What to look for when buying sunscreen
Summer may be drawing to a close, but just because we aren’t feeling the heat as much, doesn’t mean our skin can’t be over exposed to harmful UV rays. Whether you live in an area known for its warm climate all year round or not, many of us don't understand what we should be looking out for when it comes to buying sunscreen, and end up just taking the first one that jumps at us in the shopping aisle. This can lead to the use of sunscreens that offer poor protection.
Luckily, there are various features you can look for that prove a sunscreen will provide the protection you need, and also indicate that it is not harmful to your skin or the environment. Below are the key features to look out for:
SPF 30 or higher
Experts reveal that consumers should look for a sunscreen that offers an SPF of 30 or higher. Why? While SPF 15, 30 and 50 all offer the same value in terms of skin protection, there is a big difference in re application times. According to Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, FAAD, and President and Co-Founder of Modern Dermatology, “Any SPF less than 30 really doesn’t afford you the level of sun protection that you need”, this is because any less means you’ll only get around 15 minutes worth of protection, until you need to reapply. An SPF of 30 means you only need to reapply sunscreen again after 30 to 40 minutes of sun exposure.
The sun emits both UVA and UVB rays, and you’ll want a sunscreen that protects against both. While UVB rays hit the more surface layers of skin and cause damage through sunburn, UVA rays can penetrate the skin and increase the signs of ageing. To ensure your skin is safe from both harmful rays, find a sunscreen that mentions the words ‘broad spectrum’. This means that the sunscreen contains ingredients that filter both types of UV rays, giving you better skincare in the long run.
Look for Ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, mineral ingredients used as UV filters instead of chemical ingredients, harmful both to your skin and to the environment. If you see the word ‘oxybenzone’, then it is advised to steer clear. Oxybenzone has proven to cause bleaching of coral reefs -- making them susceptible to disease and death -- and can cause skin damage by aiding UV rays to be absorbed by your skin instead of deflecting them.
Whether you are starting to feel autumn in the air in the Cape, or just looking forward to warmer months in the North, you’ll be able to head off to the shops this year, knowing what to look out for in a quality sunscreen that’ll offer suitable protection.
For quality sunscreen with the added benefit of small, lightweight packaging, browse our range of innovative snap sachets that are available at Clicks, Spar and online.