Having to listen to someone preach about sunscreen is no fun. But the truth is there’s a whole vortex of misinformation out there about how you should protect yourself against the sun's UV rays which, contrary to popular belief, are harmful all year round.
“People believe sun damage is about sitting outside in the sun. But it begins within the first minute unprotected skin sees daylight -- whether that’s walking home or picking up the kids from school -- it all adds up over time,” Paula Begoun, founder of Paula’s Choice and co-author of The Best Skin of Your Life Starts told The Huffington Post Australia.
Begoun, who has authored more than 20 best-selling books on skincare said wearing sunscreen that contains SPF 30 or greater, and applying it liberally 365 days a year is vital.
“It’s also perfectly fine to layer SPF products, such as a moisturiser with sunscreen followed by a foundation with sunscreen and finished with a powder that also offers sun protection,” Begoun said.
It’s important to note however, that when you layer SPF products they don’t add up to an exact number of protection. In other words sadly, an SPF 30 moisturiser worn under a foundation with SPF 15 doesn’t add up to an SPF 45.
When it comes to how much sunscreen we should be using for our face, Mukti, founder of Mukti Organics said at least a teaspoon -- and this should be applied at least 20 minutes before going out into the sun.
“Start by applying it from your ears in, towards your face. Many people start in the middle of their face and work outwards, missing the ears completely which is not ideal since our ears tend to be a hotspot for skin cancers,” Mukti told HuffPost Australia.
Vicki Engsall, co-founder and product director of The Jojoba Company highlights the importance of understanding the effects of the different rays (there are two main culprits, both just as damaging as each other).
“UVA and UVB rays are damaging no matter what the season. The UVB rays are the ones which make your skin red and damaged and the UVA rays are the rays which age the skin,” Engsall told HuffPost Australia.
So what about the difference in SPF factors?
SPF15 filters about 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 filters 97 percent and SPF 50 filters 98 percent.
“It is very important to use a broad spectrum SPF which will protect from both the UVA and UVB rays -- whether sunny or cloudy,” Engsall said.
During the summer months, Begoun said it’s not only imperative to apply a higher SPF (such as 50+) but also to reapply at least every two hours and always after swimming, perspiring heavily, or toweling off.
During autumn and winter, sun care is just as important. The days may be shorter, but the rays are the same (even on cloudy days).
Engsall also points out the unnecessary fear mongering around Vitamin D deficiency and how wearing sunscreen can cause this.
“It is better to protect your skin and ensure you eat vitamin D-rich foods, or take a vitamin D supplement, than to avoid wearing an SPF altogether,” Engsall said.
Lastly, keep in mind that the cream you applied at 7am won't be effective when you leave the office at 5pm. If you're walking home or heading to some sort of outdoor activity you'll need to reapply -- and yes, that means taking off your makeup. Sorry.