Let’s talk suncream, suntan lotion, sunscreen…are we using the right one?
Firstly…SPF….what does it stand for?
Sun Protection Factor.
When it comes to choosing sun protection it can be hard to know which one to choose. There are so many on the market and we all have our go to favourites, whether it be for the smell that we love or its consistency. No one likes a thick sticky sun cream!
Choosing the correct SPF (Sun Protection Factor) can be a bit confusing too. How many of us have been guilty of turning to a low number SPF thinking that this will still give us maximum skin protection whilst we still catch a lovely bronzed tan. Lets look at the facts…
What does the SPF number mean?
The SPF number is an indication of how long it will take for the suns UV rays to redden your skin when using the product exactly how it says to do so compared to the amount of time it takes without any sunscreen. For example with SPF 30 it would take you 30 times longer to burn if you weren’t wearing sunscreen.
An SPF 30 allows about 3 percent of UVB rays to hit your skin. An SPF of 50 allows about 2 percent of those rays through. That may seem like a small difference until you realise that the SPF 30 is allowing 50 percent more UV radiation onto your skin.
Do you know the difference between UVA and UVB?
UVA rays can penetrate the skin which is what will cause damage to the skin cells and cause premature ageing. About 95% of the UV rays that reach the ground are UVA.
UVB rays make up the remaining 5% which have a higher energy level meaning they will damage the outer layer of the skin causing redness and sunburn, and they play a key role in developing skin cancer.
What should I be using?
It is important to look for a suntan lotion that says ‘broad spectrum’ on the label. This means it gives full protection to the skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for any extended outdoor activity. Regardless of the SPF, though, it’s important to apply one ounce (two tablespoons) 30 minutes before going outside and reapply it every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
If you would like any more information on what you should be using on your face in the sun, we have a selection of SPF facial creams and sunscreens to give you full protection whilst also helping to treat any skin concerns you may have at the same time.