With the absolute scorching weather conditions the UK has been exposed to, we wanted to share with you all of the different features of sun cream so that you weren’t caught in a pickle or absolutely confused the next time you buy a bottle. Here are the 4 most common misconceptions:
“I wear factor 30, I never burn”.
SPF is usually the big number you’ll see on the front of the bottle. It stands for ‘sun protection factor’. SPF is often confused with strength, but it comes down to a simple calculation. If you are able to stay out in the sun without any protection for 10 minutes, then the SPF number on the bottle will multiply by 10, this then gives you the amount of time one application will last for. As an example, If you have an SPF 15, you’ll be able to stay out in the sun, protected for 150 minutes without burning. Extending this further, SPF 30 isn’t twice as effective, it simply means that you can stay out in the sun for longer without burning. It’s been found that factor 15 protects you from up to 93% of sunlight, factor 30 – 96% and factor 50 – 98%.
“I don’t need sun cream, period”.
Frankly, both are dangerous to your skin. UVA stands for ultraviolet ageing and UVB is ultraviolet burning. UVA rays penetrate deep into all the layers of your skin, this is effectively what causes you to form a tan. This may sound great, but in reality, those rays cause more wrinkles and pigmentation on your skin in the long term.
UVB rays directly hit the surface of the skin and cause you to burn or at the very worst develop skin cancer. This is why it is vital to look for bottles with the sign UVA with 5 stars. Quick tip: buy a sun cream that is a cream that you can visually see when applying. Be aware of certain sprays on the market that are invisible, these types of products run the risk of you missing areas of your body with protection. Many of us know or have heard of the effects of UVA damage, below is the viral news image of the truck driver, who for 25 years had sunlight on one side of his face. You can see the results here:
“I only need 1 spray and I’m good”.
Simply put, 7 teaspoons for your entire body is the guide broken down into 1 teaspoon for your face, 1 for each arm, 1 for your front, 1 for your back and 1 for each leg. For a general 200ml bottle of sun cream, if you’re taking this seriously will last you 5 applications and why wouldn’t you with the risks involved? Our top tip: shop around for the best quality sun creams, don’t just automatically assume the pricier the better.
“I’ll just use sun cream left over from last years holiday”.
As there are currently no regulations in the UK or EU regarding sun protection – as opposed to in Australia – sun cream is seen as a cosmetic, not a drug or medicine. Therefore use by dates are somewhat vague. If you look to the back of your bottle, you will see a ‘good for 12 months’ sign after opening. This means that once opened, you should use the cream for the next 12 months and then throw it away. This is because these products are made up of chemicals and will begin to degrade and depreciate after 12 months. After learning this, ask yourself, is it worth taking the risk? Quick tip: After opening, take a Sharpie and write the month and year of opening on the lid.