Summer Sun Protection – Tips and Sunscreens

Summer Sun Protection Tips & Sunscreens

How to protect your SKIN from sun damage or premature ageing this summer

Particularly in Australia, being in the sun not only increases your risks of developing skin cancer, but it also ages your skin rapidly. Find out about Summer Sun Protection 101: Best Sunscreens for sun protection – to help you keep your skin looking younger and even-toned for longer.

Why you need a good Sunscreen:

  • The more sun over time, cumulatively, the more your skin will age. If you want to look your best for longer, AVOID the sun.
  • The more sun burns you get, the higher your skin cancer risks (but even ONE serious sun burn increases your chances).
  • You often get sun when and where you least expect it – driving to work, for example, or sitting by a window at your office.

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Summer Sun Protection 1o1: Best Sunscreens

You know you want your skin to look great throughout your life. So how do you make sure you keep the sun’s rays from doing harm?

Sun exposure is thought by many to lead to 80 to 90% of the differences in:

  • a person’s VISIBLE age versus their biological age 
  • the appearance differences between an individual and others their age (peers)
  • the appearance differences in twins or siblings who did NOT get too much sun (and smoking also makes skin ageing rapidly accelerate)

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How do you know this is true?

Look at the decolletage of anyone who’s seen a lot of sun and is over the age of 30.  Their face might not show the damage, because some makeups offered some protection – but few individuals are as protective of their upper chest as they are of their face and shoulders.  Even younger individuals can visibly see sun damage if they get a skin assessment using a Woods lamp or imaging such as the Canfield Reveal system.

  • Under 40? Don’t let this be you in a few year’s time!
  • Think it’s too late? It’s NOT too late – ask a Dermal Clinician for advice

We recommend: Medik8 Hydr8™  Day 360 SPF 30 Sunscreen:

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Lightweight and versatile, the Medik8 Hydr8 Day sun protectant offers an SPF of 30 – it’s a perfect on-the-go sunscreen. It is an all-in-one shield to protect & fight against environmental factors that age the skin. Plus, it’s non-irritating as well as rich in antioxidants that block both UBA and UVA sun rays for ultimate sun protection.

Why you’ll love Medik8 Hydr8 Day Sunscreen:

  • It’s high tech sun protection with moisturising capacities.
  • Protection AND rejuvenating – It can help protect  your skin from sun damage this summer AND may help reduce signs of ageing by minimising the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles.
  • Feels great to wear and is petroleum free – A great ‘two-in-one’ product, formulated free of petroleum-based oils to gently nourish skin without clogging pores.  For more on what sunscreens and skin care products are great for your skin, read our best beauty tips blog BEST SKIN CARE PRODUCTS FOR ALL SKIN TYPES AND AGES.

SUMMER SUN PROTECTION 101: RULE 1

Awareness is crucial – stay vigilant about your exposure to the sun.

  • Be aware that you’re getting sun FAR more than you probably recognise
  • Work to actually LIMIT your exposure – all year round
  • Wear high-protection shades as sun exposure can also damage vision over time – as well as prematurely age your skin!

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SUMMER SUN PROTECTION 101: RULE 2

You may burn readily or tan readily, but even skin that tans easily is still prone to ageing and skin cancer (perhaps not as quickly but even so, you’re definitely NOT risk free and may even be prone to major pigmentation problems like ‘liver spots,’ ‘sun spots’ and Melasma).

  • Know your skin type (perhaps investigate the Fitzpatrick skin tone scale) and what your key risks are in terms of premature ageing
  • Remember that certain products AND medications make your skin more vulnerable to sun damage
  • Check the labels of everything you ingest AND use on your skin to be sure you understand your sun exposure risks at any given time

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  • Ask our Dermal Clinicians about the best sunscreens for summer – we have some NEW products that are medical-grade sun protection (cosmeceuticals) including some that are physical blocks.

SUMMER SUN PROTECTION 101: RULE 3

Remember your skin is your largest organ – and there’s a lot of it to cover.

