What is blue light? We all know about UVA and UVB rays (and wear broad-spectrum SPF every day to protect ourselves, right?). Think of blue light in the same family. “Blue light is a spectrum of light that is emitted mainly by the sun, but also by our digital devices,” Andrea explains “as our use of such devices increases, so does our exposure to blue light”. How does blue light affect the skin? Again, think about how UV rays penetrate the skin at different levels. “Blue light has one of the shortest, highest-energy wavelengths which means it can penetrate the…Read more
The sun is out, our freckles are out – so, the sunscreen better be out too, guys. We’ve heard it a million times that we need to be wearing SPF every day, but how much do we know about choosing the right one? We spoke to suncare buff, Cinzia Campigotto, owner of Beauti Skin Clinic, about the differences between mineral and chemical sunscreens – and why mineral wins every time.
By Beth Ludolf
What is a mineral sunscreen?
Sunscreens can be separated into two categories; physical (or mineral) and chemical. According to Cinzia, “Zinc oxide is a micro-fine mineral that offers broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays.” Mineral sunscreens are safer, better for the skin and also help to protect against blue light (or high-energy visible light) which is emitted from electronic devices.
What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
UVA and UVB rays affect the skin in different ways. Cinzia says, “While UVB rays affect the skin’s top layer (they’re the ones that cause sunburn and skin cancer), UVA rays penetrate the skin much deeper, causing direct damage to the cells that keep the skin healthy, plump, hydrated.”
What does sun damage do to the skin?
“Sun damage is responsible for 90% of visible ageing,” Cinzia explains (we’re getting technical here), “UVA rays cause the fibroblast cells to erode, stopping them from producing collagen, elastin or hydration, and damages the melanocyte cells, making them overproduce pigment”. In layman’s terms, that means wrinkles, dehydration, poor texture, uneven skin tone and sunspots.
How important is using a sunscreen?
Put simply, its the most important part of your skincare routine. According to Cinzia, “Every other skincare ingredient is used to reverse the effects of ageing, but zinc oxide can prevent that damage in the first place”. She jokes, “if you’re using other ingredients like retinol or Vitamin C to stimulate collagen production but not protecting yourself from the sun, you’re wasting your money”.
Why choose mineral over chemical?
“Zinc oxide protects the skin by sitting on top of it and physically blocking the sun, Chemical formulas penetrate the skin which can cause congestion and irritation” Cinzia explains. This is especially important for use on the face or if the skin is sensitive. “Mineral sunscreens tend to have increased photostability, meaning they retain their integrity when exposed to light”, she continues “oh, and they’re reef-safe”.
Do mineral sunscreens look chalky on the skin?
In the past, yes, but science has come a long way. “The minerals are micronized to be so fine, mineral sunscreens no longer leave a chalky-white residue”, Cinzia says. Even on darker skin tones, they can be used without leaving a white or ashy cast.
How do you reverse the damage already caused?
Cinzia suggests that the best way to reverse existing damage is to apply SPF daily from now on, “that way there’s no further damage which means your body can work to repair those cells underneath”. And the same applies to other skin conditions, “if you have rosacea, for example, using sunscreen allows your body to work on repairing itself rather than dealing with constant trauma from the sun”.
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