Wherever you live, if you go outside summer or winter to surf, swim, hike, sail or just walk the dog, you need a good sunscreen in your glove box, backpack or boardshort pocket.
Tanning is so over
Sure, we all like to look tanned and healthy, but really, it’s an oxymoron. To get a tan means you are actually burning your skin, even though it may look brown, it’s ugly underneath.
In Australia, over 1,600 people a year die from skin cancer and over 1,000 people a day are treated for skin cancer. Sure, a suntan can make you look and feel fabulous, but sun damage is one of the biggest causes of skin aging.
Plus, increases your chances of getting ugly wrinkles and skin cancers which can lead to scarring or even death (read article) - so choosing the right sunscreen is a critical step in avoiding skin cancer.
The huge gap in Australia’s ozone layer and the harsh rays from the sun around the world means that going without a sunscreen is downright foolish.
The facts: tanning = sunburn = cancer (read article)
Sunscreen stops most UV radiation from reaching the skin. It’s vital that you choose one that defies both UVAs and UVBs.
UVA radiation - goes deep into the skin, affecting the living skin cells that lie under the skin's surface. UVA causes long-term damage like wrinkles, blotchiness, sagging and discolouration, and also contributes to skin cancer.
UVB radiation - reaches the top layer of skin and is the main cause of skin tanning and sunburn, and also contributes to skin cancer.
Go Broad - A broad spectrum sunscreen helps protect skin from both UVA and UVB radiation.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) - The SPF gives the level of protection. The highest SPF for sunscreen available in Australia is SPF30+. If used correctly, it can protect your skin from about 97% of UV radiation. No sunscreen blocks 100% of UV radiation.
But choosing the right sunscreen can be confusing, as it seems like there are a million different sunscreens on the market. So, hear what a few outdoorsy adventurous girls and boys have to say about the sunscreen they sampled for ExploreGirls.com.
Gail - a keen surfer, reckons that the INVISIBLE ZINC 4 Hour Water Resistant SPF 30+ UVA–UBA was excellent.
“It went on easily, wasn’t greasy, didn’t leave me with a white face and gave me good protection”, she says. “I’d definitely use it again and rate it 4/5”, she says.
Alison - a surfer, gardener and cyclist tested the irresistibly named SMART GIRLS WHO SURF SURF-VIVAL MOISTURISING SUNSCREEN SPF 30+.
“As the tube promised, it didn’t sting my eyes and worked well on its own in the surf, while I was turning my compost pile in the full sun, or under make-up when I met some friends for lunch”, says Alison.
She also tested DR LEWINN’S MOISTURISING SUN DEFENCE and DR LEWINN’S FACIAL MOISTURISING LOTION.
“I liked these, they went on smoothly, but would use them for land-based activities such as cycling or gardening, rather than out in the ocean as they are not water resistant”, she says.
Margie – loves sailing and walking her dog. She tested the DERMALOGICA WATERBLOCK SOLAR SPRAY SPF 30.
“The spray was easy to use and you didn’t get sand on your face when reapplying, but it stings your eyes”, she says. Margie was more enthusiastic about the DERMALOGICA OIL FREE MATT BLOCK SPF 20 “good under make-up”, and DERMALOGICA SOLAR SHIELD SPF 15.
“The Solar Shield looks like a lip balm, is really convenient, you can easily slide it into a board shorts or wetsuit pocket”, says Margie.
Brianna - aged 9, tested the SPORT SUNSCREEN ROLL-ON 3SPF 30+ UVA-UVB from the Cancer Council Australia.
“It was really good stuff to use”, says Brianna who tested it while on a cubs (junior scouts) camping trip that involved bushwalking and hiking. “It was easy to not use, not greasy and a good size to put in my backpack”, she says. Brianna also felt that the space on the roll-on to write your name meant that it wouldn’t get mixed up with anyone else’s.”, she says.
He says…Of course, as every EG knows, if there’s a man in your life, then he’s probably raiding your bathroom cabinet – or board bag – for sunblock! So a few guys were offered honorary EG status to get their take on the sunscreens.
Ben - Fire-fighter and surfer who works in the great outdoors knows the importance of a really good sunblock (www.sunsmartelearning.com.au) and tested INVISIBLE ZINC 4 Hour Water Resistant SPF 30+ UVA–UBA.
“I really liked it, it wasn’t greasy and I’d definitely use it again”, he says.
Taz - Surf-life saver, landscaper and volunteer fire-fighter also gave INVISIBLE ZINC the thumbs up.
“I wore it while out in the water for 3 1/2 hours surfing and it didn’t come off”, he says. He also used it at surfboat rowing training. “It doesn’t go greasy and run into your eyes when you sweat; even when I was digging holes the other day”, he says.
Peter - Kayaker and surfer liked the INVISIBLE ZINC because it was easy to put on and didn’t leave his face white like his usual zinc-based sunscreens. He was less enthusiastic about the Cancer Council’s SPORT SUNSCREEN ROLL-ON 3SPF 30+ UVA-UVB.
He says, "that while he needs something more substantial for surfing, it's fine for non-water sports."
• Always choose broad spectrum SPF 30+ water resistant sunscreen.
• No matter if you are in the water, climbing a mountain or just shopping, you’ll perspire - a good water-resistant sunscreen will last longer and offer more protection.
• The price of sunscreen does not always match the quality.
• For best protection apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside.
• No matter what the sunscreen directions say, always reapply sunscreen every two hours when you are outdoors.
• Most sunscreens will last 2-3 years if stored below 25°C. Don't use a one that is out of date.
• Get a hat! Wearing a hat looks stylish and can help prevent sunburn.
• Stay away from tanning salons – if you must get a tan, get a spray-on.
Preventing Skin Cancer (www.cancer.org.au)
Risk Factors and Prevention (www.healthinsite.gov.au)
Posted on 16 January 2009 - 11:16pm
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