Sun protection – what does it mean to you? There is one key skincare product that you should look at very closely: your sunscreen. How does it protect your skin from the sun and UV damage, one of the primary causes of ageing, sagging and discoloured skin? We discuss how your sunscreen and your other sun protection beauty habits contribute to your long-term health, fighting anti-ageing and preventing skin cancer.
How do you protect your skin living in Australia, the sunburnt (and UV-damaged) country?
In fact, (now that we have your attention), the rates of skin cancer are 2-3 times higher than those in Canada, UK, and the US – due to many factors such as the hole in the ozone layer and the fact we are living in a hot country, but there are other reasons closer to you that we want to discuss today.
Sun protection – what does it mean to you? Wearing a rashie if you go surfing? Carrying an umbrella when walking in your garden? The famous zinc stripe that the Bondi Lifeguards wear when they are on tv? Yes, yes and yes, all these and more can prevent you from becoming a statistic on the skin cancer tally sheet, but there is one key skincare product that you should look at very closely: your sunscreen, or more specifically your sunblock.
Sunscreens vs Sunblocks – which fights anti-ageing better?
What is the difference? Once you know the difference between chemical and physical sunblocks you can be more informed on how to protect your skin and fight the ageing process by using sun protection products and skin care that work naturally with your skin and skincare routine.
The two types of sun protection products
There are many sunscreen products out on the market but it is important to remember that no sunscreen can guarantee 100% sun protection. It is also your own responsibility, when out in the sun, to look after your own skin through combined skin care product use and your daily routine.
There are two categories of sunscreens:
- Chemical sunscreens that sink into your skin to absorb UVA and UVB rays, and use ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone and artificial fragrances. If your skin has had an allergic reaction to a sunscreen, chances are that your skin cannot tolerate the chemicals in the product – many brands on the market use harmful chemicals in their sunscreen. Sunscreens also allow a certain % of UVA and UVB to penetrate into the skin.
- Physical sunblocks that block the sun by coating the skin to reflect UVA and UVB rays. These sunscreens use physical zinc and titanium dioxide to block sun rays.
What factors are important to fighting UV sun damage to your skin?
The sunscreen that you wear and time out in the sun are obviously important in limiting your skin’s exposure to the sun, but there are a few other considerations for fighting UV sun damage…
- Eco-friendly and hypoallergenic formulations are obviously preferred to synthetic chemical sunscreens
- Performance out in the sun is also a factor in choosing the right product for your skin.
- Zinc-based products last longer in the sun as they sit on top of the skin.
Reviewing your sun protection and skin care routine
Use the sections below to review your sun protection options:
1. How much time do you spend out in the sun?
The majority of sun-related, skin-ageing conditions are caused by exposure to UV radiation in sunlight. If you are an office worker rather than a professional surfer, your day-to-day sun protection needs will be less intense, but any time that you spend in the harsh Australian sun should be spent wearing sunscreen protection.
“Clinicals Minc (below) contains antioxidants which help fight against free radical damage from UV exposure. It’s a no brainer that all sunscreens should be loaded with antioxidants!”
- Any amount of time spent in the sun, and at what time of day, is also a factor in skin ageing.
- In Australia, over 10% of adults, 1/4 of all teenagers and up to 10% of children are sunburnt on an average summer weekend.
- Even if the sun is overcast there can still be a high UV radiation factor, which can result in skin cancer and burning. Even if the skin does not burn, skin cells can still be damaged which, year after year, can age skin and lead to skin cancer.
- Try to stay out of the sun at the hottest times of the day as this will be when the UV will be strongest.
- Check your weather reports for documentation of this very common Australian sun environment factor.
2. Solarium Tans
Tanning has been part of our Australian beach culture but understanding what it is and how to obtain it, if you really want a tan, is important for your long-term skin care and health.
A tanned and glowing skin looks healthy to many Australians, but it is also a sign that your skin has been damaged by UV radiation, which leads to loss of elasticity in the skin, skin sagging, yellowish or brown discolourations on the skin, and dehydration – all signs of ageing.
