February 18, 2021
By now you should all know that sunscreen is a non-negotiable in every beauty routine. Not only for the cancer factor (just a friendly reminder that Australia has the highest rate of melanoma in the world), but also because if you forgo sunscreen it basically renders all other beauty products redundant. No amount of magic cream can reverse the ageing and skin cell damage that the sun causes. That’s just a fact. But sun safety has also come a long way since the Slip Slop Slap generation. Here’s just a few more things you should know about sunscreen.
You need to reapply every two hours – or earlier: Sort of like how a car uses petrol, your skin uses up the active ingredient in sunscreen so it needs to be reapplied to be effective. And just on that, you also need to apply 20 minutes before you step out into the sun to ensure it’s absorbed correctly or you won’t be adequately protected.
Expiration dates matter: Just like all beauty products, sunscreens have a use-by date. But this is one product where you don’t want to be ignoring the date. Because the active, skin-protecting ingredients actually degrade over time, meaning they won’t be as effective – leaving you susceptible to damage.
One squirt is not enough: The Cancer Council recommendation is one teaspoon of sunscreen for your face, including your neck and ears, and a further one teaspoon for each individual body part.
“Natural” sunscreens explained: In beauty, the word “natural” has become a favourite of green washing aficionados, but in sunscreen it’s even more complicated. People refer to “natural” sunscreens as being those with a mineral-based active ingredient – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are often called “physical” sunscreens as it was commonly thought they work by physically blocking out the sun and reflecting the rays. However, it only does this for approximately 15% of rays. Just like “chemical” sunscreens, they mostly work by absorbing UV radiation. Typically these are low-allergenic so work well for sensitive skins, however some people can also be allergic to these (as they can with anything!). One of the perceived downsides of these sunscreens is that they can often leave a white cast on the skin, meaning they may not be suitable for darker skin tones.
“Chemical” sunscreens explained: People often freak out with the word “chemical” but in fact everything is a chemical! And they’re definitely not something to be afraid of. As explained above, these sunscreens work by absorbing harmful UV radiation. There are many benefits and lots of them in the market – some of the best sunscreens on the market are “chemical” sunscreens. The sheer formulations mean that they’re more inclusive and with scientific advancements, the filters (or active ingredients) are constantly improving so many are suitable for sensitive skin too.
The sunscreen in your makeup is not enough: BB cream got some SPF in it? Great. That doesn’t mean you’re protected. The reason is simple: you don’t use one teaspoon of foundation for your face, well, ever. And if this is how much you need to be protected, your foundation as sunscreen just won’t cut it. Think of it as cream on top, but always use a daily sunscreen too.
Best sunscreen for babies: Babies have thin, extra sensitive skin and a skin barrier that isn’t yet strong, which is why it is not recommended that sunscreen is used on babies younger than six months. After that time, many people will choose a zinc-based sunscreen for the low allergen factor, but there are many “chemical” formulations suitable for sensitive children’s skin also – it just comes down to personal preference.