The UV low down!

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The world of sunscreen can be a mine field to get your head around. I remember a simpler time when sunscreen was just about your mum trying to slather you in thick white cream, whilst you try and prize your slippery way out of her Kung fu grip. If your mum was like mine, she was also obsessed with giving your ears a good coating of the stuff, just to add to the ordeal. Now, sunscreen is a whole lot of confusing. Here’s my little “try to make some sense of it” guide, to give you the low down…

SPF’s: Can be confusing, and with so many brands churning out sunscreens with extremely high factors – hello SPF 100 – many consumers have a false sense of security when it comes to applying high SPF’s. The FDA has proposed prohibiting the sale of sunscreen with a higher rating than SPF 50, as they can be so misleading – this isn’t the law though, so you will see many sunscreens claiming they have very high SPF factors. UVA2

If you are swimming, depending on your sunscreen, you may have to reapply more regularly than stated above. All skin types have a natural SPF ( the amount of sun your skin can tolerate before it burns) Fairer skinned people have a natural SPF of around 3.4 where as darker skinned people have a natural SPF of around 13.4. Beware though – ALL SKIN TYPES CAN BURN!

Moisturizers with SPF: Can also be problematic, as they often only protect against UVB rays, which will prevent you from burning, but will still cause your collagen to break down, which causes wrinkles.

The best protection from the sun is achieved when you wear a product that’s sole purpose is to provide sun protection. A broad spectrum sun product is best.

Which type of sunscreen should you choose? Now this is a tricky one, as many formulations are known by different names – Chemical, Physical, Organic, Inorganic , Mineral-  Most formulations have pro’s and con’s, so a lot of products on the market will be a hybrid of mineral and chemical sunscreens….. uva3

Still confused? Yeah. Ultimately it’s better to wear sunscreen than not wear it, so choose a product with an SPF30 that works for you, and wear it every day. Simples. If your mind is still boggled as to what sunscreen brand to buy – I know mine was! – Just check out the Environmental Working Group’s review of many, many sunscreens to get down and dirty with the details. Find it here.

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