  • Be sure you use high quality sunscreen on your ears, feet and other areas you may forget – including HANDS and DECOLLETAGE
  • Make sure you read the ingredients on sun blocks and sunscreens before you purchase – some of the best sunscreens include “physical blocks” to prevent sun damage (zinc, for example) – ask your Dermal Clinician for more information

best sunscreens for your skin this summer; sun protection products

Tips for Being Sun Savvy:

  • Find UV protective shelters and check the UV protection rating on EVERYTHING you gear up with over summer.
  • Slip, slop slap. But don’t let following that advice give you a false security about being in the sun. Too much sun exposure is TOO MUCH sun exposure, even if you’re reapplying some of the best sunscreen available.
  • Employ thick sun blocking curtains and shades at home, and use car window shading with UV protection
  • Wearing a high SPF physical-block sunscreen product may be your best option – even in winter when you’re driving.
  • Check out the tinted versions that don’t look gluggy and ask a DERMAL CLINICIAN which ones are less prone to flare up any underlying skin conditions (such as acne).

We have several new UV protection products in stock. Book a skin care assessment ($50) to see what’s really happening with your skin and which products will suit your skin best this summer. Coco Ruby Dermal Clinicians (Hayley, Sarah and Julia) will help you sort out which are the best sunscreens for YOUR lifestyle and skin type – to help you prevent premature ageing, sunburn and sun spots!

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And remember:

  • Not all swimwear or sun protection products are equal – do your homework and/or ask a qualified skin care professional at a Clinic.
  • A hat won’t help if it’s not broad rimmed AND the right UV protective fabric.
  • Same for umbrellas – how much sun is actually getting in?

 


Events Season – Staying Protected from the Sun

Sun protection at the races. Is a hat enough?

top sunscreens and sun blocks for racing carnival season Melbourne cup

 

A hat alone is not sufficient (and sadly, currently not on trend, but that shouldn’t stop you from wearing one).

You should be also using sunblock while watching the races. You’ll also want to have a strategy to avoid direct and reflected sunlight as much as possible.

What are the Dangers of Unprotected Sun Exposure?

Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the all of the world.   The removal of sun damaged skin or skin cancers can not only lead to disfigurement, especially if on the face or ears, but sunburns also put your entire well being at risk. Suffering even one very bad sunburn seriously increases your risks of melanoma development, with over 95% of skin cancers caused by sun exposure.

Even knowing the risks, anyone still not inclined to use sunblock to help protect their delicate skin, especially during the upcoming hotter months, is putting themselves at grave risk.

Why you should be using sunscreen at outdoor events – and every day of the year – as well as what the best ingredients are in sun protection products so you know exactly what to look for.

We’ve all heard the term “UV radiation” and nearly all of us has had a sunburn at some point in our lives.  UV Radiation is definitely something that everyone all over the planet should be afraid of, and Australians in particular given the high rates of exposure and skin cancer risks.

Skin Cancer Causes: Sun Exposure & UV Rays

UV Radiation is known to be linked with the development of skin cancers.

This type of radiation comes from the sun’s rays and is so harmful to our heath that the EPA and the World Health Organization have declared it a skin carcinogen[1].

There are three different types of UV rays.

  • UVA (think “A” for “Ageing” of the skin)
  • UVB (think “B” for burning ability)
  • UVC radiation (likely to be highly ‘carcinogenic’ but blocked by the ozone layer)

So whilst you might THINK getting sun exposure makes your skin look good, it’s doing anything BUT that – especially when you work yourself into a sun burn on racing day.

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UVA radiation (the A of which stands for ageing is often how people are instructed to help remember it) – is the radiation type that is responsible for ageing, skin cancer, collagen damage and dreaded wrinkles.

  • Unlike UVC, the ozone layer barely absorbs the UVA form of radiation.
  • So UVA radiation makes up for 95% of the UV radiation that hits the Earth – and does the most harm to your skin – on a day at the races.

The more you sit out in the sun with unprotected skin, the more it will start to look dry and wrinkly, discolored or unevenly coloured (such as hyper-pigmentation or melasma), and even leathery.

UVB radiation (the B of which stands for burning) and makes up the remaining 5% of the UV radiation that hits the Earth’s surface.

  • UVB radiation is associated with the sun’s benefits and responsible for the production of vitamin D in our bodies.
  • Too much of a good thing can lead to damage to the top layer of your skin which can result in either skin cancers or sunburns or both (and the two are linked).
  • The ozone layer in Australia filters out UVB rays, but sadly, due to the well-known ozone layer depletion (called the “ozone hole”) over our country, more of these rays have been reaching the Earth, likely leading to the increasing risks for skin cancer in Australia and why we have the highest skin cancer occurrences (it’s also a behavioural issue because we go out in the sun too often, for too long, and without sun block or sunscreen protections).
  • And our love for the sun and our negligence of proper sun protection is often the reason so many of us get sunburned during the Racing Carnival Season.

