Summer has officially arrived here in Australia, and that means a lot more time spent outdoors with skin exposed to potentially damaging UV rays. It’s unavoidable, because you can’t be expected to sit indoors when the weather is simply glorious outside, however there are ways you can protect your skin against harmful UV rays, and the best defense starts with SPF.
Sun protection in the form of sunscreens or sunblocks help to protect the skin against not only the aging effects of UV rays, but against skin cancer too, and with every 2 out of 3 Australians being diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70, you can see that this is no idle threat.
However, before you rush out and purchase the first sunscreen you can get your hands on to avoid becoming another statistic, read this article first, as not all sunscreens are created equal.
Types of Sunscreens
There are two main types of sunscreens, namely chemical sunscreens, and physical sunblocks. They both help to protect the skin against UV rays, but they do this in different ways.
As the name suggests, this SPF contains chemicals, such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate that sink deep into the skin, and help to neutralize the sun’s rays. This sunscreen, therefore, has to be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure so it has time to sink into the skin.
The problem with this sunscreen is that not only are the chemicals found in it known endocrine disruptors, oxybenzone in particular, has been found to have devastating effects on our coral reefs, making this sunscreen bad for both your health and the environment. Unfortunately, it is the more popular choice as it is thin in consistency, and leaves no chalky finish on the skin. You can’t put a price on health though, so this is one you may want to avoid.
Again, as the name suggests, this sunscreen acts as a physical barrier rather than a sponge. Physical sunblocks contain active minerals such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide which allow the sun’s rays to simply bounce off the skin and back into the environment.
This sunscreen is thicker than chemical sunscreens, and has to be applied regularly, such as after swimming. It all comes down to vanity, so this one isn’t as popular, but shop around, because many formulations are a lot smoother nowadays.
There you have it. Your health is important so you deserve to know the difference of the SPFs available. SPF is your best defense against fine lines and wrinkles, as well as skin cancer so be sure to never leave home without it!