Summer is coming to an end but that doesn’t mean it’s time to put the sunblock away. There is a big misconception throughout New Zealand (Australia, this applies to you too), that once the days get colder, our skin no longer needs to be protected from the sun. But unfortunately, this isn’t true. Although the delicious warmth of the sun goes into hibernation for 6 months, her radiant rays still manage to make their way to earth. So no matter the time of year, sunblock needs to be worn and sun-smart behaviour needs to be practiced.
First, let’s get to know the children of the sun a little better. Here is an insight into the types of ultraviolet (UV) rays that the sun emits...
This is the most powerful ray of sun. Luckily for us, the o-zone layer is too much for this ray to get through. This means that it rarely, if ever, reaches the earth.
This sun child penetrates the top layers of our skin and is responsible for skin damage. It causes sunburn and delayed tanning (yes - the golden glow that society has told us to crave at the cost of our skin)
UVA, the child of the sun we may dread the most. It penetrates the deeper layers of skin, creating an instant tan - not as fun as it sounds. According to the World Health Organisation, this guy makes up for 95% of the UV radiation that reaches the earth's surface and is responsible for skin damage and wrinkles.
Right, so now we know what we’re dealing with, here are five reasons why you should stay sun smart all year round...
No. 1 New Zealand Has High Levels of UV Radiation.
You’ve heard of the hole in the o-zone layer, right? Well this just happens to sit above New Zealand (yay!), meaning that the sun’s UV rays reach the earth and do their damage a little more intensely than in other places around the world.
No. 2 The Sun Can Still Catch you Through the Clouds…
Whether the sun is sending warm kisses down to earth or not, she can still catch you through the clouds, glass and smog. On an overcast day, it is said by the Skin Cancer Foundation that 40 percent of the sun’s UV rays will reach the earth. So although they aren’t travelling at their full potential, the children of the sun are still finding their way to your skin.
A couple of things to note when you are venturing outside, whether it’s hot or not, are…
- UV rays are strongest between 10 am in the morning and 4 pm in the afternoon
- The higher you are, the stronger the UV rays get
So if you’re outside during the day - or sitting near a window - or reaching high altitudes, practice your sun-smart behaviour.
No. 3 Sunburn is Not Fun!
No matter what anybody says, the constant aches, itches and peeling that comes with sunburn is no fun. To put it simply, sunburn is nobody's friend. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the burning sensation that accompanies being burnt and can all agree that it is uncomfortable, right? Great! Let’s move on to reason no. 4…
No. 4 This Risk of Skin Cancer is Real
With 95% of the sun reaching our deeper layers of skin, are we really that surprised to learn that the risk of Skin Cancer is REAL? UVB causes skin damage at the cellular level, meaning it has the capability to create abnormalities in the skin, a.k.a Skin Cancer. Regular unprotected exposure to the sun increases this risk and should be enough to get us practicing sun-smart behaviour.
No.5 Your Skin Will Age Faster
Now I know this may come across as a vein reason to wear your SPF all year round, but the truth is, it’s probably the one that will influence you the most - and there is nothing wrong with that! As we know, exposure to the sun increases the rate at which our skin ages (hello wrinkles), so it makes sense that protecting ourselves from UV rays will reduce the rate at which we age. I’m not here to say that fine lines are a bad thing - our skin will age naturally in a beautiful way over time - but it’s the health of our skin that we lose when we over expose ourselves to the children of the sun.
Sun-smart behaviour doesn't have to be complicated. It can be as simple as including an extra step in your morning skin routine and having a hat with you when you’re out (hello cute outfits). If you are worried about losing your golden tan, let us introduce you to the miracle work of our favourite fake tanning products. Stay sun-smart Salty Babes!