By Anna Harvey, Scarlett & Stone
I recently heard Baz Luhrmann's 'Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)' on the radio. I’m not sure how I missed it first time around when it came out in 1999, probably too busy trying to get a tan. The lyrics are taken from an essay, written in 1997 by Mary Schmich, a columnist with the Chicago Tribune. It was so unexpected and such a moving and honest approach to life and advice on how one should live it, that the words are still resonating loudly several weeks on. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the YouTube clip below, I promise you’ll be pleased you did). Although for the most part the advice is based on her own life experiences, it starts by offering one piece of genuine, scientific proven advice, and that is ‘Wear sunscreen’, good advice indeed.
Sunscreens help prevent the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. UVB is the chief culprit behind sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, are associated with wrinkling, leathering, sagging, and other light-induced effects of ageing. They also exacerbate the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays, and increasingly are being seen as a cause of skin cancer on their own.
Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. For example, if it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer or about five hours.
The American-based Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that anyone over the age of six months should use a sunscreen daily. I know that sounds extreme, but as I type the DJ on the radio has predicted highs of 32 degrees today and let’s face it, while no-one can out-talk us Brits on the subject of weather, when it comes to being prepared for it, well, two words: road gritters. Enough said.
They also recommend that children under the age of six months should not be exposed to the sun, since their skin is highly sensitive to the chemical ingredients in sunscreen as well as to the sun's rays. Shade and protective clothing are the best ways to protect infants from the sun.
Sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin. Reapplication of sunscreen is just as important as putting it on in the first place, so reapply the same amount every two hours. Sunscreens should also be reapplied immediately after swimming, toweling off, or sweating a great deal.
We all know men don't like to wear sunscreen. They complain that it feels greasy or sticky and makes them smell like a piña colada… er, nothing wrong with that. Of course the real reason is that the application is just too much darn effort. My tip for you is a non-oily spray; Mr S&S is officially converted, and delighted he can spend more time on the golf course working on his classic golfer, remember-it-only-looks-good-with-your-polo-shirt-on tan. However, I would advise early application if you see a lot of bunker action.
I wish you all a wonderful, safe and SPF-protected Summer, and, if I may add some advice of my own, it would be to download 'Everybody's Free (To Wear Suncreen)' on your iPod, nothing beats sitting on a lounger, with earphones in, taking stock of your life while you secretly people watch through dark sunglasses. Oh yes you do!
Scarlett and Stone - The Beauty Experts stock Clarins and Guinot Suncreams for face and body that range from SPF15 to 50, as well as Bare Minerals Foundations with an SPF of 25.
Scarlett and Stone
Tel: 01371 873 079
25 High Street, Great Dunmow, Essex, CM6 1AB