I’ve long been an advocate and supporter of sunscreen use.
Sunscreen is your number one summer beauty essential AND correct use can help to prevent skin cancer.
I’m fast heading towards the big 5-0 and one of the things people most comment on is my skin.
Yes, I’ve got a great skincare routine happening – and have done so since I was 18 – but a big reason why my skin looks like it does is that I’ve applied sunscreen religiously since my childhood.
What is routine for kids today, was not so back in the ’70s and ’80s.
My late mum was on to something though and would slather us in zinc and Coppertone (boy did that sting) before we were allowed anywhere near the beach or pool.
Trust me, this was not considered cool at the time but my 30 and 40-year-old self were very thankful my mum bucked the trend.
I was speaking to a group of young women recently, explaining about sunscreens and how far they’ve come. That there were sunscreen oils with an SPF of 4 … almost like a “why bother” for the likes of my fair skin.
Let alone the girls who would slather themselves in baby oil to tan/burn faster.
These days my son has a no-hat, no-play policy at school (and home) and I have a sunscreen beauty kit for the every day and specific outdoor activities.
And you should have such a kit too.
Physical vs chemical sunscreens
A lot of the talk around sunscreens of late has been based around the types of sunscreens and how they work.
In short, physical sunscreens reflect the sun using minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays and alter their damaging effect.
Generally speaking physical sunscreens are considered more natural and can be less irritating on the skin.
I say generally as my skin reacts to physical sunscreens – with daily use I come out in an red, itchy rash.
When it comes to physical versus chemical sunscreens, I suggest you do your own research and trial a bunch of different products to find out what works for your skin.
If using a chemical sunscreen, it should go on the skin first (before moisturisers and makeup). If using a physical, you can moisturise then apply and then apply your makeup.
How to choose a sunscreen
1. Day-to-day sun exposure differs for each person. Think about your regular days and how much you are out in the sun. If you you are only outside for short times, then a combination of sunscreen in your makeup and a light moisturising sunscreen will keep you protected.
2. Find a daily face sunscreen that feels great to wear every day under your makeup or on its own.
3. If you spend time outdoors, for work or playing sport/exercising, then you’ll need to look for a hard-working sunscreen designed for sports or water activities.
4. For those who live at the beach or in their pool each summer, then invest in a large dispenser of sunscreen that is easy to apply (and re-apply), offers maximum protection and is water resistant.
5. Don’t just rely on your clothing or sunscreen to prevent sun damage. Most clothing would not be UPF 50+ rated so avoid the sun during peak UV times and add a hat or parasol to your outfit.
6. Make sure you apply sunscreen correctly – and use enough of it. SunSmart has these tips. Follow them!
7. Just do it. Find something that works for you and your lifestyle and make sunscreen a habit.
5 sunscreens I’m loving right now
From left to right: Hamilton Sensitive SPF 50+ (ideal for skin that’s easily irritated) | Cancer Council Active Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF50+ (if you’re an outdoors kind of girl, this one is for you) | Banana Boat SunComfort SPF 50+ (your summer beach bag essential – sand will not stick to it) | Ultraceuticals Mattifying Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser 50+ (my fave for on my face every day – the mattifying formula works a treat for summer) | NIVEA Sun Protect & Moisture SPF 50+ (a great all rounder – we keep this one handy near the pool)
Vitamin D deficiency is something that is also become a hot topic. Vitamin D is in foods but our best natural source comes from the sun.
My son was diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency a couple of years ago. I’d taken him to the doctors because he was super tired in the morning – strange for an active eight-year-old. He started supplements but his GP also advised that an early morning walk for 15 minutes without sun protection would help his levels get back on track. They have.
The key his GP stressed was getting that balance right – sun protection is still very important, particularly in Queensland, but some sun was still needed.
In states like Victoria, Cancer Council Victoria advises that from May to August, sun protection is not recommended. (More HERE)
Talk to your GP about your specific lifestyle to work out what’s best for your but, importantly, don’t let Vitamin D stop you from protecting your skin from the sun where and when it’s necessary.
The Cancer Council recommends sunscreens of SPF 30 and over.
So tell me, did you wear sunscreen as a child? What sunscreens do you love right now?