What is SPF and why is it important?
We often see the term “SPF” being thrown around in commercials for sunscreen, moisturizers, and other skincare products. But what is SPF and why is it a crucial part of having a good skincare routine?
SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a measure of how well a certain product will protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. The higher the SPF, the more protection it provides. It can also easily be found in a wide variety of skincare.
However, many mistakenly think that they only need to use SPF products when participating in outdoor activities. If you happen to be sitting by the window with sun exposure, then you should also include SPF in your skincare routine even though you’re spending the entire day indoors. Another reason why SPF is so important is that it can even protect your skin against blue light emitted by digital screens.
Even if you sit in a windowless room to avoid the sun, you’ll surely be using your electronic devices, which means that SPF is definitely a must-have no matter where you go!
What are the different types of UV rays?
There are two types of UV rays that can damage your skin: UVA and UVB.
UVA or Ultraviolet A breaks down the collagen in our skin, leading to signs of premature aging such as saggy skin, a change in skin texture, wrinkles, and a loss of elasticity. Prolonged exposure to UVA is undetectable as it doesn’t cause tanning, leading many to underestimate how much their skin is exposed to it.
UVB or Ultraviolet B leads to red sunburns and causes your cells to be damaged beyond repair. It can also contribute to the development of skin cancer. Both UV rays are equally damaging and can penetrate through clouds as well as windows, which is why even on cloudy days, UV rays can still reach your skin, so it’s crucial to use SPF daily, regardless of the weather.
Bluelight, while it isn’t part of any UV rays is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society due to the usage of digital screens for work, school, and leisure. It can lead to an increase in age spots as well as pigmentation, along with inflammation of the skin where elastic tissue is broken down.
What are the benefits of having SPF in your skincare?
Prevents premature aging:
As previously stated, UV rays are one of the primary causes of premature aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. As signs of aging aren’t restricted only to those who are above a certain age, they can even appear among the youth, hence the term “premature”.
Protects against skin cancer:
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, and UV exposure is a significant risk factor for developing it. Often happens in areas that are exposed to the sun and is caused by the abnormal growth of skin cells.
UV rays can also cause hyperpigmentation, which is when patches of skin become darker than the surrounding skin. It can appear anywhere on the body but is most commonly found on the face as that is the part of us that gets the most exposure to UV rays.
Sunburn is a painful condition that can damage your skin and lead to more problems. It is also inflammatory and is caused by prolonged exposure to UV rays where your skin’s outermost layers are damaged.
How do you choose the correct SPF product?
When choosing an SPF product, it’s essential to consider your skin type, the climate you live in, and your lifestyle. If you have oily skin, you may want to choose a lightweight, oil-free formula, while those with dry skin may benefit from a moisturizing product. However, if you’re unsure, it is best to consult your dermatologist rather than find the correct product through trial and error as an incompatible one may be a waste of money at best and harm your skin at worst.
Being in Singapore, we spend our days in weather that’s always hot and humid, therefore it is recommended to consider buying skincare products with a higher SPF for better protection. Furthermore, if you frequently spend your time outdoors, we also advise you to bring along some sunscreen to constantly reapply the barrier of SPF.
Want to know more about SPF in skincare?