Sunscreen isn’t just for the warmer months…..

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Wearing sunscreen should no longer be something you only do in summer or when you know you will be outside for a few hours. The incidence of melanoma is now 1 in 12 in Australia and this statistic is consistency on the rise!!! I find those numbers really unsettling!!!  If you think that getting skin cancer is something that won’t happen to you, think again…..I’ve unfortunately seen it first hand. A close family member was diagnosised with a melanoma last year which as you can imagine was devasting.

The two most important reasons for wearing an SPF daily are
~ Skin Cancer/Burn (UVB rays )
~ Skin Aging/damage (UVA rays)

UV rays cause sunburn and sun damage by inducing cellular damage to DNA. Both the U.S Department of Health & Human Services and WHO (World Health Organiation) have identified UV as a human carcinogen. Hence, there is no such thing as a “safe tan” unless its out of a bottle. In fact a tan is a sign of DNA damage. Its actually the result of a chemical reaction in your body as it tries (& fails) to protect itself from UV light.

There are two types of sunscreens avaliable

~ Physical Blockers
~ Chemical Blockers

Physical Blockers are mainly made up from Zinc and Titanium Dioxide and work by reflecting UV light off the skin. Chemical Blockers however work by absorbing light into the skin and via a chemical process protect skin from UV damage. When purchasing a sunscreen you should always aim for one stating that it is “broad spectrum” meaning it offers protection from UVA & UVB rays. Interestingly enough SPF is only relevant to UVB rays.

There’s still a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding surrounding sunscreen in particular the level of protection it offers and it’s application.

Lets look at some misconceptions regarding sunscreen.

1. One of the frequently asked questions i get asked from my clients is if they are wearing a moisturiser with an SPF 15 and a tinted moisturiser with an SPF 15 does that mean they have SPF 30 protection? The simple answer is no!! SPF doesn’t accumulate.

2. Sunscreen isnt 100% water proof but water resistant hence why it must be reapplied once you have been in the water.

3. Individuals with dark skin still need protection from the suns rays!!! Darker skin might not be as vulnerable to UV rays but it doesnt mean that it won’t burn and possibly get skin cancer.

4. There’s a reason why sunscreen has a use by date….Its capacity decreases over time and if left in the sun while you are out in the water (as so many do) it goes off. Please be sure to repurchase.

5. Another frequently asked question i get is “If I wear a SPF 30 instead of a SPF 15 that means im getting double the protection right? Ah no is the short answer!! The difference between them is around 1%. The same goes for a SPF 50 against a SPF 30.

Application
It still surprises me that people have no idea how to apply sunscreen in order for it to work as it should.

~ Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes prior to you stepping out into the sun, as it takes that long for the ingredients to start working.
~ Approximatey the size of a 20 cent piece of sunscreen should be applied per limb and for your back and décolletage/abdominal region aim for 2 tablespoons. Aim for 1 teaspoon for the face and neck.
~ Remember to reapply according to manufactures instructions. There’s no such thing as all day protection!
~ The order of application for us ladies would be Cleanse, Serum (if using), moisturiser, sunscreen and makeup if applying.
~ Please dont forget to thoroughly cleanse at the end of the day as sunscreen loves to get into pores and can lead to blockages. If prone to breakouts from sunscreen always look for non comedogenic formulas.

There’s been a lot of unfortunate news of late about reactions and chemical burns occurring from sunscreen application. Ive seen this first hand as my mum had a bad reaction to sunscreen last year on her face which lasted two weeks and required antihistamines and cortisone cream application as few times daily. In my experience and please dont take this as gospel, physical sunscreen is less reactive. If sensitive please do a test patch prior to applying your sunscreen to a larger area to avoid any nasty issues.

Make sunscreen part of your daily skin care routine.

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