We’ve heard it many times: sunscreen is the best way to protect your skin from sun damage and premature ageing, but are you getting the most from your efforts? Here’s what you need to know.
5 top tips from Cancer Council:
- Apply 20 minutes before heading outside
- Apply at least one teaspoon (5ml) to each arm, leg, front of body, back of body and face (including neck and ears) that equates to a total of 35ml (approx. 7 teaspoons)
- Reapply every 2 hours, after swimming, sweating or towel drying
- Sunscreen should never be used as the only line of defence when the UV is 3 or above, use other sun protection measures
- Always read the label, use only as directed.
Want more information?
Check out these guidelines from Heather Walker, Chair National Skin Cancer Committee, Cancer Council Australia.
When shopping for a sunscreen, look for a product that is broad spectrum, water resistant and has an SPF of 30+ or higher. As long as it meets these requirements it should provide good UV protection.
These days there are lots of sunscreens to choose from to suit different activities and preferences. It’s always good to find one that you like the feel of – that way you are more likely to use it often, apply enough and reapply regularly.
Sunscreen also needs to be applied evenly to clean and dry skin 20 minutes before heading outdoors. You need to make sure you reapply at least every two hours or after swimming, sweating or towel drying, regardless of the water resistance.
Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen and that’s probably the biggest issue. You need at least one teaspoon per limb, one for the head, one for the front of your body and one for the back. A full body application should be at least seven teaspoons.
Do not rely on sunscreen alone – it should never be your last line of defence. Whenever the UV index is three or above be sure to use sunscreen along with wearing a broadbrim hat, sunglasses and protective clothing, plus seeking shade.