SPF; a product well versed in both the skin industry and the Australian household.
With Australia having the highest skin cancer statistics rates in the world, 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 85 (skin smart Australia) It’s rightfully so.
As with all skin care at House of Maxx we want to discuss if the SPF you’re using is right for you and your skin.
SPF stands for sun protection factor and means the amount of time you will be protected for based on the SPF number and your individual minimal erythemal dose. I’m sure you’re reading this thinking “Maxine, I have no idea what that means!”
Let me give you an example; If I am applying an SPF 50 and my personal minimal erythemal dose is 10 minutes (the time it takes for my skin to turn red when exposed to sunlight) I multiply the 2 numbers together to give my approximate protection time.
50 x 10 = 500 minutes
Although this number is impacted by other factors like water, sweat and friction and should be reapplied when spending extended periods of time in the sun.
Always use a broad spectrum sunscreen!
There 2 types of UV rays that come from the sun – UVA and UVB. UVB are the burning rays, they feel hot and result in sunburn. UVA are the ageing rays, able to penetrate deeper into the dermis, accumulative UVA exposure results in premature ageing by inducing the breakdown of collagen. This type of UV is constantly around, even on a cloudy day, and can penetrate glass. A broad spectrum SPF protects from both.
To make it even more complicated sunscreen comes in 2 different forms; chemical and physical. These refer to the way in which the sunscreen is actually protecting you.
A chemical sunscreen absorbs the UV rays and converts them from light energy to heat energy.
Physical on the other hand, literally creates a physical block and the UV rays are reflected off.
With all of this in mind, there is one major factor to consider when choosing what sunscreen is best for you.
What is your skin concern?
If you’re struggling with pigmented conditions, UV will make it worse and SPF is essential in managing the condition, but interesting to note a physical sunscreen is the best option as the release of heat energy into the skin from a chemical sunscreen can also trigger pigmentation.
Those with barrier disorders and inflammatory skin conditions need to consider if SPF is the appropriate means of sun protection for them. Sunscreens are not designed to penetrate into the skin, they are meant to sit on top of the epidermis to provide that protective barrier, having it sit on already broken and irritated skin can make things worse, exacerbating redness and inflammation. In this case a hat and active sun avoidance may be a better option.
Some sunscreens even contain fragrance which is irritating and can cause a phototoxic reaction with UV exposure, making it counterproductive! The same goes for those whose skin care (and of course internal care) is flawless but they are experiencing redness or congestion – have you thought about your SPF?
Sunscreen in makeup or moisturisers is ineffective, SPF should be applied generously (rule of thumb; 1teaspoon worth per area) 10-20 minutes prior to going in the sun, so the foundation with SPF applied this morning will not be able to protect you on your afternoon walk.
Sun safety is paramount living in Australia to reduce the risk of all types of skin cancers, protect from premature ageing and the exacerbation of certain skin conditions but ensuring your are using either the correct type of SPF for you is just as important and chatting to your corneotherpaist can help!