Australia, as you know, has the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world. For those of Northern European background, we have the wrong genes in the wrong hemisphere. Therefore, we have not evolved to deal with the punishing aspects of our glorious Australian sunshine.
Consequently, many of us may develop unwanted and sometimes deadly cancers directly related to unprotected sun exposure. We can reduce our risk to these skin conditions (and many more such as premature ageing) with the daily application of sunscreen.
Here are 7 reasons to start using sunscreen daily!
- Sun Protection Factor 15 or 30?
When considering your SPF, remember that any sunscreen labelled 30+ has met the stringent Therapeutic Goods Act. If you have sunscreen in your moisturiser or makeup it is more than likely an SPF 15 and only qualifies under the Cosmetic Standards Act. This level of protection is far inferior to SPF 30
- What is broad-spectrum?
Ultra Violet rays are non-visible light and are known as UVA UVB and UVC. Broad Spectrum protects you from UVA and UVB, and the ozone layer protects us from UVC. UVA accounts for 95% of the suns radiation and can penetrate clouds and glass. This is the main culprit in accelerated photo-ageing and skin cancer. Broad-spectrum or complete spectrum gives your skin far greater protection.
- Chemicals are bad for you? Right?
Wrong, the chemical load in well-formulated broad-spectrum sunscreens is low. The risk of skin cancer is far greater when you consider that 1700 Australians die from skin cancer each year. Cheaper sunscreens may contain ingredients that cause irritation.
- Do I really have to reapply every 2 hours?
No, you don’t if you are NOT doing active work, exercise or swimming. Your sunscreen is activated when it is exposed to direct sunlight. Stuck in an office all day? Fine, apply your sunscreen in the morning and you are protected for the day. Newer formulations offer up to 4 hours protection.
- But I don’t go in the sun?
I know, you work indoors and never see the sun.
But do you hang the washing on the line, water the garden, and drive your car? All these activities expose you to direct sunlight and after 15 minutes the damage starts.
- I won’t make Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, muscles and overall health. By taking a sensible approach to sun protection you can get adequate Vitamin D without risking skin cancer or photoageing. Overexposure to the sun will not increase Vitamin D levels.
- It is safe for babies?
Babies should avoid exposure to direct sunlight in the first six months. Make sure baby is covered and not taken out in the hottest parts of the day. From 6 months you can use a low chemical load SPF 50+ as added protection for delicate skin. And, of course forevermore.
Ultraviolet Radiation exposes your skin cells to mutations that your body might not to be able to correct. These mutations cause your skin cells to miss communicate their DNA messages resulting in, sometimes irreversible, damage.
And finally, stop mixing your sunscreen and foundation and/or your moisturiser as the two may alter the properties of the SPF making it less effective
The order for application of sunscreen is after serums and before foundation.
Remember, allow your sunscreen to absorb into your skin before applying foundation.
A good quality broad-spectrum sunscreen is the cornerstone of your daily routine as important as brushing your teeth!