By now everyone is aware that wearing sunscreen is an essential part of sun protection. Anyone who wants to avoid sunburns, prevent skin cancer and premature signs of ageing should be slopping on SPF every day.
And since we’re all using sunscreen, we thought it might be helpful to explain a bit more how it works and how to create better sun safety habits.
So sit back and read on for all things SPF.
What is it? How does it work?
Did you know SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor? It's a rating system for how we measure the protection you are potentially getting from your sunscreen with a recommendation of SPF30 and higher.
So now that we know what it stands for, how do they actually work?
Well the majority of sunscreens protect your skin by actively absorbing UV radiation. The product contains chemicals that transform the UV into heat before they have a chance to damage your skin. There are also other sunscreens that instead of absorption, use UB reflections that create a barrier on your skin to reflect UV.
Types Of UV Rays
Understanding how sunscreen works also includes learning the different parts of the UV spectrum. These being UVA, which affect the surface skin cells and are associated with ageing and wrinkling. The other is UVB, which is associated with the burning and blistering of your skin, directly damaging your DNA. But although they are two different rays, both contribute to skin cancer.
When choosing a sunscreen, you always want to go for one that says ‘broad spectrum’, this means it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.
Can You Still Tan With Sunscreen?
If you are still tanning when using sunscreen, you are not using SPF correctly. The goal of applying sunscreen is to protect your skin so if you are achieving a tan after being in the sun, you need to add more.
Still want that sun-kissed, summer glow? No worries! Self tan is the perfect alternative that doesn’t damage your skin.
If you’re looking for some great self-tanning products, explore our full range here.
It Takes More Than Just Sunscreen
While sunscreen is an obvious must have to protect your skin from damage, there are other measures you can take which are highly encouraged. Sunscreen is now just one out of the 5 Ss us Aussies are very familiar with (slip, slop, slap, seek and slide).
To make sure you are fully protecting your skin don’t forget to slip on a shirt or other covering, slop on your SPF, slap on a hat, seek out some shade and slide on some sunnies. This may feel like overkill, but trust us, you’ll be thanking yourself later for taking these extra precautions.
When To Reapply
Applying only a single coat of sunscreen at the start of your day is not enough to properly protect you from the sun. Besides the natural reapplication of sunscreen, which is recommended every 2 hours as the sun degrades sunscreen, there are a bunch of factors that happen throughout the day that influence when you need to reapply. Things like sweating, taking clothes on and off and laying down can rub off sunscreen.
Always reapply after a dip in the water. Sunscreen runs off easily, removing that protective layer between you and the sun's rays.
You should make sure to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before sun exposure to dry skin. It is also important how you are applying your sunscreen. Be very thorough as it can be easy to miss spots. How many times after a day at the beach have you come home to find random patches of sunburnt skin?
The More The Better
It’s safe to say that many people are not putting on enough sunscreen to get proper protection. You might even be surprised by how much you actually need to apply. As a general rule you should aim to apply a teaspoon for each body section. But when in doubt, more is definitely more with sunscreen, it doesn’t hurt to be over cautious.
So make sure your sunscreen is always in easy reach to remind you to apply it everyday! Find our full range of sun protection products here.
And if you’re struggling with too many options, keep it simple as the best sunscreen for you is one you’ll actually use.