Our hot Australian sun doesn’t discriminate and without the proper skin protection its harmful UVB and UVA rays can cause havoc to whomever skin is exposed. Not only does the sun cause sun burn, it also causes premature aging, skin damage and even skin cancer. Sunscreen is one of the defences against the sun but is a sunscreen with 50SPF really necessary or can we stick to our 30 SPF instead?
What exactly is SPF?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and you will find a rating of SPF on all sunscreens and even some moisturisers and makeup products. SPF measures the protection that a sunscreen will give you from the harmful UVB rays that come from the sun and cause skin cancer, SPF does not measure the other ray called UVA rays which are also damaging and dangerous. For best protection from the sun the cancer council recommends at least SPF 30+ applied properly (2mg/cm2) and reapplied every two hours.
Should I use a higher SPF?
- SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
- SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
- SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays
- SPF 100 blocks 99% of UVB rays
You can see that just because it’s a much higher SPF rating it does not actually block much more UVB rays from entering your skin, and there is still no sunscreen that blocks 100% of the sun’s harmful rays. The problem with higher SPF ratings is that many people are misled into thinking they have a lot more skin protection then they do and they feel they can stay out under the sun for longer, reapply less often and not worry as much. Unfortunately none of that is true, and this type of false thinking can actually lead to more damage in the long run! No matter which SPF you choose you need to apply liberally and reapply every 2 hours and after swimming and towel drying, if you don’t them simply won’t work.
Another issue with higher SPF ratings is they may have higher protection against UVB rays but no protection against UVA, which can also cause damage and lead to skin cancer.
When buying a sunscreen opt for at least 30 SPF and then check the ingredients, look for a combination of these UVA protection ingredients; stabilized a avobenzone, ecamsule, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc.
Don’t forget to slip slop slap!
Many people think that because they have sunscreen on they are 100% protected from the sun, but remember, no sunscreen blocks 100% of UV rays so you must take further action to prevent skin damage.
- Wear a hat
- Protect your eyes with sunnies
- Wear clothing that covers most of your skin when outdoors
- Sit in the shade
- Do not linger out under the sun
- Use tints on windows of your home and car because UVA rays can and will penetrate glass.
So there you go while a higher SPF rating on a sunscreen may offer more protection it’s only marginal and no sunscreen offers a full 100% protection from our sun. Grab your 30+ SPF, apply liberally and often remember to slip slop slap and stay skin cancer free!!!