Your Essential Summer SPF Guide

Summer is around the corner! And three simple letters - SPF - are becoming more important than ever. The need to update your sunscreen knowledge is heightened in the hotter months, so here is a refresher guide so that you don’t slip up when you slip, slop and slap.

With skin cancer on the rise, it's never been so important to slip, slop, slap. A guide on what, when and how to apply, will ensure you enjoy the summer heat without causing lasting damage.

Lather On Liberally:

SPF protection prowess relies heavily on how they are applied! When tested in lab formulation mode, SPF is done so in 2mg amounts. When was the last time you applied this much sunscreen to any given body part? In reality, seaside application is far less liberal, so the power of the product can be greatly reduced. So as a general rule, apply around two tablespoons (35-40 ml) to sun exposed areas.

Don’t Be A One-Application Wonder:

You go hard at 8am, but you don’t get home from the cricket/picnic until 6pm. If you haven’t re-applied product regularly throughout the day, it’s going to prove one sore homecoming for you and your skin! Experts urge that sunscreen be applied initially to clean, dry skin 20-30 minutes before going in the sun, and re-applied every two hours or after swimming, towelling, exercising or sweating. Insect repellents also reduce a sunscreen SPF, as does body moisturiser, so for the latter, apply first and allow it to sink into limbs over ten minutes, before applying SPF.

Look At Labels:

Use an SPF 50+, broad spectrum, photo-stable, water-resistant sunscreen for optimum protection whenever possible. And don’t let it roll around in your beach bag beside your visor between visits to the sand as SPF should be stored in a cool, dark place to promote a longer life. Also, keep an eye on the use-by date and discard product 12 months after first opening.

The Maths Of SPF:

SPF ratings are measured by the products ability to shield against UVB rays only, so they basically acknowledge how much longer it will take for the skin to be aggravated and ‘redden’ by UVB exposure compared to when the skin is not protected with an SPF. So for example, an SPF 15 will mean it takes 15 times longer for the skin to redden than if you weren’t wearing it.

UVA vs UVB:

The skin's immunity is damaged by both UVA and UVB exposure, which can lead to the formation of pre-cancers and skin cancers. This occurs due to the ability of UVA to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin, so above and beyond SPF, light, long-sleeve clothing and hats are imperative summer accessories.

Make SPF Childs Play Today:

SPF should become a family staple in childhood, as early sun exposure seems to play an important role in the development of basal cell skin cancers, the most common skin cancer in Australia. Cold comfort for children of the 1970s and earlier who were blissfully unaware of the depleting ozone layer, but today, there is no excuse for not protecting children against the sun. Melanoma is the most common cancer in young Australians aged 15-39 years old and in 20-34 year olds and it kills more young Australians than any other cancer so before they even have teeth, they need SPF.

There Is No Such Thing As Safe Sun Exposure. Ever.

SPF does not offer 100% security against the sun. Yes, the higher the SPF the more protection you have from sun damage, however, you can still burn. Experts agree that it is impossible to convert SPF to an actual 'safe time' in the sun because of varying environmental factors such as latitude, altitude, day and time of year. So go one step further with fervent application and some favourite fashion to cover up with. Combined sun protection is supreme sun protection!

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