October 21, 2021
If you live in Australia and you love your skin, you have to love sunscreen. Period. Any self-respecting beauty editor will tell you that the sun is the number one cause of premature ageing – that’s right – more than all of your other lifestyle choices. And let’s not even get started about Australia’s skin cancer record (number one in the world!)
Regardless of whether your preference is for chemical or physical sunscreens, mineral or natural sunscreens, the best sunscreen for you is the one you love and want to wear - because all we really care about is getting you protected. But, there are a few more things you should know to keep you sun safe, and we just so happened to create a handy little list for you. You’re welcome.
Here’s the thing: while all beauty products have an expiration date, with sunscreen they really mean it. That’s because ignoring it could be potentially damaging for your skin. See, the SPF ingredients degrade over time (some even oxidise) so they will no longer protect your skin in the same way. Just like other products, you can usually tell if a formula has gone bad by changes in the colour, texture or smell of the SPF.
The truth is, you’re probably not using enough. The recommendation by the Cancer Council is one teaspoon for your face, neck and ears. But, when was the last time you measured out one teaspoon? It’s actually quite a lot. Do yourself a favour and measure it just once to see - at least so you’ll have a guide for next time. Remember it’s better to have too much than too little.
Like a lot of beauty products, sunscreen does not like to be in spaces that are too hot. So leaving them roasting in your car, yeah not a good idea. This will increase the rate of degradation and potentially cause it to spoil sooner.
Lots of foundations have an SPF claim to them, which is great, but the reason this is not enough for your daily skin protection is simple: You don’t use enough. Remember that one teaspoon rule? No one uses one teaspoon of foundation. So relying on that alone means you simply haven’t used enough to get adequate protection. Sunscreen first, then makeup please.
Most people slap on some sunscreen in the morning and then pat themselves on the back for being so sun safe. And sure, this is good, but you’re not done for the day at 8am. Especially if you’re going to be outside, reapplication needs to happen every two hours - maximum. Your skin essentially uses up the active ingredients so any longer and it’ll be ineffective.
It takes eight minutes for sunscreen to bind and form an even film on the skin, but most experts will tell you to wait 20 minutes because we know how bad everyone is with time, so if they say 20, most people will wait 10 and everyone wins. But the point here is that you can’t just pop it on as you’re walking out the door, or worse, at the beach when you’re already exposed, because it needs some time to work it’s magic.
Whether you’re a three or nine-step skincare person, let your products sink in before you apply your sunscreen - especially if they have lots of silicones. You just want to give your skin the best chance at even sunscreen coverage, and if it’s sliding around on top of a moisturiser, it won't have that.
Yes, we’ve said it alot, but we’re here again. Natural, mineral or “physical” sunscreens are not “better” for you. They simply have different active ingredients (namely zinc and titanium dioxide) and work in a slightly different way. They are also favoured by those with sensitive skin as few people react to zinc. Chemical sunscreens (also, confusingly called “organic” sunscreens) are also excellent especially on skin tones that find zinc leaves them with a white cast. At the end of the day it just comes down to personal preference: find the one you love and wear that. It’s really that simple.
Here’s a few that we love:
The Kind Sunscreen Natural Sunscreen SPF 30, $29: A zinc-based formula made with only nine ingredients that’s vegan friendly too.
We Are Feel Good Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+, $29.95: As the package says, it’s excellent for sensitive skins, and also for kids too as it’s quick and non-sticky to apply.
Salt and Stone Lightweight Sheer Daily Sunscreen 40+, $59.95: A mineral, oil-free variation for the face that plays well with makeup.