According to the Cancer Council of Australia, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70 and melanoma (skin cancer) is the most common cancer in Australians aged 15-44 years.
This is a significant statistic that should encourage you to wear sunscreen, but did you know that we also produce natural sunscreens depending on our skin type? Skin specialist Sia Hendry explains below how to protect your skin and fight the ageing process by using sunscreen products and skin care that work naturally with your skin care, beauty and health, not against it.
The two types of sunscreen products
There are many sunscreen products out on the market but it is important to remember that no sunscreen can guarantee 100% sun protection. It is also your own responsibility, when out in the sun, to look after your own skin through combined product use and skin care routines.
There are two categories of sunscreens:
- Chemical sunblocks that sink into your skin to absorb UVA and UVB rays, and use ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone and artificial fragrances. Most brands on the market use this approach and many cause allergic reactions to the chemicals used in the product.
- Physical sunblocks that block the sun by coating the skin to reflect UVA and UVB rays. These sunscreens use physical zinc and titanium dioxide to block sun rays.
Eco-friendly and hypoallergenic formulations are obviously preferred to synthetic chemical sunscreens, but performance out in the sun is also a factor in choosing the right product for your skin. Zinc-based products last longer in the sun as they sit on top of the skin – the white stripe across the surfer’s nose is the tell-tale sign of zinc sunscreen!
Brand name alone does not guarantee the product quality, a hot topic of late with the many customer complaints against Jessica Alba’s ‘The Honest Company’ reformulated SPF 30 sunscreen lotion. Forbes.com described complaints as “accumulating in March 2015 – and exploding in July – with reports of users suffering extensive sunburns after sun exposure with the new formulation of the lotion, even when reportedly using and reapplying as directed” (Forbes.com, 2015).
Review your – and your family’s – skin care routine
1. How much time does your skin spend in the sun?
The majority of sun-related, skin-ageing conditions are caused by exposure to UV radiation in sunlight. If you are an office worker rather than a professional surfer, your day-to-day sun protection needs will be less intense, but any time that you spend in the harsh Australian sun should be spent wearing sunscreen protection.
Children should be taught how to self-apply sunscreen. The earlier in life that sun protection is cultivated as a personal habit, the better the skin will age.
Babies under twelve months of age should be kept out of direct sun, and use baby sunscreen formulas. Try Baby by Sia’s Zinki Sun Protecting Face Lotion, which ensures your smallest companion’s skin is supported while outdoors. Formulated with potent antioxidants and skin hydrators, this gentle zinc lotion creates a physical barrier on baby’s skin that provides protection against UV damage. Natural, nourishing ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Jojoba Oil, Chamomile, and Coconut Oil also help to hydrate the skin during sun exposure.
Size shown: 50mL. Key Ingredients:
• Vitamin E
• Aloe Vera
• Jojoba Oil
• Coconut Oil
Both Zinki (above) and Minc (below) contain antioxidants which help fight against free radical damage from UV exposure. It’s a no brainer that all sunscreens should be loaded with antioxidants!
Any amount of time spent in the sun, and at what time of day, is also a factor in skin ageing. In Australia, over 10% of adults, 1/4 of all teenagers and up to 10% of children are sunburnt on an average summer weekend. Even if the sun is overcast there can still be a high UV radiation factor, which can result in skin cancer and burning. Even if the skin does not burn, skin cells can still be damaged which, year after year, can age skin and lead to skin cancer. Try to stay out of the sun at the hottest times of the day as this will be when the UV will be strongest. Check your weather reports for documentation of this very common Australian sun environment factor.
2. Tanning and Solariums
A tanned and glowing skin looks healthy to many Australians, but it is also a sign that your skin has been damaged by UV radiation, which leads to loss of elasticity in the skin, skin sagging, yellowish or brown discolourations on the skin, and dehydration – all signs of ageing. The visual below shows a girl covered in baby oil, tanning in the sun with aluminium foil to make her tan appear faster. This practice was used in the 50s-60s and although it looks like fun, imagine a turkey roasting in the overn: that uses the very same process, so why would you be wanting to do that to your skin? Tanning has been part of our Australian beach culture but understanding what it is and how to obtain it, if you really want a tan, is important for your long-term skin care and health.
