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30th Apr 2022

Dr. Doireann O’Leary on what we all need to know about SPF this summer

Trine Jensen-Burke

Dr. Doireann O’Leary

Summer is around the corner.

And as it turns out that while we are all rather vigilant to make sure we are wearing sun cream when we are on holidays, turns out, this is not so much the case when we are at home – even on sunny days.

And while this Bank Holiday Weekend is looking to be a bit of a wash-out, did you know we really should still be wearing SPF when we head outside?

Recent scientific studies have shown that as much as 25 percent of skin damage is caused by HEV (high energy visible) Blue Light rays. Blue light is powerful and invisible light rays from the sun, which penetrate deeper into the skin’s layers than both UVA & UVA. And while it is particularly potent on clear sky days, blue light rays increase oxidative stress, which accelerates skin ageing, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and age spots, and can also harm our skin on days when it is overcast and grey outside.

We recently got a chance to catch up with Dr. Doireann O’Leary, who is the new suncare ambassador for Avène, and she confirms that while us Irish are great for remembering to wear SPF when we are abroad and on holidays, we are less great at doing this at home.

“We should all know the importance of wearing SPF protection all year around by now,” O’Leary explains.

“UV rays from the sun come in two forms – UVA rays which cause ageing and UVB rays which cause burning. However, more recently, research has shown the damage that high energy visible blue light causes. It has been shown to damage the skin through oxidative effects, which can lead to premature skin ageing and also increase the risk of skin cancer.”

Dr Doireann O’Leary’s top tips for SPF

  1. Wear SPF every single day to protect and prevent. Yes, even in Ireland
  2. Don’t forget the neck and hands as these are key areas for premature ageing
  3. Use 2mg per cm2 for optimum protection. This equates to two finger lengths for the face alone
  4. Apply your SPF as the final layer of skincare and don’t forget to cleanse it off in the evening
  5. Don’t forget the delicate eye area. The skin around the eye is x10 times thinner than the rest of our skin making it extra susceptible to UV damage.
  6. Remember to reapply if you are out in the sun all day, every 2-3 hours

Avène’s new facial sun care range, which has just launched, has been formulated following strict standards for the planet and for every skin type.

The new formulas contain minimal ingredients and the packaging is made of recycled and recyclable plastic. The range also offers powerful hydration and nourishment in FIVE different formulas targeted at different skin types and needs.

Having tested them, we particularly love the tinted one. So perfect for summer, as it gives a just a little bit of sheer coverage and colour – and you don’t need to bother with any other makeup.

It is easy to apply and quick to absorb, and the innovative formulas offer a really invisible finish and no white cast on the skin, making it perfect for daily use alone or under make-up

On her new role as suncare ambassador for Avène, O’Leary says:

“I am proud to work alongside Avène on the launch of its new high protection facial suncare collection as each product offers broad-spectrum factor 50 protection against UVA, UVB and high energy visible blue light,” the doctor explains.

“Avène’s first sun filter absorbs and reflects Blue Light from the sun, meaning this is a really innovative product range! My favourite is the new Avène Cream SPF 50+. The lightweight texture penetrates into the skin within 3 seconds and has a transparent shade meaning it’s suitable for all skin tones. It offers 8 hours of hydration and is perfect for daily use before I apply my make-up.”

She adds:

“Because it’s not only on the beach or by the pool that your skin needs sun protection. That’s why daily, SPF application is critical to prevent skin damage.”