March 09, 2021
If you’re reading this, chances are you live in Australia. And if you live in Australia you’re no doubt aware of the giant, gaping hole that we have in our Ozone layer, and also our infamous title as the country with the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.
We all grew up with Slip, Slop Slap, but there is a common misconception that this only applies to the summer months, when we’re all outside at the beach/pool/pub and that’s just not true. Here are just a few reasons why you should still wear sunscreen not just in summer, but all year round.
UV radiation is not just about temperature
While the sun makes its presence known through blaring heat, UV radiation is a silent destroyer. It can’t be felt or seen, and the daily UV rating isn’t linear to how hot it is. Even during winter months, the UV index can rocket to the very high and extreme end of the scale in some states, and those with colder winters (looking at you Melbourne) can also have ratings above 3 – where sun protection is always recommended. This is not a scare tactic, but just a fact. And one that not many people are aware of.
Every bit of sun damage adds up
While it’s definitely true that you’ll be less at risk on a lower UV-index-rating day (under the recommended UV-3), the thing about sun damage is that it’s cumulative, so every time you step out unprotected, it’s adding to a greater total – the total being irreparable damage to your skin cells.
Adding to that is the fact that we really don’t know how much sun exposure is “safe”. Sure, there are guidelines, and websites like SunSmart can advise but skin tones and genetic risk factors are so individual to each person. And, even with experts agreeing that a UV index rating under 3 is generally safe (and therefore sunscreen is not vital) it also says that you should wear it if you work outside or are outside for extended periods - so obviously you are still at some kind of risk.
The sun accelerates ageing
This is a fact. It’s not smoking, drinking, diet or exercise, or even pollution that makes your skin age faster: it’s the sun. In fact, it’s the number one cause of premature ageing. Aside from causing things like hyperpigmentation, it also degrades both the collagen and elastin in your skin, which means it won't be as firm and wrinkles will begin to form. In addition, a lot of active skincare ingredients (including AHAs and retinol) will make skin more photosensitive so if you have these in your routine, sunscreen is never negotiable.