You’ve heard it a million times before, but it’s always worth saying: sunscreen is the best anti-aging weapon against skin damage and premature skin ageing. Here are our favourite sunscreen facts to boost your skin protection game this summer.
1. UVA rays penetrate clouds & glass, and are present during all daylight levels throughout the year.
The sun produces two types of rays that reach us:
- UVA: penetrates deeply into the skin, destroying elasticity and causing signs of aging
- UVB: cause skin damage such as sunburn and alters the structure of skin cells
Since UVA is the main cause of wrinkles and fine lines, this means that you should wear sunscreen daily, even during the winter months.
2. Broad spectrum sunscreen offers protection from UVA and UVB rays.
SPF only provides protection against the UVB rays that cause sunburn. In Australia, UVA protection is determined by the ‘broad spectrum’ label.
The TGA requires all ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreens to protect against both UVA and UVB rays, so make sure that you shop for sunscreens labelled ‘broad spectrum’ to ensure that you get the best possible protection.
3. Store sunscreen out of the sun and below 30°C.
It’s time to face the facts: sunscreen you keep in your car as an emergency stash might be unsafe.
Heat alters the sunscreen’s composition, breaking down its effectiveness. When you’re at the beach, store your sunscreen in a cooler instead of in the car.
4. The sun’s rays don’t discriminate.
Sunscreen should be used by everyone regardless of skin colour. The darkest skintone on the Fitzpatrick scale (Type VI) provides an SPF equivalent of 4-6, which is not enough to prevent skin cancer and damage.
In fact, certain melanomas such as acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) is more common among people with darker skintones and often remain undetected until cancer has spread.
5. Swimming and sweating makes SPF wear off sooner than the 2 hours suggested on the label.
Sunscreen isn’t like longwear makeup: there is no such thing as ‘set and forget’.
Sunscreen provides a shield against the sun, and is closer to wet paint than metal armour. Any touching, wiping or brushing of clothes, towels or hands will wipe away your sun protection. And, just like wet paint, more than one coat is needed for an even layer.
Make your sunscreen easier to apply, reapply and layer with lightweight, non-sticky formulations. Consider choosing an SPF range with products from SPF 15 to SPF 50+ to suit every situation so you’re never caught out without protection.