Lastly, UVC radiation is the most harmful of the three radiation types. Luckily this radiation is currently mostly blocked by our ozone layer.

Sun damage and Sun Protection Products: How can I Best Protect Myself?

Staying out of the sun is the best way to avoid sun damage. But because most of us are outdoors regularly, including at weddings, carnivals and sporting events, there are simple but necessary steps that we can take to better protect ourselves from UV radiation and the harms it does.

These rules apply to everyone: men, women, children and the elderly. Babies as young as six months old should be wearing sunscreen or physical sun block – and should be covered up with UV protection rated clothing when they are younger.

  • Wear sunscreen – ALWAYS!
  • Avoid all sun exposure in the middle of the day because UV rays are strongest during this time.
  • Be cautious when you’re driving because you are actually getting far more sun exposure than you might realise,
  • Wear protective clothing. Try wearing long sleeves and pants and a wide-brimmed hat (perfect for the races).
  • Reapply your sunscreen regularly and consider the sun-block products that include ingredients that might better block the sun.

What Should I Look for in a Sunscreen? The data has changed and you’ll need to be more diligent than ever when choosing a great sun block, sun screen or UV radiation protection product.

SPF means sun protection factor. The SPF number of a product or brand rating tells you how well the product might protect you from UVB, the burning rays of the sun. Up until just a few years ago, all that mattered was choosing a sunblock with a high SPF which only protects from UVB rays or the rays that burn.

It is now shown, however, that UVA rays also increase your skin cancer risks. While UVA rays don’t cause sunburns they can be just as damaging to your underlying tissues or cellular processes – so its best to prevent these from reaching your skin as well.  And that  means slip, slop, slap but with more carefully selected sun screen products.

 

 

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Try Broad-Spectrum Sunscreens

You’ll want a broad-spectrum sunscreen product that protects your skin from both UVB and UVA rays.

  • Look for ingredients with broad-spectrum protection that include titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, salicylates, avobenzone (Parsol 1789) and ecamsule (Mexoryl SX).
  • You want an SPF of 15 or higher at a minimum.

To protect from UVA rays you really do need to pay attention to the ingredients.

Look for a sunscreen that contains at least one of these ingredients:

  • titanium dioxide
  • sulisobenzone
  • zinc oxide ecamsule
  • avobenzone
  • oxybenzone

Any of those should work well to protect from UVA Rays.


How Should I Apply Sunscreen or Sun Block

Always apply sunscreen at least 20 to 30 minutes BEFORE you go outdoors or swimming and whenever you will be exposed for 15 minutes or more (or even for a few minutes if you have just had a procedure done or have easily-burning skin).

You should also reapply sunscreen at least every two hours while you are outdoors – regardless of what the product says.

Reapply more often if you are swimming or perspiring heavily.

There really is no such thing as ‘all day protection’.  In fact, you’ll want to be very diligent about applying it often, and not just if you are swimming or sweating heavily – although if you are, you’ll want to reapply it even more frequently. But don’t count on sun block alone to protect you – remember the slogan and wear the right protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunnies, and try to get out of the direct sun (or even reflected sun light) as much as you possibly can.

Be sure to cover all exposed areas and do not forget your ears, lips, and back of your hands. If you have sensitive skin be sure to connect with your Dermal Clinician or Dermatologist about selecting a product that is right for you! Our Dermal Therapists can help so just phone us during clinic hours or send an enquiry form to learn what sun protection might be best for YOUR skin for the Racing Carnival Season and for Summer Weddings or a day at the beach.

Remember also, that some medications and health conditions make your skin extremely sensitive to burning; be sure to let your Dermal Clinician know what your sensitivities might be in terms of being sun-sensitive for whatever reason.

If you follow these steps, your skin will be much better protected while socializing at the races!

[1] Source: http://www.epa.sa.gov.au/environmental_info/radiation/understanding_radiation/uv_radiation

Or send an enquiry for a skin assessment and to find out which sun protection products are best for YOUR skin this summer.

Last updated: September 18, 2020
Author profile image
Dr Richard Maxwell MBBS FRACS(Plas)
Mr. Richard Maxwell graduated in medicine from Monash University in Melbourne in 1981. He trained in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Alfred Hospital, the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Victorian Plastic Surgery Unit in Melbourne. He completed his training in 1989, gaining the Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

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