Did you know there is a cream that, used daily, will soften wrinkles, fade fine lines, slow down the ageing process and improve skin tone? Even better, it’s most probably already hidden in your bathroom cabinet and cost you less than a tenner.
It’s called sun cream and despite being the very best anti ageing cream you can buy, around 60 per cent of women still do not use it every day claiming you don’t need to wear sun protection unless you are on holiday.
Meanwhile, new research commissioned by a UK cosmetic clinic into the causes of skin ageing, show that just under third of all women cite stress as the primary cause , a fifth say having children gives you wrinkles, while only 4 per cent blame the main offender, sun exposure.
Although most of us think we’re sun savvy this research proves there still remains much confusion when it comes to sun protection.
In May this year we marked the British Association of Dermatologist’s Sun Awareness Week, a national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of the sun and skin cancer. Latest figures show that more than 10,000 people over 55 were diagnosed with melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer last year and rates of skin cancers in the over 55s have risen by a staggering 155 per cent over the last two decades. The sun is also the number one cause of accelerated skin ageing and the suns UVA rays cause 90% of wrinkles.
Whether you’re sitting in your back garden or jetting away to hotter climes, we  set you straight on some of suncare’s old chestnuts, the latest burning questions and highlight the latest SPF wizardry to help you stay safe in the sun.
What key ingredients should I look out for when buying a sunscreen?
Always choose a sun cream which protects against both
UVA and UVB rays, referred to as ‘broad spectrum’. The SPF factor on the bottle only relates to UVB rays, the burning rays which have a strong link to skin cancer. The UVA rating, relate to the rays which penetrate deeply into the skin and are the main cause of premature ageing and are measured in stars, one star being the lowest level of protection and four stars being the highest. We recommend choosing a   sun cream with a minimum  SPF 30 and a four star UVA rating.
What is all the fuss about Infrared and HEVL protection?
Infrared rays (IR-A) make up over half of the rays found in sunlight and can penetrate deeper than UVA or UVB rays, potentially damaging skin cells. Up to now, many traditional sun creams generally did not have IR-A protection but more and more brands are now adding antioxidants which prevent infrared rays causing damage (see box). Recent research also shows  that blue light, or high-energy visible light (HEVL) might be behind the pigmentation-type damage, or sun spots, seen in darker skins so  now more brands are also adding in HEVL protection to sun protection.
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