Stuart Miles is the UK's leading ageing expert and founder of MilesYounger.com
We have just suffered the most extreme cold spell of weather in the last 10 years so why would I be telling you now is the time to up the sun protection to your face?
Well hear me out before you think I have gone totally bonkers on this one.
Most decent daytime moisturisers now contain an SPF of 15 along with the all-important 5-star UVA rating but from next week onwards that is simply not enough!
When it comes to increased sun protection we tend to think we only really need it in the summer months when the temperature has warmed up a bit. But that is rubbish as it is all to do with the strength of the sun’s rays.
The Sun is at its strongest on June 21st, the longest day!
This means it’s at the highest point in the sky and the rays are the most damaging when it comes to our skin.
UVA rays are one of the biggest contributing factors to skin ageing. These longer wave UVA rays penetrate and damage the skin at a deeper level leading to long term damage and the formation of wrinkles. This is why Sunbeds, which are mainly UVA rays are so damaging. These UVA rays can even penetrate through windows and car windscreens too, so beware when driving or sat in the office.
Why start now?
If the sun is strongest on June 21st then 3 months either side of that date you need to be extra careful when outdoors.
That’s March 21st-Sept 21st, the 6 months we need to protect ourselves more fully.
My logic that you need to up your sun protection sooner rather than later and you need to start on March 21st!
It may seem daft when we haven’t even had Easter yet but this is where the sun fools us.
How many beetroot faces do you see following that first blast of real warm sun in April or May because people assume wrongly that as it’s not Summer yet they will be ok with little or no protection.
The fact is that the sun is stronger in May than it is in August, traditionally the month where we hit the beach and slap on the sun protection.
What sort of protection should you seek for your face?
I would recommend something with an inbuilt protection of at least SPF 30 and a 5 star UVA.
The higher the SPF the more effective the UVA rating will be too, which is something to bear in mind.
Your SPF 15 is still ok on a cloudy or rainy day in late March or April but any chance of seeing the sun you need something stronger to protect your face from damage. This will also help prevent those annoying sunspots and freckles.
From May onwards through June, July up until mid-August, always you’re your increased sun protection, even on a cloudy day.
Some foundations can help but it’s not always enough and on those relaxed spring days in the garden without make-up, this is where the sun can really get you.
The time to look after your face is right now so invest in a decent moisturiser with a powerful SPF. It will protect you all spring and summer long and help to keep you wrinkle free for the long term.