These-days it’s practically unheard of to go into the sun for any extended period of time without applying sunscreen. The dangers of excessive exposure to sunshine and the risks of skin cancer have only become apparent in the last 30 years. It was in the 1980s that sunscreens began to appear with a new SPF or Sun Protection Factor although SPF research dates back to the 1960s.
Sun Protection Factors are based on the sunscreen’s ability to protect the skin from exposure to the sun’s dangerous UVB rays. Each lotion has a factor from 2 to over 50 which determines how much exposure you can have to the sun without the skin burning. So a factor of 20 would mean that you can stay in the sun 20 times longer than if you were not wearing sunscreen at all. Many people naturally choose higher SPF factors for their sunscreen, with Factor 30 and 50 being the most popular. This is because they assume that the higher the SPF, the greater the protection, but this is not strictly true. Did you know that a higher SPF, doesn’t necessarily mean higher protection? Scientists have discovered that the difference between the protection of a Factor 30 and Factor 50 only varies by about 1% (Factor 30 = 97% and Factor 50 is 98%).
So even though Factor 50 sunscreens are heavily promoted as being the ultimate protection against the damaging rays of the sun, it would be just as acceptable to use a lower factor, as long as it is used correctly.
You might be less inclined to choose a natural sunscreen is because the SPFs are generally lower, but as you can see a lower SPF doesn’t necessarily mean less protection. Natural sunscreen is more beneficial to your skin and overall health (no unknown chemicals) but it also works in a different way to chemical sunscreen. Natural sunscreen deflects the UV rays rather than absorbing them which means that your skin will be less susceptible to allergic reactions and interference with hormones (as has been found with chemical sunscreens). You can find more information about how this works by reading this blog post. (Put link into blog post about using natural sunblock).
The key to effective use of a lower SPF sunscreen is to apply regularly and not to spend too much time in the sun, which makes sense for the sake of the health of your skin and to protect against skin cancer. The greatest issue with using higher SPFs is that people rely on them too much. According to EWG ‘High SPF products tend to lull users into staying in the sun longer and overexposing themselves to both UVA and UVB rays.’ Using a low SPF sunscreen which is applied more regularly and effectively will offer more protection than using a high SPF which is applied sparingly and not as often as it should be.
If you would like to try a natural sunscreen which will protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun, we have developed our own Organic Repellent and Sun Lotion which has the advantage of being a combined insect repellent and sunscreen. See the link below for more information.
The best way to maximise the effectiveness of any sunscreen you use is to ensure that it is applied correctly. Follow these tips for ultimate sun protection:
Use more rather than less. One of the reasons why sunscreen becomes ineffective is because people apply it sparsely. It’s far better to apply too much and make sure your skin is fully protected.
Make sure that you cover every exposed area of your skin with sunscreen. If you have hard to reach places like your back, ask someone else to help. Always help children with application as they notoriously miss large patches.
Re-apply often. Check the instructions on the bottle, but as a general rule re-apply every 2 hours and more often if you go swimming or engage in strenuous activity (sweat interferes with the effectiveness of sunscreen)
Enjoy these warmer months, but make sure your skin is protected. To keep your skin in perfect condition with a strong emphasis on organic, natural products, check out our website.