- Fake tans do not protect your skin to sun exposure and burn. A 2006 NSW survey found that some people (particularly women) believe fake tans are better than natural sunlight tanning, which led them to get burnt more than once in one summer period. Fake tans do not protect against DNA damage which again, can lead to skin cell breakdown. Some fake tans products include SPF, but the sun protection duration only lasts a few hours, not for the duration of the tan.
- Fake tanning products include lotions (skin dyes), bronzers, tinted sunscreen, tanning tablets and ‘accelerators’, and spray tanning booths. Sydney skin specialist clinics You By Sia promote the use of Bronzers and Tinted Sunscreens, but if you want to know more about the use of other fake tanning products, please contact You By Sia for an appointment and read more at the Cancer Council.
- Solariums emit both UVA and UVB radiation, both known causes of cancer, and can emit radiation levels up to six times higher than the midday summer sun (Cancer Council).
3. What activities affect your skin care out in the sun?
Fun in the sun activities also affect the level of skin protection offered by product or other sunscreens.
- If you are swimming in the ocean: apply twenty minutes before you go into the water to give your skin a chance to absorb the SPF and not wash off in the sea.
- If you are swimming in a swimming pool: apply twenty minutes before you go into the water to give your skin a chance to absorb the SPF and after swimming, make sure you have a clean water shower to remove all traces of chlorine from your skin and swimming costume, as it dries out skin and bleaches fabric!
- If you are wearing fake tan: stay in the shade wherever possible, wear a broad-brimmed hat, sun protective clothing and sunglasses, use SPF 30+, water-resistant, and re-apply every two hours.
- If you cannot avoid prolonged sun exposure: use after-care products and drink lots of water to hydrate your skin while out in the sun.
4. How do you apply your sunscreen?
The Cancer Council 2015 SunSmart campaign recommends SPF30 or higher, broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen – see how to apply using their instructions.
No sunscreen fully protects your skin, so do not rely on it as the only protection for your skin. Use generous amounts, applied liberally, and reapply every two hours regardless of the label instructions.
If you have an allergic reaction to a sunscreen, try another brand. Fragrance-free brands, baby brands or chemist formulations may not affect your skin in the same way. Ask your skin specialist what products they recommend – they are specialists in skin treatment and diagnosis.
You By Sia’s Minc is free of parabens, phenoxyethanol, artificial colour and artificial fragrances. As a cosmeceutical-grade zinc moisturiser, Minc works to hydrate skin and protect from the harsh, drying effects of the sun. Formulated with 20% zinc and potent antioxidants, this powerful formula creates a physical barrier against UV damage and promotes healthy, supple looking skin. As a lightweight, non-comedogenic lotion, Minc won’t clog pores, ensuring skin can breathe and maintain moisture throughout the day.
Minc is suitable for all skin types, including acne, sensitive and rosacea-affected skin. Size shown: 50mL
• Tocopheryl Acetate
• Vitamin E
• Green Tea Extract
• Licorice Extract
• Grape Seed Extract
• Gingko Extract
Glowing in the right way this summer with your skin care and sunscreen
Sydney skin specialist clinics You By Sia are built around a core philosophy of caring for skin from the inside out. While they believe in addressing the cause of skin concerns, rather than masking symptoms, they can advise a course of treatment starting with sunscreen recommendation, right through to advanced rejuvenation treatments designed to target common skin concerns, such as ageing, pigmentation, acne scarring, rosacea, stretch marks and cellulite. You By Sia clinics specialise in advanced skin and body treatments, including bespoke Skin Rejuvenation programs.
With the detailed summer skin care and sunscreen advice outlined above, you can now feel more confident to fight the ageing process by planning your sun activity and product choices this summer. If you do have any skin conditions or require a treatment plan to enhance your skin care, why not make an appointment with You By Sia?