You most probably ask yourself this question only once there is a definite, red-hot tan line on your shoulders, however, then you reach for your trusty SPF in your beautiful summery beach bag to get a second look at the cream you applied just this morning. SPF 30. It should have protected you the entire day, right? Maybe ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your SPF respect your skin type and the type of activity you usually participate in?
- Do you consider the time of day you get sun exposure?
- Do you look at the ingredients in the product?
- Did you apply the product regularly throughout the day?
The answer is probably, no?
Once that definite, red-hot tan line appears, it probably means that your SPF didn’t block most of the UVB rays, not to mention the damaging effects UVA rays would have had at this point. DNA damaging, fibroblast damaging, Langerhans cell-damaging, aging and in the long run,…skin cancer. Not worth the impressive tan right?
Let’s take a few steps back to see how this scenario could have been prevented. You need an SPF with either physical, chemical or biological filters. What does this mean?
A physical sunscreen protects the skin from the sun by reflecting or blocking the sun’s rays.
Chemical sunscreens contain organic (carbon-based) compounds, such as Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate and Avobenzone, which create a chemical reaction and works by changing UV rays into heat and then releasing that heat from the skin.
Sunscreens and moisturisers derived from biological sources such as cyanobacteria are known as a biological SPF and could represent a safer alternative to current, synthetic products. Using organic matter to develop sunscreens could lessen the risk of adverse side effects.
Some sunscreens contain all three filters and would probably be the best option to consider as an SPF, keeping in mind that application, while outdoors, should still take place 30min before sun exposure and every 2 hours consecutively. An SPF lower than 20 is also not recommended.
Some sunscreens even have both a tint and added moisturiser – which is great for men and women giving the skin that flawless look. There are also sunscreens specifically designed for babies and toddlers who have sensitive skins. Keep a look out for a water-resistant sunscreen as outdoor activities usually are accompanied with perspiration and swimming and will last much longer on the skin.
Some sunscreens contain anti-oxidants that are basically an extension of any sunscreen, as anti-oxidants enhance protection against environmental factors to better prevent premature signs of aging and repairs sun damage.
Carefully consider your options before catching the harsh South African sun this summer and stay in the know.