Updated: Apr 2
We go on about it for good reason – sun protection is important. Not just because of the link to skin cancer, but for anti-ageing and pigmentation purposes, too.
BUT - sunlight is the best natural source of Vitamin D which is essential for your immune system and for defending against other forms of cancer. So how do you get the pros without the cons?
PRO Sunscreen (SPF) argument
SPF means 'sun protection factor'. A skincare product with an SPF (such as a sunscreen) should be incorporated into your morning skincare routine, especially if you intend on spending a portion of your day outside. The sun is more likely to cause skin damage if you have low levels of melanin (are paler) but are subject to high sun exposure. This is one of the reasons why QLD has the highest rate of skin cancer in Australia, while Australia has the most diagnosed melanomas in the world. And if that’s not enough reason to get on the SPF train, perhaps it’s preserving your youthful appearance that will.
Stats show people who use broad-spectrum sunscreen on a daily basis experience 24% less skin ageing than those who use sunscreen only intermittently. This means less wrinkles and less age spots!
We could continue to harp on about why you should be using SPF, but what about if you are Vitamin D deficient?
PRO Vitamin D (Sunshine) argument
If you are Vitamin D deficient, you may experience one or many of these conditions:
- depression and anxiety
- a poor sleep routine
- a poor immune system
- aching bones
- low muscle strength
- hair loss
- loss of appetite
It is estimated that more than 1-in-3 people living in Australia are Vitamin D deficient Interestingly. Vitamin D deficiency commonly affects people with a darker skin tone as the melanin in their skin acts as a shield, preventing them from absorbing Vitamin D from the sun. Nevertheless, there are people with fair skin who may experience a Vitamin D deficiency from actively avoiding the sun. The group with the lowest risk of Vitamin D deficiency is people with medium skin tones.
If you're reading this and thinking that you may be Vitamin D deficient, the quickest way to boost your Vitamin D levels is to spend more time in the sun. But how do you do that without the negative side effects?
Getting a balance
If you are in Brisbane, it is recommended that you get at least a few minutes of direct sunlight each day when the UV index is below 3 (generally before 9am and after 4pm). For people with fair skin, you can go up to 10 minutes, medium skin up to 20 minutes, and dark skin up to 30 minutes. The best way to incorporate this into your day is with a morning stretch or meditation either outdoors or next to an open window when you first wake up. It gets your systems going and gives you an energy boost to start your day. After allowing a little morning sunlight into your life, it is time to start your morning skin care routine with SPF.
There’s two types of sunscreen:
It’s likely you’ve used a chemical sunscreen within your makeup products, or if using a particular “beauty-style” SPF. These sunscreens are typically very lightweight and penetrate into the skin to absorb and neutralize the UV rays. For people who don’t like the feel of usual sunscreen or sweat more, chemical is the preferred choice.
PHYSICAL A physical sunscreen shields the UV rays by creating a barrier on your skin. And, as it’s non-penetrative, this is ideal for those who suffer from sensitive or problem-prone skin. Its two main ingredients – zinc oxide and titanium oxide –are the ones to look out for. But with some current speculation about using safe titanium dioxide, our recommendation is to go with a natural zinc.
In your routine, sunscreen should be applied after all skincare products and before makeup.