Why do I need to apply an SPF daily?
A SPF is arguably the most important product in your skincare regime. We’re familiar with slathering on the sun cream in summer, but we should actually be wearing SPF Every. Single. Day. Even when it’s torrential rain and the depths of winter outside, you should still be applying your SPF religiously (just make sure not to use it at night). SPF has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, with so many different skin friendly formulas available for all types of skin.
What do I need to look out for when purchasing an SPF?
Not all sunscreens are equal. To find the best formula for you, pay attention to the labels.
Your body is exposed to UV radiation every day, whether you're indoors or out. Wearing a generous amount daily helps protect your skin from premature signs of ageing, as well as skin cancer.
Healthy, smooth, even-toned skin – and good health – are the trade-offs for golden tans and too much time in the sun. Surprisingly, many people who think they are protecting themselves are following outdated, inaccurate advice that is jeopardising their long-term skin health.
Many people think that applying any old SPF will keep us safe from both kinds of the sun's harmful rays. Unfortunately, this is not true. To understand why, look closely at the labels, ingredients, and physical forms of the products you are buying.
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) indicates how long it will take for UVB rays – the main cause of sunburn – to redden the skin. For example, SPF 15 means it will take 15 times longer for skin to redden with the product on than without it. This has nothing to do with UVA rays, which are the same rays emitted by tanning booths. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply, and play a major part in accelerating the signs of skin ageing and generating skin cancer.
To protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, don't just buy a product with an SPF of 15 or higher. Make sure it is labelled "broad spectrum," which means it contains a combination of ingredients known to protect skin against both types of UV rays. These could be chemical or physical sunscreens or a combination thereof. Chemical sunscreens (e.g., Avobenzone, Oxybenzone), work by absorbing ultraviolet (UV) radiation and physical sunscreens (e.g.,Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide), reflect or scatter UV radiation.
Which type of SPF is better for me?
Chemical or physical sunscreen? It's a matter of preference.
Chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin and are usually more popular because they feel lighter and look less noticeable. They use active ingredients like Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Oxybenzone and Helioplex. Chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays turning them into heat on your skin. If your skin is sensitised in anyway these may not be the best option for you.
Physical sunscreens, or mineral sunscreens, sit on the surface of the skin. They can feel heavier and look more noticeable, but they provide added coverage and are more resistant to sweating and swimming. Look for active ingredients like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to identify them. Physical sunscreens reflect UV rays from the skin, these are a really good option for a sensitised skin.
A base tan does not protect you from the sun.
There is no such thing as a safe tan. By definition, a suntan is your skin's defence to being harmed by UV exposure. Your cells respond to the affront by producing more melanin (pigment), and your skin darkens as a result. There is nothing healthy or preventive to be gained from trying to acquire a base tan.
Sunscreen isn't just for the summer.
Sun damage doesn’t just happen during the summer months or while at the beach. Photo damage or UV exposure (which causes ageing) can occur from exposure to daylight through clouds, rain, glass and even fluorescent indoor lighting. This is why protecting the skin every day is imperative. Roughly 90 percent of photo ageing is preventable by wearing SPF daily, so slather up!
You're probably not using enough sunscreen.
As a general rule, creams and lotions tend to deliver better protection than spray formulations, which most people don't apply enough of to get adequate coverage. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a "liberal use" of SPF 30 (picture a shot glass full of lotion) for the body and reapplying every two hours (or after swimming or exercising). For the face, the rule of thumb is one teaspoon of sunscreen to deliver the SPF protection on the package.
Some of our favourite sunscreens
This physical sunscreen is oil-free. EltaMD UV Clear, comes in clear or tinted, helps calm and protect sensitive skin types prone to breakouts, rosacea, and discolouration. It contains Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Hyaluronic Acid and Lactic Acid, ingredients that promote the appearance of healthy-looking skin. Very lightweight and silky, it may be worn with makeup or alone.
Perfect for everybody 6yrs+. Powerful, yet applies invisibly. Certified natural, chemical free and full of practitioner strength ingredients.
A 100% natural, golden and deeply nourishing SPF30 sunscreen, with a semi-matte mineral finish. Apply everyday to prepare and protect your skin against dry climates, pollution and UVA/UVB damage. Infused with carrot pigments and organic oils, this nutrient-rich formula provides high sun protection while promoting a healthy glow and enhancing the skin's natural defence against sun stress. Sustainably made in Australia, Cruelty-free, $1 donated to reef conservation.
Invisible, weightless defense that blends easily on skin, featuring only non-nano Zinc Oxide. Say goodbye to thick, white residue with this physical SPF formula. Provides added blue light protection and helps soothe away the effects of environmental aggressors. Bioactive Mushroom Complex helps soothe skin and reduce UV-induced redness and dryness. Antioxidant Green Tea helps defend skin against free radical damage. Ideal for all skin types, including sensitive.
This sheer solar protection treatment defends against prolonged skin damage from UV light and environmental assault. Oleosome microspheres help enhance SPF performance and counteract moisture loss triggered by extended daylight exposure. Lightweight formula helps neutralise damage and bind moisture to skin without a greasy after-feel.