Taking care of our skin with The Skin Nerd

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We’re all aware of the importance of taking care of our skin, but no matter how good our intentions are, sometimes we let it slide. I know I’m guilty of it – especially when tiredness or stress gets in the way. But if we take care of our skin now, our older selves will thank us in years to come. And that’s especially important when it comes to looking after our precious skin when it comes to the sun.

We are told to use SPF on a daily basis – even in the depths of winter. And with many of us still planning on taking a holiday to the sun this summer, we need to be even more vigilant than normal with higher temperatures and increased risk of sunburn too. So in order to arm ourselves with the best knowledge possible, skin care expert and guru Jennifer Rock – also known as The Skin Nerd – has given us the low down on taking care of our skin on holiday.

Listen up ladies!

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Q: What are the biggest mistakes we make when using SPF on holiday?

A: We tend to lure ourselves into a false sense of security and believe we are more protected than we actually are. There’s a common misconception that sun protection is sun BLOCK – but in actual fact, nothing can completely block the sun and nothing is foolproof. In fact, the description ‘sunblock’ is now banned under EU law for these very reasons. We must apply sun protection regularly regardless of our natural pigment or desire to tan.

Q: How do we know what level (number) SPF we should be using when we’re in the sun?

A: This is a tough one considering that every company and skin expert advises differently. I suggest that you apply a minimum of SPF30. Ideally, a shot glass of product should be applied per area in order to be adequately protected to the value of SPF30. In other words, if less than this is applied, you may not be getting the full amount of protection – you may only be getting a sun protection factor of 15/20, for example. Remember that it is better to overprotect than under-protect when you’re facing irreversible life-long damage and DNA damage at a cellular level.

Q: How often should we reapply SPF when out in the sun?

A: I have just attended a number of conferences in London that covered this very subject. The very best experts in suncare stipulate re-applying your SPF every two hours, regardless of the factor used and your skin colour.

Q: How do we look after our skin post-sun (at the end of each day)?

A: If over-exposure has occurred, first allow the heat to escape. Do not trap or occlude the skin with heavy creams, and eat anti-inflammatory foods to aid healing internally. Alcohol does NOT count! Then, apply cooling and soothing botanical-based non-active ingredients to reduce irritation. A low chemical-based, or preferably a physical based block – may be preferable the following day, as they are less irritating.

Q: Any tips on keeping your skin looking healthy on holiday?

  • The skin is an organ: it does not need to be fried. Sun damage is inevitable and leads to uneven skin tone, broken capillaries, age spots, lines, wrinkles and dehydrated skin. This is the best-case scenario; the worst-case scenario is of course skin cancer. Skin cancer kills.
  • Always look for a product that has a UVA circle around it: as it suggests high potency against the longest rays of the two UV rays. UVA rays age us rapidly.
  • Instead of depending on SPF solely, wear numerous antioxidant serums under the SPF. Look for one containing vitamin C, as this is a natural photo (light) protecting agent that can boost your SPF.
  • Make sure to eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods when abroad, as this will boost the skin’s ability to fight the cascade of free radical destruction triggers from the sun. Greens, vegetables, blueberries and tomatoes are top of the antioxidant list!