Most Irish People neglect to use SPF during the winter months – thinking it’s not needed. Celebrity Irish skin expert Eavanna Breen warns of how huge (& dangerous) a misconception this is and what steps we all need to take to stay sun safe year-round
A common misconception, that worries skin experts nationwide, is how a large proportion of Irish people only concern themselves with applying SPF products, and generally protecting their skin from the sun, throughout the warmer months or when on holiday.
Believing that there is no need for such sun protection efforts in winter. With skin cancer being the most common form of cancer in Ireland, renowned Irish Skin Expert, Eavanna Breen, is urging everyone to protect their skin from the sun with the same level of protection all year round.
Eavanna says: “The ozone layer is thinner during winter months, meaning it does not provide as much protection from radiation. UVB rays are often referred to as ‘the burning rays’. They are the ultraviolet rays that cause sunburn. Even though these rays are stronger during the summer, they can still cause sun damage during the winter.
“UVA rays remain constant throughout the year and can penetrate through clouds and fog. UVA rays can also penetrate glass, so it’s still possible to damage your skin while spending a bright winter day indoors.
“Also, If you are lucky enough to be spending any time on the ski slopes this season it is important to remember that the snow reflects 80% of UV light, so we are getting a double hit of UV light, furthering your risk of accelerated ageing and skin cancer.”
By not using SPF we are directly exposing our weak, unprepared and already uncommonly vulnerable Irish skin to powerful UV radiation. Over 75% of the Irish population have the ‘Celtic skin type’, meaning we freckle and burn very easily. One sunburn every 2 years triples your risk of melanoma.
With three quarters of us having one of the most at risk skin types in the world, we need to seriously consider our skin health and the grievously damaging effects of the sun on it. According to renowned Irish skin expert Eavanna Breen, we need to take just as much precaution when it comes to our skin during these cold months as we would in the summer:
There are 3 types of radiation from sunlight:
- Visible light gives us the colours that we can see.
- Infrared radiation, which gives us the warmth we feel from the sun.
- Ultraviolet radiation, which we cannot see or feel.
Skin expert Eavanna Breen states: “Visible and infrared radiation does not cause problems to our skin. UV light energy, however, does. It is absorbed by our skin cell’s DNA; this can influence the skin’s normal growth and appearance. This DNA damage can lead to genetic changes or mutations, which can cause cancer.
“Irish and Celtic skin types are amongst the most vulnerable of all races to this damage. For some people, the skin tans when it absorbs UV rays. Melanin helps block out damaging UV rays up to a point, which is why people with naturally darker skin are less likely to burn, while people with lighter skin are more likely to burn.
“Sunburns can increase your risk of skin cancer, including melanoma, as well as increase the rate at which you age. But UV exposure can raise the risk of skin cancer even without causing sunburn”.
Eavanna Breen’s top skin expert tips for maintaining healthy skin all year long:
- Increase your intake of antioxidants to help protect your skin from UV damage. Foods that are rich in beta-carotene and other carotenoids, such as lycopene, could improve your skin’s protection against UV rays. The best sources of carotenoids are carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, spinach, squash, broccoli, mangos, apricots, kale, peas, tomatoes and melon. Vitamin E contained in vegetable oils, almonds and nuts also protects us from the sun.
- Wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or above, with broad-spectrum UVA and UVB cover, every day of the year. Winter or summer. Always store it in a cool place and make sure to check the expiry dates. Throughout my 20+ years as a Clinical Skin Therapist, I have never come across an SPF product as efficient, effective and just plain brilliant as Skinmade’s Protect & Care Sun Oil. It provides SPF 50, as well as being full of antioxidants that help to repair the DNA damage caused by the sun. Unlike nearly all sunscreens on the market it does not break down in the sun, so no reapplication is needed for 8 hours. This sun oil is also 100% natural (or body’s own ingredients), cruelty-free, vegan and suitable for all skin types. It’s my desert island product!
- Two of the best-known antioxidants are vitamins C and E, both of which are effective in fighting UV damage. UV rays can deplete levels of vitamin C in the skin so it is important to use vitamin C products both during the day to fight the free radical damage brought on by the UV Rays, and at night to replenish the vitamin C that has been depleted during the day.
- Ensure your skin is well hydrated. The combination of the cold weather and indoor heating can be especially drying on our skin. And as it dries out, it becomes more vulnerable to UV rays. By nourishing it with a good moisturising cream, you are helping it reconstruct its protective layer. In addition to this, drink as much water as you can.
- The Environ Vitamin Facial works with dual electro-sonic technology to create tiny pathways in the skin to assist in delivering more essential vitamin A, C & E, to where they are needed most, ensuring the skin is abundant in these vital damage control vitamins. Booking yourself in for this specific facial throughout the winter months would be a very, very clever move.