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Wear sunscreen even on overcast and rainy days

FILE: The sun can cause skin damage and experts encourage regular use of SPF.

FILE: The sun can cause skin damage and experts encourage regular use of SPF.

Published Nov 6, 2023

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Some days are scorchingly hot and others are overcast and rainy.

But dermatologists and experts have insisted that during any type of weather, sunscreen should be a regular and vital part of a skincare routine.

In fact, some have punted Sun Protection Factor (SPF) as the biggest and most significant gift that you can give to your skin. They argue this is not only to prevent certain types of cancers, but also to combat premature ageing.

Some SPF’s can even repair existing skin damage and correct the visible signs of ageing.

Dr Aurora Garre Contreras, who leads the clinical trials for ISDIN global - a global market leader in photoprotection - explained that UV radiation from the sun provokes a startling 80% of your total visible skin ageing.

“Sun damage contributes to the faster development of the early signs of ageing such as fine lines, lack of elasticity or wrinkles,” she said.

“Ageing, of course, is a natural process, but sun damage can be prevented and even reversed in some cases.”

And the skincare range’s brand manager in South Africa Karlo Michell added that “the external factor with the biggest impact on the skin – by far – is the sun”.

Their sentiments were shared by the team at Beauty Base, a UK-based online retailer of fragrance and beauty products, who added that “SPF is more important than ever and this is why everyone should be using SPF products this summer.”

Experts also recommend applying SPF on overcast and rainy days as the sun’s UV rays are ever-present, regardless of the weather.

“It goes without saying that you have to apply a high SPF onto your skin every day, even when the sun is not out,” Kevin Khosa, an expert at SKIN, said.

He added that the aim is to enjoy the sun while still ensuring you are protected and your skin is not being damaged in the process.

“Remember, to have healthy, glowing skin you need to be consistent with your skincare and serious about sun safety so make it part of your daily routine and reap the benefits for a long time.”

Meanwhile, Mitchell advocated for using an effective and powerful sunscreen and for reapplying throughout the day, regardless of the weather.

“Not only on sunny days but also when it is overcast and the sun isn’t clearly visible because UV rays still impact our skin through clouds and rain.”

The sun can cause skin damage and experts have urged for the regular use of SPF. File image.

Meanwhile, Beauty Base explained that sunscreen is considered more important than ever due to several factors:

Increased UV radiation

The UK beauty retailer explained that climate change can lead to changes in atmospheric conditions, including the depletion of the ozone layer.

“Ozone depletion allows more UV radiation to reach the Earth's surface therefore increasing the risk of sunburn, skin damage, and skin cancer.”

They added that using SPF helps protect the skin from these harmful rays.

Changing weather patterns

Climate change can lead to shifts in weather patterns, including increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, Beauty Base said.

“During hot and sunny days, SPF becomes even more crucial to protect the skin from the potentially damaging effects of UV radiation.”

Skin cancer prevention

The UK beauty retailer warned that skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide, and excessive UV exposure is a significant risk factor.

“With climate change potentially exacerbating the intensity of UV radiation, using SPF becomes increasingly important in reducing the risk of developing skin cancer,” they said.

Meanwhile, Mitchell added that incorporating a suitable, gentle yet effective sunscreen in your daily routine offers the below benefits:

Reduces the risk of sunburn

Continuous sunburn can lead to damage that can cause skin cancer, premature wrinkling, and many other skin issues, Mitchell said.

Prevents skin discolouration

Discoloured and pigmented skin are often called ‘sun spots’ or ‘liver spots’ and are usually tan to brown in colour, Mitchell explained.

“They often develop on the face, head, hands, and arms, and can affect both men and women but applying sunscreen periodically throughout your day can help prevent these spots from appearing on your skin.”

Reduces inflammation

Mitchell warned that overexposure to UV rays can cause painful redness and inflammation of the skin.

“This can be especially challenging for individuals with skin issues like psoriasis or rosacea.”

But he added that by wearing sunscreen each day, it helps to prevent inflammation from harmful rays.

He also offered the following tips for picking a sunscreen:

  • Know your skin type (dry, sensitive, oily, combination).
  • Choose a high SPF (30+).
  • Look for ‘broad spectrum’ on the label.
  • Provides protection against UVA and UVB rays.