Ultimate guide to sunscreen: Everything you would like to grasp concerning SPF, UV-A rays and shelf life - Parenting


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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Ultimate guide to sunscreen: Everything you would like to grasp concerning SPF, UV-A rays and shelf life

Ultimate guide to sunscreen

Hello everyone! Although this year you’re more likely to be applying your sunscreen (paddling)poolside in your garden rather than on a sandy idyllic beach, sun care is still an absolute necessity to protect your skin from harmful rays, wherever you are.
However, it’s a burning topic (see what we did there) that is often overwhelming and somewhat confusing, not to mention evolving year by year.
To decipher all of the jargon surrounding sun care, we’ve asked the experts to break it down and help us navigate the mass of products in order to help you make informed choices about which protection is best for you.
Consider this your homeschooling guide to sensible sun care for the whole family.

What are UV-A and UV-B rays?

The sunlight that reaches us is consists up of two sorts of harmful rays: long wave ultraviolet A (UV A) and short-wave ultraviolet B (UV B).
UV A rays penetrate deep into the stratum, the skin’s thickest layer. Unprotected exposure can lead to premature skin ageing and wrinkling (photo ageing), and suppression of the immune system.

UV B rays will usually burn the superficial layers of your skin, those being the epidermis (top layer) and the dermis (the thick tough layer that lies underneath).
According to Kristine Guanzon, education marketing manager for sun care brand COOLA
 UV B light plays a key role in the development of skin cancer. The intensity of UV B rays vary by season, location and time of day, with 10am to 4pm being the high hours. Sun burnt skin doesn’t just feel awful, it can cause permanent damage over time.
It's important to look for a sunscreen that protects against both types of rays.

What is SPF?

SPF stands for sun protection factor. Sunscreens are classified by associate SPF range that refers to their ability to deflect UV-B rays.
The SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to burn sunscreen-protected skin versus unprotected skin. It is rated on a scale from two to 50+. The upper the SPF range, the stronger will be the protection you will have.

How do star ratings work?

Protection from UV-A rays is measured by a star rating that can be found on sunscreen bottles. These ratings range from zero to five stars – the more stars, the better protection.

According to the British Association of Dermatologists, a sunscreen with a rating of 4 or 5 stars is generally considered as a good standard of sun protection, as long as it is paired with time in the shade and suitable clothing.
You may also notice “UV-A” written in a circle on sunscreen bottles. This is a European marking and means the UV-A protection is at least one third of the SPF value, therefore indicating that it meets the EU standard. Sunscreen that protects you against both UV-A and UV-B rays can sometimes be called “broad spectrum”.

How much sunscreen should you apply?

The answer varies from person to person depending on your size and skin type. However, as a ballpark estimate, Dr Reto Peirano, laboratory manager for Nivea Sun, says:
You would need 2-3 tablespoons of sunscreen to sufficiently cover your body and another two tablespoons for your face.Interestingly, most of us have a self-protection time of between five and 40 minutes, but you shouldn’t rely on this to avoid burning,
he adds.
Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen every two hours to maintain protection.

How do you choose between the different types of sunscreen?

Once-a-day sunscreen

You should be weary of formulas that claim to offer all-day protection with just one application. A 2016 study by Which we found that the average SPF offered by once-a-day sunscreens had decreased by 74 per cent after six to eight hours of wear.
Abi Cleeve, managing director at Ultrasun, stresses that you shouldn’t spend all day in the sun, regardless of how often you re-apply your cream, which we recommend doing every two hours.
She says:
Be sun savvy. Know your skin and select the right protection level for you based on your skin’s natural colour and how prone you are to burn.

Water-resistant sunscreen

Cleeve said-
Contrary to belief, water resistant doesn’t mean waterproof.No sun protection product is waterproof. Water resistance means they are tested to ensure up to 40 minutes of resistance underwater. This depends entirely on the product you choose.
 Water resistant formulas are tailored for prolonged water immersion, such as swimming and when perspiring, such as playing outdoor sports.

Sunscreen with insect repellent

Sun cream with insect repellent may sound like a double whammy to protect not only against the sun but also to ward off any pestering bugs, but The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using sun cream separately to insect repellent.
In general, travelers usually have to be compelled to apply sun protection additional usually and in large amount than they are doing insect repellent,
the CDC states.
The organisation says:
studies have shown that after repellent merchandise containing DEET (diethyltoluamide) are applied over sunscreen, this could overcome a sun cream's SPF by a 3rd.
Ultimate guide to sunscreen

Sunscreen for babies and kids

Rather than simply using a bottle of sun cream for the whole family, it is value investment in sun care specifically created for babies and kids as it is developed to shield their delicate skin and to minimize the danger of hypersensitivity.

Raj Sandhan, expert advisor from Mustela, one of the leading skincare brands for babies and young children, explains:
babies’ skin is significantly thinner than adults. From 0-2 years, the skin is at a critical stage of development. Babies have an immature skin barrier function and therefore it requires extra care.
Sandhan suggests looking for SPF 50+ anti UV-A and UV-B protection, with a high water resistant formula to completely protect the skin.
It should be suitable for sensitive skin, including a topic prone skin and should not contain parabens. He adds.

What is the average shelf life of sunscreen?

Most sunscreens have a shelf life of two years. But to be cautious, it’s best to chuck out unfinished sunscreen than wait for your annual holiday to come around again to finish the bottle.
If any old products look grainy, watery or discolored, or if the odour has changed, that’s your cue to discard it. The expiration dates can usually be found on the bottom of the bottles.

What type of sunscreen is best for your face?

Facial skin is thinner and more vulnerable than skin on the body; and with 80 per cent of all ageing due to the sun, it’s worth investing in sun care that is specific to the face (even if your base contains an SPF, you need a separate sun care product to lie on top).
Nivea’s Dr Reto Peirano suggests selecting merchandise that are
lightweight, defend against skin ageing (via UV-A/UV-B protection) and provide an eye-friendly formula and is tested (meaning the products have been certified safe to use around the delicate eye area), especially if you regularly wear contact lenses.

Can you put sunscreen on a spray tan?

Dr Peirano reminds us that
spray tans do not increase the skin’s protection against sun damage. Regardless of whether you’re wearing self-tan or not, it is always recommended to practice safe sun behaviour by seeking shade, covering up, and applying sun cream (no matter what your skin tone).
If you tend to use a self-tan before going on holiday, then consider your sun care an extra boost to your self-tan. Most sun care is highly moisturising, and the more hydrated your skin, the better your fake tan will look.

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