Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. It is therefore more important than ever to protect our skin against sun damage. Besides sun damage leading to skin cancer, UV radiation can also cause sunburn, premature ageing and eye damage.
To learn how to protect our skin, it is important to understand what sunscreen does, and how you should choose the right one for you and your family.
What do the sunscreen terms mean?
SPF: SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and it is a measure of how well it protects the skin from sunburn. To achieve the SPF protection on the label of the sunscreen, it must be applied liberally and regularly according to the directions provided.
Water resistant: This means the sunscreen will not come off the skin during swimming or exercise, provided it is not wiped away. However, if a sunscreen claims to be 4 hours water resistant, it will still need to be applied every two hours or as per the directions provided to provide the same level of protection.
Broad-spectrum: Broad-spectrum sunscreens filter both UVA and UVB rays. Both UVA and UVB lead to increased skin cancer risk, but UVB is the principal cause of sunburn.
‘+’ sign: The “+” sign simply means ‘more than’. For instance, an SPF50+ sunscreen must provide at least SPF60 or more sun protection in testing to remove any margin for error.
The more, the merrier?
When looking for sunscreen, some people believe a higher SPF count will protect them better against sun damage.
In general, we should use sunscreen that is labelled broad spectrum, water resistant and SPF30+ or above. However, it is interesting to note that SPF50+ only provides marginally better protection from Ultra Violet (UV) radiation than SPF30+. A sunscreen with SPF30+ blocks out 96.7% of UV radiation, whereas a sunscreen with SPF50+ blocks out 98% of UV radiation.
It is far more important to follow the directions and proper usage of sunscreen and to combine sunscreen with other sun protection measures such as wearing sun protective hats, clothing and sunglasses.
Applying sunscreen the right way
Sunscreen should be applied ideally about 20 minutes before sun exposure. It should also be re-applied every 2 hours, even if the sunscreen packaging does not tell you to. Many of us forget to re-apply every 2 hours, which means we end up getting less than half of the protection stated on the sunscreen label.
Some of us may not think to reapply sunscreen because it may not be that sunny after 2 hours, and we don’t think we need it anymore. But it is important to note that UV cannot be seen or felt – unlike the sun’s light we see or the heat we feel. It can be very damaging to us without us knowing.
Sunscreen can also be easily wiped off and lost through perspiration so it is important to keep re-applying to ensure you’re getting the protection you need.
What can I do if I have premature ageing skin?
Make sure to be sun smart and take all the necessary precautions to prevent further sun damage. Sunblock is a must, even on cloudy days. Try the Aspect Gold Envirostat Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 50 so you can prevent further sun damage to your skin by wearing this under your makeup every day. Find out more here >
There are also some non-invasive skin treatments that can specifically treat effects of sun damage:
A Vibro Microdermabrasion treatment can fade pigmentation, soften fine lines and smoothen skin, which are all effects of sun damage. Being safe for all skin types, it’s been considered by many as the ultimate facial. Find out more here >
A Broad band light/ Rejuvederm treatment can lighten or remove freckles and sun spots, and spider veins too. Find out more here >
Find out more about these treatments by calling us or booking a consultation with us today.
Call: 08 9205 1995
Email: [email protected]