Sarah Birkett Make-up & Hair
So the sun has finally come out so thought i would blog about how its a bit of a double edged sword.
One minute we are being told to' Slap on the suncream! It causes premature ageing and skin cancer!' The next article says ' Get out in the sun! Lack of vitamin D is causing rickets!'
So, how does it work and what's the best approach?
UV rays emitted by the sun come in 3 lengths and strengths with different harms and benefits.
UVC is the shortest, these rays are used in sterilisation units as they kill micro-orgsnisms. These rays are mostly absorbed by the ozone layer and don't generally reach us here on the ground. Unless you're underneath the bit with the hole in it!
UVB rays are active in the epidermis (the top layer of our skin) and are responsible for causing sunburn. UVB is also linked with skin cancer. B rays cannot penetrate through glass.
UVA are the longest and they penetrate into the dermis (the second layer of our skin) they give us a more immediate tan and are also associated with premature ageing. A rays can penetrate glass.
Cells in the epidermis called melanocytes make a substance called melanin when the skin is exposed to UV rays, this is the bodies way of defending itself agains UV and is what gives us our tanned colour!
Vitamin D is generated in the skins epidermis then transported and stored in the liver after exposure to `UVB rays. Vitamin D is thought to be involved in the transport of information between cells. Deficiency in vitamin D is on the rise and affects bone strength, muscles, hair growth, mood, energy levels and the immune system.
7 British organisations (British Association of Dermatologists, Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the National Heart Forum, the National Osteoporosis Society and the Primary Care Dermatology Society.) came together to offer an advice statement regarding UV exposure, safety and vitamin D production.
Their advice is that skin exposure to UV on a sunny day (at midday) of between 10 and 15 minutes should be taken in order to maintain a good level of vitamin D. It is important to be aware that the manufacture and required levels of vitamin D vary between individuals due to genetic and environmental variations.
The medical profession also advises that vitamin D supplements should be taken during winter as there is very little available UVB and less opportunity for exposure during these months.
So how does UV accelerate ageing?
The skin is supported by a matrix of proteins called elastin and collagen and a substance called MMP breaks down old proteins to maintain healthy skin. UV exposure causes an over-production of MMP therefore increasing the breakdown. Exposure also causes higher levels of free radicals which attack the matrix, combined with lower levels of anti-oxidants which neutralise free radicals this all spells disaster for thespian in terms of ageing.
So how do we achieve a balance?
We need to have a little UV exposure to help with Vitamin D production as thats clearly an important vitamin in terms of physical development and also helping us feel better, more energised and fight off bugs.
So, sitting out in the sun for a short time enjoying a summer cocktail or iced coffee hanging out with friends or family is certainly something not to avoid BUT beware of the time!
Consider the time of day... the sun is so much stronger at midday and your skin will burn faster than you think. Also the burning effects of UVB aren't apparent until a few hours later when its too late and very painful!
Don't loose track of the time... follow the guide lines and only expose unprotected skin to the sun for 10-15 minutes after which time apply a good layer of sun cream.
My personal sun product of choice atm is Nivea. The range is wide in terms of application method and product and also their products contain both UVA and B protection which is important considering what we now know.
I really recommend getting the anti age fave protection, it's SPF 30 and it comes in a very handy cartable size and doesn't sting or irritate your eyes.
I often mix and match my skin protection applying 50+ on my shoulders, chest, back and arms and then applying 30 on my legs and tummy. I wear 30-50 on my face and a hat when possible especially when sunbathing or on the beach.
On the kids i usually let them run around for a little while in the morning sun without protection, maybe about 30 mins and then hit them with 30 or 50 if we are at the beach and i make sure its the all day product or waterproof.
I love my job!
I'm very lucky I meet great people and have such fun helping them get ready and derive great satisfaction when they are so thrilled with their look.