With Summer and Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to dust off your SPF and check the expiry date before topping up on the most critical product in your bathroom. You should be wearing an SPF every day but it is absolutely essential if you work outdoors and even while driving, as the sun can damage your skin through the glass. A blasé attitude will come back to bite you in the form of wrinkles or even worse, cancerous melanoma from UV damage. Look for a broad-spectrum SPF, meaning it protects against both UVA rays (which prematurely age skin) and UVB rays (which cause burning and redness).
For a quick science lesson: There are two types of sunscreen and the one you choose should depend on your lifestyle. Chemical sunscreens have a light easily absorbed texture and work by absorbing UV rays into the skin, converting them to heat and releasing them from the body. Chemical SPF blocks are suited for day to day wear around the city or if you have an office job, it takes 20 minutes once applied to become effective.
While physical sunscreens are zinc based and have a thicker texture when applied. They work by creating a barrier on the surface of the skin which reflects the sun's rays, the ideal choice if you’re the active outdoorsy-type a builder or landscaper and work requires you to be outside most of the day. They tend to be less irritating for sensitive skin and are longer-lasting than their chemical counterparts. Physical sunscreens also start working as soon as they're applied (no 20-minute wait) and stop more UV radiation reaching the skin, making them the top choice if you plan to spend the day on the water with a fishing rod in one hand and a cold beer in the other.
Once you've made your choice, don’t forget to slather it on behind your ears and on the back of your neck. If you think you are off the hook with a darker skin, a not so fun fact: Bob Marley died of melanoma at the age of 36. Darker skins have a longer to burn time due to higher levels of melanin in the skin but UV light still creates the same free radical damage in darker skins as it does for fair skin. If you notice any changes in your skin or have an unusual mole we recommend getting a mole map and start summer knowing your skin is healthy and protected.
If your unsure about which Sunscreen you should be wearing for your lifestyle, come in and see one of our Skin Experts to guide you in the right direction.