are not followed, the effectiveness of the product with SPF is reduced.
Let’s analyze what mandatory steps include care that protects the skin from UV radiation and prolongs its health:
- Apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going outside to allow the product to absorb and form a protective film on the skin.
- Apply a sufficient amount of sunscreen evenly to all exposed areas of the skin, do not forget about the neckline, ears, lips, hands and parting (an open strip of skin on the head).
- Update protection every 2 hours. If you are relaxing on the beach, then reapply the cream after each swim.
4. Always wash off any remaining sunscreen after sun exposure.