- Solariums emit both UVA and UVB radiation, both known causes of cancer, and can emit radiation levels up to six times higher than the midday summer sun (Cancer Council).
- Fake tans do not protect your skin to sun exposure and burn. A 2006 NSW survey found that some people (particularly women) believe fake tans are better than natural sunlight tanning, which led them to get burnt more than once in one summer period. Fake tans do not protect against DNA damage which again, can lead to skin cell breakdown.
- Some fake tans products include SPF, but the sun protection duration only lasts a few hours, not for the duration of the tan.
- Fake tanning products include lotions (skin dyes), bronzers, tinted sunscreen, tanning tablets and ‘accelerators’, and spray tanning booths. Sydney skin specialist clinics You By Sia promote the use of Bronzers and Tinted Sunscreens, but if you want to know more about the use of other fake tanning products, read more at the Cancer Council.
3. Protective skin care in the sun
Fun in the sun activities also affect the level of skin protection offered by product or other sunscreens.
- If you cannot avoid prolonged sun exposure: use after-care products and drink lots of water to hydrate your skin while out in the sun.
- If you are swimming in the ocean: apply twenty minutes before you go into the water to give your skin a chance to absorb the SPF and not wash off in the sea.
- If you are swimming in a swimming pool: apply twenty minutes before you go into the water to give your skin a chance to absorb the SPF and after swimming, make sure you have a clean water shower to remove all traces of chlorine from your skin and swimming costume, as it dries out skin and bleaches fabric!
- If you are wearing fake tan: stay in the shade wherever possible, wear a broad-brimmed hat, sun protective clothing and sunglasses, use SPF 30+, water-resistant, and re-apply every two hours.
4. Sunscreen types and application
The Cancer Council 2015 SunSmart campaign recommends SPF30 or higher, broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen – see how to apply using their instructions.
No sunscreen fully protects your skin, so do not rely on it as the only protection for your skin. Use generous amounts, applied liberally, and reapply every two hours regardless of the label instructions.
If you have an allergic reaction to a sunscreen, try another brand. Fragrance-free brands, baby brands or chemist formulations may not affect your skin in the same way. Ask your skin specialist what products they recommend – they are specialists in skin treatment and diagnosis.
5. Clinicals Minc: Australia’s lightest, antioxidant sunblock
Experience a natural sunblock that nourishes your skin at the same time as protecting it.
Clinicals MINC is a new lightweight, antioxidant sunblock offering broad spectrum (UVA and UVB protection) benefits in one airless, cosmetically-designed 50ml pump dispenser. Formulated with a combination of effective antioxidants and high-strength Zinc, MINC provides moisturising hydration and anti-ageing sun protection. For serious skincare protection in a simple skin care routine.
Lightweight • Non-greasy • Non-comedogenic • Paraben-Free • Fragrance-Free • Suitable for all skin types Including oily acne skins • Contains anti-oxidants and moisturisers • Suitable for sensitive skins • FREE from oxybenzone and octinoxate • Protects against UVA and UVB damage • Is a physical sunblock (non-chemical) and is NOT a sunscreen.
• Tocopheryl Acetate
• Vitamin E
• Green Tea Extract
• Licorice Extract
• Grape Seed Extract
• Gingko Extract
Enjoy a luxurious sun protection skincare experience this summer with your skin care and sunscreen
With the detailed summer skin care and sunscreen advice outlined above, you can now enjoy planning your sun activity with anti-ageing UV sun damage skincare product choices this summer.
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Be part of the Future with Clinicals Dermally Active Skincare! About Clinicals Dermally Active Skincare
At Clinicals, we are dedicated to making Australian owned, dermally active skincare products that works with your skin, not against it.
We develop clinically potent, cellular skin care to offer you the best skincare products for beautiful skin – affordable luxury backed by skin science.
Our adherence to professional ethics and standards guarantee your personal confidence in our cosmeceutically active, natural ingredients, supported by a non-harm policy in the development and innovation of our skincare product range.