Tans fade, sun damage doesn't. Be Sun Sensible.

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THE WHY

We all know that Australia has the highest instances of skin cancer in the world, and we also know that excess sun isn't amazing for our appearance - tans fade, photo-ageing (aka sun damage) doesn't. Yet most of us still coat our kids in sunscreen and those dorky hats, and don't worry about looking after our own skins. Or perhaps your enjoying your 20s blissfully unaware of the legacy you're creating for your 30+ self. If you don't regret your carefree attitude to the suns rays already, you will. And whilst you don't need to go overboard, you do need to make an effort, and it's so easy to make a few smart changes to your daily habits so you can enjoy the sun, and keep your skin healthy too. 

 

WHAT DOES SUN DAMAGE LOOK LIKE

We can thank ourselves for the following skin issues:

  1. Hyper-pigmentation > sun and age spots
  2. Hyperkeratosis > thickened and leathery skin. 
  3. Collagen, elastin, GAGs (eg Hyaluronic) breakdown faster than they should > wrinkles and skin laxity
  4. Overall breakdown of skin function leading to irritation, which leads to skin sensitivities, redness, dryness etc etc.

And these are the areas you're going to find it: 

  1. Face
  2. Neck
  3. Decollate
  4. Back of hands

Try comparing the skin in these areas to the skin in an unexposed area such as your inner, upper arm. Convinced to go next level with your sun protection. Let's go!

 

What to buy

  1. 30+: We aren't fans of the 50+, the short version - the difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50 is ONLY 1.3% extra coverage BUT nearly twice as many of the crappy chemicals potentially irritating your skin. And you know how we feel about skin irritants. 
  2. Broad Spectrum: SPF is only a measure of how well sunscreen deflects UVB (burning) not UVA (ageing), so look for Broad Spectrum which covers both. 
  3. Reapply every 2 hours: A higher SPF doesn't buy you any extra time in the sun. Soz.
  4. Quality for face, functional for body: Cheap sunscreens use cheap ingredients, which equals irritating ingredients. And just because you can't see the irritation immediately doesn't mean it's not happening - it's slowly building underneath.  But quality sunscreen can be a luxury item, so we aren't about to recommend you slather the stuff all over your body (unless you have a skin sensitivity). We know the skin on your face is less forgiving to crappy ingredients, so make a quality sunscreen a part of your skin investment and cut a corner or two on the rest of your body with a supermarket brand that does the job. 
 
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WHAT WE PREACH AT SKINOVATIONS

There's no need to go overboard. Pick a quality sunscreen and just be sun sensible. 
If you are going to be in the sun, wear a hat. Keep one in the car and usual places you might normally forget. Scarves are a cute accessory and also provide incidental coverage for your neck and décolleté. If your going for a walk, choose the shady side of the street. Heading to the dog park? Stand with your back to the sun. You'll soon be an expert shade spotter. And for goodness sake wear sunnies. I had (pre botox) the biggest angry lines between my brows you have ever seen. If you're really keen, wear gloves like the French to protect the backs of your hands.

 

Other random bits and pieces I found interesting

  1. Once you are red, sunscreen doesn't work
  2. T-shirts offer an SPF of 7 (4 if they are wet)
  3. An SPF of 4 won't protect you from the lightbulbs in your house
  4. A dark tan gives you an approximate SPF of 2
  5. UVA, the rays responsible for ageing are present from sunrise to sunset, all year round.
  6. Using a stable topical Vitamin C skincare product increases your natural SPF by 12% - 20% (loving my Vitamin C serum even more)
  7. One of the most common ingredients in mainstream sunscreens, Oxybenzone is toxic to coral even at extremely low concentrations of 65 parts per trillion, equal to the ratio of a single drop of 6 1/2 Olympic size swimming pools! Be environmentally conscious and try to avoid this where you can

 

* "In laboratory conditions, when used as directed, SPF30 sunscreen filters 96.7% of UV radiation and the SPF 50 filters 98%. From here - http://www.sunsmart.com.au/uv-sun-protection/slop-on-sunscreen

 
Jazmin Camilleri Melbourne Skin Therapist and Expert

BY JAZMIN CAMILLERI

Jazmin is a Skin Therapist + owner of Skinovations.