Did you know that the harmful UV rays responsible for ageing and causing skin cancer are just as prevalent in the cooler months as they are in the hotter months?
In the hotter months there is a much higher concentration of UVB rays in the atmosphere and these are the superficial rays that penetrate the epidermis (upper skin layer) causing a tan, burning and some skin cancers. UVA rays, the “ageing rays”, are present 365 days a year in equal concentrations and penetrate cloud, glass and even some sunscreens! UVA rays reach deep down into the dermis (lower skin layers) and break down collagen and elastin, the protein fibres responsible for giving our skin its youthful firmness and elasticity. UVA also damages DNA and can cause skin cancer.
It is necessary to wear a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide (the best ingredient for reflecting UVA rays) every day of the year, even if you only go outside for short periods or are in your car. Five minutes of casual sun each day adds up to two weeks of full sunbathing at the end of one year! I advocate the use of sunscreen every day of the year but if you have been a bit slack over the Winter, now is the time to start being diligent with your sunscreen application again as the UVB levels spike with the warmer weather.