Author: Wilma McDaniel, Company Director, Cutitronics
As hard as it is to believe for those of us based in the UK, summer 2021 is almost here. As restrictions continue to lift, many of us are quickly turning our efforts to meeting friends and family again, booking day trips and staycations, and maybe even jetting off further afield. With longer nights and (slightly) warmer days, there is optimism in the air as we take steps to emerge from our Covid cocoons and kick-start our social lives again.
This time of year also reignites a conversation about effective sun care. Questions emerge around which sunscreen we should use, how often we should reapply, and which SPF is right for us. While specialist sun care products and wide-scale awareness campaigns have been on the rise for decades, many misconceptions still exist around how to best protect our skin.
A year-round issue
While effective sun care is typically thrown into the spotlight in late spring and early summer, only to disappear when the autumn months approach, sun protection is a year-round issue. Harmful UV rays can penetrate the skin throughout the year, so it’s crucial to invest in a good sun cream that you can use every day – whatever the weather – to keep your skin healthy and limit your risk of long-term damage.
A personalised approach
Like any skincare regime, to get the most out of your sun care products, it is vital to understand your own unique requirements. These can vary massively depending on your individual skin type, location, and family history, to name just a few. A personalised approach is key.
A first step in personalising your regime is considering your position on the Fitzpatrick scale – a system devised to classify your skin type based on the amount of pigment your skin has and its reaction to sun exposure. By working out where you fall on this scale, you can begin to determine exactly the kind of protection your skin needs and choose a more tailored sunscreen accordingly.
All day, every day
As well as finding a product which best suits your skin type and using it every day, it is important that sunscreen is reapplied throughout the day. Sunscreen can easily rub off as we navigate the day, especially if we are on holiday and spending our time in and out of the ocean or exploring a new city. It is vital that our sunscreen is kept topped up for consistent protection.
More than make-up
One of the most common misconceptions around effective sun care is that if our make-up includes SPF, we don’t need sunscreen. Sadly, this is not the case. Even if makeup claims to offer SPF, up to three times the amount of product would need to be applied to get close to the protection required, and then reapplied further throughout the day.
Luckily, sensory elements in sun care have seen considerable improvements over the last 30 years. In the 80s and 90s, sunscreens were thick and opaque, leaving a noticeable white layer on the skin’s surface that would discourage people from using it regularly. Now, sun care products have been created to complement our makeup routines, applying smoothly underneath makeup, and even preventing white cast altogether.
Support from tech
Clearly, there is much confusion around sun care products and how people can effectively protect their skin from harmful UV rays. A personalised approach is crucial, and for this the latest developments in technology can help.
A virtual consultation with a trained advisor can help you understand where your skin lies on the Fitzpatrick scale, and recommend tailored products accordingly. By inputting this information into an app, alongside your current location, the technology will determine the precise UV index for where you are, helping to determine and recommend the formulation best suited to your skin at that specific moment.
Technology can also help with regime compliance. Via push notifications – clickable banners which appear at the top of your screen – apps can remind you to reapply your sunscreen throughout the day, and in-app tutorial videos can offer guidance on the optimal amount of product required.
A scientific approach
To take this support a step further, it will soon be possible for consumers to scan their skin in real time with a personalised skincare device. Rooted in science, these devices will determine the user’s unique skin type and combine this information with external factors such as weather, location, and UV levels, to recommend the most effective product for their skin and even dispense the exact amount required.
With these devices, consumers will also be able to track usage of their products and see the results of their regime in an easy-to-understand format. Capitalising on developments in the MedTech arena, these devices effectively unburden the consumers, removing any confusion around effective skin care by bringing a truly personalised experience into their home.
We have the data to ensure we never again burn in the sun – the consumer only needs to comply. Technology can empower us to understand fully our unique sun care needs, in real time, minimising our risk of sun damage by getting the best result from the right formulation for us.
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