Australian's Need Strong Sunscreen Protection - But Which Sunscreen to Use?
Living down under gives us Australians great privilege. There are many benefits living in this beautiful country but unfortunately due to our strong exposure to the sun Australia is the skin cancer capital of the world.
Some sunlight is good for you, but get too much exposure to UVR and you can pay a heavy price. Limiting our exposure to the sun, especially in the summer season is the best thing to avoid any skin damage.
But we know it's a pretty outdoorsy life in Australia and when we are outdoors we recommend using a natural and organic alternative to your mainstream sunscreens.
Here's a little bit more information on sunscreens and how they benefit you while you have fun in the sun:
How do sunscreens work?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. SPF 'numbers' provide an indication of how much protection from the sun a product will provide for your skin. The Australian Standard for sunscreens allows a maximum sun protection factor (SPF) rating of 50.
While this sounds like a significantly higher level of protection than an SPF30 the difference is not really in the amount of UV protection. An SPF 50 sunscreen will filter 98% of UV radiation while an SPF30 product filters 96.7% so the difference is not large. The difference is around the length of time that it will protect you but there are issues with this.
What issues are these with SPF?
Everyone’s skin is different and each person’s skin can be exposed to the sun for different lengths of time before burning. Sunscreen extends the time before burning by a multiple of the SPF. For example, if you have fair skin and would normally burn in 5 minutes without any sun protection then an SPF 30 will give you 30 x 5 minutes protection. The issue is that all sunscreens will rub off over time with normal activity and perspiration and so in some cases the higher SPF can give a false sense of security. Due to normal activity all sunscreens need to be reapplied regularly.
The most important thing to remember is that no sunscreen provides total protection and will rub off over time, that's why it is always important to reapply regularly and cover up using appropriate clothing and eye wear especially during the hottest part of the day.
What active ingredient is important in natural sunscreen alternatives?
Micronised Zinc Oxide. It reflects UV-A and UV-B rays rather than chemical actives which absorb these rays.
What does Broad Spectrum mean and is it important?
A sunscreen that provides broad spectrum protection protects against UV-B rays as well as UV-A. All sunscreens protect against UV-B rays which cause sunburn however not all protect again UV-A which causes premature ageing of the skin.
UV-A radiation plays a large role in causing gene mutations often leading to skin cancer. So make sure when using a sunscreen you check that it offers broad spectrum protection.
Is it safe to use on babies and people with sensitive skin?
Babies should be sheltered from the sun as much as possible. However when this isn't possible or for people with sensitive skin, our natural baby sunscreens are the best options for babies. As with any product, if you feel that you or your baby may be allergy-prone then we recommend that you do a patch test before general use.
What is SPF and what protection does it give?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. SPF numbers are an approximate indication of how much protection from the sun the product will provide for your skin. Skin starts to burn after 5 to 10 minutes in the sun. Sunscreen extends that time by a multiple of the SPF e.g if we use an average time of 8 minutes to burn without sunscreen then:
SPF30 sunscreens will protect for 30 x 8 minutes or 240 minutes (4 hours)
SPF15 sunscreens will protect for 15 x 8 minutes or 120 minutes (2 hours)
It is also important to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after towelling dry or excessive sweating. This will not prolong the amount of time you can stay in the sun but will ensure the effectiveness of your sunscreen for the remaining time that your sunscreen provides protection.
How much do I need to apply and does it work immediately?
It is important to apply your sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going out in the sun. This allows the sunscreen to reach each layer of the skin and provides maximum protection. Sunscreen should be applied evenly and liberally to ensure all exposed areas are protected.