Dec 10, 2018

Guide to Buying and Using Sunscreen

Choice. It seems to the trend of this day and age, making it difficult to know which sunscreen to buy to protect you from the harsh Australian sun. Reading the label isn’t much help either with all those unpronounceable Schwarzenegger ingredients.
Spare yourself some excruciating syllables (and one heck of a sunburn) and read on. Here’s a reference guide to buying the right sunscreen for you.

Broad Spectrum

You need a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation, don’t bother with a product that doesn’t offer comprehensive coverage.

     UVA: Are skin aging, deeply penetrating rays that cause wrinkles, damage DNA and collagen.
     UVB: Responsible for sunburns to the outer skin layer and tanning; worsening in the summer months.

Dermatologists recommend  the best protection sunscreens are SP F30-50 as they block 95-97.5% of the sun’s rays. SPF 50 is necessary for those with fair skin. Even if you tan, there is little sense buying sunscreen with less than an SPF 30 rating. Anything above 50 is unlikely to give you additional protection while anything below is not protective enough.

Active Ingredients

There are two types of sunscreens: those that absorb UVs and alter the wavelength so they’re not harmful (chemical) or those that coat the skin and reflect away UVs (physical or mineral).

     Chemical: Are broad spectrum and often contain more than one chemical to combat UVA and UVB rays. The downside, they are tough on sensitive skin. Another potential concern is that certain chemicals can have hormonal effects (endocrine disruptor) like, oxybenzone.
     Physical: These compounds sit on the skin’s surface therefore, are considered safer. Only two physical compounds, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide have been approved for use. The downside, after application people complain that it leaves them looking ghostly.

Buying Guide
When you reach the sunscreen aisle the choices are endless: SPF rating, price, type, water resistance and special formulations.

     SPF: As above mentioned, stick with SPF 30 to 50, like Bondi Sands from Active Skin.
     Price: Chemical varieties are cheaper than physical. The most important consideration is that all sunscreens sold in Australia are tested and approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration; so you’re protected at any cost.
     Type: Which is best for you?
   Lotions: Are affordable and simple to apply, although they are greasy.
   Creams: Come in a tube and are thicker than lotion. Perfect for those with dry skin.
   Gels or sprays: Are alcohol based and have a drying effect. However, it’s easy to miss spots and can be inhaled which isn’t ideal. Gels are excellent for oily skin types or those prone to acne.
   Sticks: Ideal for target areas like the face or lips.
     Water Resistance: For a day at the beach, waterproof is needed.
     Special Formulations: Baby or sensitive skin lines have more physical versus chemical blockers and therefore are safe for sensitive skin. Babies should only wear sunscreen in small areas when shade is not an option.

Application Tips

Apply sunscreen before sun exposure and reapply every two hours to keep your skin safe from the sun. Keep the product cool and throw it away when it’s past expiry! And perhaps the best piece of advice is don’t just rely on sunscreen as your primary suncare measure, if possible stick to the shade in the middle of the day and wear a hat for best protection!

Keep Your Skin Safe from the Sun, Use Sunscreen

Get outside and enjoy those sunshiny days with a wide-brimmed hat and a thick layer of sunscreen! With this handy guide now you can hit the sunscreen aisle and buy the product right for you!

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