Lotions, Potions, Sunscreens and Young Skin


When it comes to looking after myself, I would give myself a 2 out of 10. I tend to stick to the bare minimum. Only urgent and immediate issues get my attention. My skin gets moisturised only because it physically feels tight after I've washed my face (and I have an expressive face; I like to be able to move it) otherwise that probably wouldn't happen either. You can imagine then, that as far as long-term skin care goes, my regime is non-existent.

But I've been thinking, I'm going to regret my short-term outlook. My intention is to age gracefully, but "grace" needs a little helping hand sometimes. When I was 21 I was told that my body was now basically starting its long walk to old age. That's because up until a certain point your body is producing growth hormones to help you become a fully fledged adult (beautiful) but after a certain point, that stops, so you are now effectively, slowly ageing. 

The idea of using Olay anti-aging creams at 21, or even 26 doesn't sit well with me though. But did you know when it comes to protecting your skin from ageing (not to mention skin cancer) the number one thing to use is good old sunscreen? In fact, any beauty products that have sunscreen in them can claim to be anti-aging.

The simple things are the easiest to neglect in life. I'm guilty of thinking UVA rays will never find me in London. But I would be wrong. UVA rays have pretty much the same intensity during daylight hours throughout the year. Even if it's overcast, they cut through that cloud to damage your skin. In short, if the sun is up then your skin could do with some protection. That's why it is recommended to wear sunscreen every day not just in summer.

Everyday! What a painful thought. I've tried a lot of different sunscreens. Some leave you looking pasty white and refuse to soak in, others soak in but leave you looking shiny and none of them seem to be compatible with makeup, which slowly slides off your greasy face. Funnily enough, a shiny face which has a thick layer of what looks like white icing slapped onto it is not the look I'm going for.

Then there is the dilemma of which sunscreen is right. It's easy to think that you need a high SPF sunscreen and you will be good to go. But the SPF rating on sunscreen only refers to the protection you get from UVB rays which are the rays that cause you to burn but it doesn't necessarily mean you are getting protection from UVA rays which penetrate deeper into your skin and are responsible for premature ageing and giving you those pesky wrinkles. So what you really want is a sunscreen that specifically says it protects against UVA rays. 

Other things to avoid are chemicals like Oxybenzone and Retinyl Palmitate which are linked to all kinds of health issues. Oxybenzonesoaks in particular sinks into your skin entering your bloodstream and acts like an estrogen (yup, that famous lady hormone). You are better off with a physical blocker that sits on your skin like zinc.

Armed with all of this information, I decided to invest in some skincare and I've bought myself the Umbra Sheer Physical Defence SPF 30 by Drunk Elephant. I thought perhaps if I splashed out a bit I would feel pampered and that would make me more likely to use it. Plus, I can't face those greasy, thick nightmare creams. As far as sunscreens go this one has been pretty good. It blends into your skin and doesn't leave you with a shiny face to "dazzle" the world with. 

Now, the only issue is that cancer research has recommended that we all reapply sunscreen every few hours...That challenge is one too much for me right now, I'm going to try sticking to once a day at least!


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