With the arrival of warmer weather comes the temptation for more fun in the sun. Most people only think of SPF before they hit the beach or occasional pool party, but truth be told - UV rays affect us all the time. Just how important is sun protection? We take a closer look here.
SPF is a year-round necessity
Most dermatologists agree that sun rays are the most significant cause of skin aging, including wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, and uneven skin tone. Contrary to popular belief, UV silently do damage even at the most unsuspecting times, including on cloudy, cold, and rainy days. Even if you’re just sitting indoors or in your car, UV rays travel through window glass. In fact, the majority of UV damage to the hands occur while driving. Although most glass windows effectively filter out UVB rays, UVA rays still make their way through. Even more damaging than UVB rays, UVA rays are a primary cause of skin cancer, hyperpigmentation, and skin aging.
So how can you effectively shield yourself from the repercussions of both UVA and UVB rays? In addition to a high SPF, which defends against UVB rays, you need to look for a sunscreen that contains PA, which defends against UVA rays specifically. Japanese sunscreens offer an easy solution, as they usually have an SPF of at least 30 in addition to a very high PA. It’s common to find Japanese sunscreens with PA++++, the highest PA available on the market.
SPF helps your products work better, too
SPF isn’t only about what UV rays do to your skin, but it’s what they do to your products. You know how you’re supposed to store your products in a cool and dark place? Well, that instruction isn’t for nothing. It’s because sunlight accelerates the oxidation process, which can cause your products to go rancid early. This rings true for the products applied to your face as well. When exposed to sunlight, your well-intentioned morning routine starts to get oxidized, minimizing its effect. Oxidative stress equates to dryness, pigmentation, inflammation, early aging, and can even extend to cancer. The bottom line – if you’re loading up on amazing products but not coating them with a protective layer from the sun, those products aren’t going to work to their fully capacity. Without SPF to seal in the deal, it’s time (and $$) down the drain. On the other hand, SPF provides a two-fold benefit for your skin – not only does it guard your skin from direct UV damage but it ensures that your products can better do their job.
Japanese sunscreens are typically formulated with ingredients that nourish as well as defend, including hyaluronic acid, collagen and antioxidant-rich plant extracts, in addition to the regular UV ray physical blockers and chemical absorbers. These ingredients help to combat the oxidative stress to the skin. In this sense, many J-Beauty sunscreens walk the line between sun protection and skincare, so they’re a good option if you want to extend the life of your hard-earned skincare routine!
Blue light – the hidden culprit
Research shows that blue light emitted from both the sun and digital devices causes skin damage, as it leads to free radical generation (aka oxidation). Blue light can also penetrate all the way into the dermis, where our collagen and elastin reside, leading to loss of elasticity and visible lines. Though blue light’s reputation wasn’t great, it’s shocking to find out that something as harmless as a nighttime Netflix binge could be doing skin damage - another pressing reason to wear SPF indoors in 2021! Although not many sunscreens guarantee blue light protection, many Japanese beauty brands are making way to develop sunscreens that guard against blue-light waves. We’re excited to see what technologies they come up with!
So if you’re aboard the #Skinimalism train this year, we hope you haven’t abandoned your sunscreen yet. No matter the season or weather, SPF is one of the best things you can feed your skin – and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon!