Summer is heating up in Australia & I would like to remind everyone how to use sunscreen safely and effectively as part of a complete sun protection strategy. Research has shown that sunscreen not only reduces skin cancer risk but also helps prevent premature skin aging caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun.
Decoding the Label
Sunscreen options may seem endless, with many different brands, formulas, and ingredients to sift through. However, The Skin Cancer Foundation believes everyone can find a sunscreen that works for their skin, budget and lifestyle.
Deciphering a sunscreen’s label is the first step to finding your perfect match.
The first thing to consider is SPF (sun protection factor). The SPF number tells you how long the sun’s UVB radiation would take to redden your skin when using the product exactly as directed versus the amount of time without any sunscreen. Ideally, if you apply an SPF 15 sunscreen it would take your skin 15 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen.
A sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 is perfect for days when you’re mostly indoors.
For days spent outside, choose a water-resistant formula with an SPF of at least 30. For people who have a history or high risk of skin cancer, genetic diseases such as albinism or xeroderma pigmentosum or certain immune disorders, an even higher SPF may be appropriate.
The second thing to check for on a label is the product protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. Both types of UV rays penetrate the skin and cause skin damage that can lead to skin cancer.
Once you’ve decided on your SPF and checked that a product protects against both UVA & UVB rays, you can decide on other qualities based on personal preference and lifestyle. For example, this may include checking the list of active ingredients on the bottle. Look for a mineral-based product containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide if you have sensitive skin - they’re less likely to cause skin reactions than some other active ingredients.
AMPERNA® Pro+ Bio Soothing Day Mineral CC SPF15 [HYDRAPROTECT] lotion contains zinc oxide, vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid to help nourish the skin and protect it from free radical damage. Hero ingredients Yeast Ferment Extract and Soy Amino Acids help with fine lines, wrinkles and help skin brightness. AMPERNA®’s unique probiotic complex delivers good bacteria to your skin gently and effectively. This lightweight, non-greasy physical SPF Day moisturising lotion is an adaptive formula and is suitable for all skin tones.
How much & how often?
Sunscreen won’t protect your skin if you don’t use it properly, so understanding application is vital. Use a decent amount (the same amount as you would with your body moisturiser) to cover the entire body. For the face, a few decent pumps work. Slathering on sunscreen in the morning isn’t enough to protect you all day. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside, then reapplying every two hours and immediately after swimming or sweating. No sunscreen is waterproof, only water-resistant, so in these situations, be aware of how long the product claims to protect against moisture and keep an eye on the clock.
Sunscreen alone isn’t enough
Your sun protection does not stop at SPF use. You should practice a multi-pronged approach to sun safety that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing, wide-brimmed hats, and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use.