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Sun solutions – choosing and using the right sunscreen
Skin Institute
October 2, 2017

Most people know that sun damage doesn’t just make you look older – it can also lead to deadly skin cancers like melanoma.

Advertising campaigns over the last two decades have led to an increased awareness of sun protection. Our most recent Skin Census survey showed that 47% of respondents wear sunscreen every day, with a further 47% wearing it on sunny days or during summer.

These statistics show that people are aware of the importance of sunscreen, which is very positive. Unfortunately, the survey also showed some knowledge gaps around the best sunscreens to use, and how to use them. Only 30% of respondents used a zinc-based sunscreen, and just 34% said they usually reapplied sunscreen as often as they should.

Sunscreen selections

Sprays, liquids, moisturisers with sunscreen, natural sunscreens – it’s no wonder people are confused about the best one to buy.

The most effective way to prevent skin damage and premature aging is by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection, preferably with zinc oxide. Zinc oxide forms a physical barrier against UVA and UVB rays. It’s also inert, which means it has a low risk of reaction, even for sensitive skin.

No barrier will completely block UV rays or visible light on its own, so look for sunscreens with other active agents such as niacinamide and astacanthin.

It’s also worth noting that although spray sunscreen seems convenient, most don’t give an effective level of coverage when compared to a traditional cream formula.

Some of the sunscreens we recommend:

  1. Synergie Uberzinc is top of the range and highly recommended by Skin Institute’s appearance medicine nurses. It contains zinc for UVA and UVB protection, and it’s a good moisturiser as well.
  2. AO is another top of the range option containing anti-oxidants. It’s zinc-based, and also has some extra sun-protection ingredients like niacinamide and astaxanthin.
  3. Oasis is a more family-friendly, cost effective option, UVA and UVB protection and also contains zinc.

These sunscreens are available at most Skin Institute clinics and from our online store.

Do it right

Applying a layer of sunscreen once in the morning won’t give you enough sun protection. To really take care of your skin and prevent damage, you need to use your sunscreen properly – and regularly.  Get into the habit of using sunscreen every day, even if it’s cold or cloudy. You’ll also need to put in on it liberally.

Here are some general guidelines for how much sunscreen to apply:

  • Face: 1/4 teaspoon
  • Neck (front and back): 1/4 teaspoon
  • Arms: 1/2 teaspoon per arm
  • Legs: 1 teaspoon per leg
  • Chest: 1 teaspoon
  • Back: 1 teaspoon

Read the label, and reapply as often as the manufacturer recommends. If you swim or do a lot of exercise while wearing sunscreen, it’s also a good idea to reapply.

Lower your risk, improve your skin

Choosing the right sunscreen and using it religiously is the best way to lower your risk of sun damage and skin cancer. Following other sensible sun protection guidelines – like covering up, wearing a hat, and staying in the shade – can also help.

If you’re concerned about sun damage or want to find out more about looking after your skin, book a appearance medicine consultation or a free spot check today.