One part of your beauty regimen you cannot skip is sun protection. The suns' rays are the primary cause of skin cancer. That and ultraviolet (UV) radiation can damage our skin and cause cellular damage which may lead to the development of other cancers. And here in New Zealand, closely followed by Australia we have — by far, the highest susceptibility to skin cancer in the world. Proper protection is key.
How to protect your skin from the sun?
When selecting a sun cream, make sure you are using the right one for your skin type and which has both UVA and UVB protection. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer; however, UVB is more potent than UVA in terms of causing redness or sunburn. Besides sunscreen, consider limiting sun exposure, in particular during 10 am and 4 pm when the suns' rays are the harshest. And if you're in the sun for extended periods, poolside or at the beach consider an unconventional approach to swim coverups while on dry land. Polarised sunglasses provide necessary macula and retina protection and a wide brim hat for ears, neck and so on. A cap won't. You can also use an umbrella.
What is SPF?
SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect your skin from UVB rays — the radiation that causes sunburn, damages skin and can contribute to skin cancer. SPF is a measure of protection from the amount of UVB exposure; however, it is not intended to help you determine exposure duration. And SPF is not additive — the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) scale is not linear. For example, if you're wearing a BB cream with SPF 15 on top of sunscreen with SPF 30, you're not wearing SPF 45.
— SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
— SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
— SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays
Another way of looking at this is that SPF 30 sunscreen only gives you 4% more protection than SPF 15 sunscreen.
With one application, how long do sunscreens last (15-30 SPF)?
That is going to depend on multiple variables. However, if you're in and out of buildings, inside for most of the day, a daily dose of SPF 30 will keep skin protected on cloudy days and a morning application will suffice. For adequate coverage as a guideline apply a half teaspoon for your face and neck. If you're going to be exposed to direct sun for long periods, or if you're in the water, sweating, the every-two-hour rule for reapplication is essential. This water-resistant UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum formula from Suntegrity is perfect for everyday sun protection for both the face and body. Packed with biologically active Antioxidants, Vitamins and Minerals, it continues to protect and nourish the skin long after environmental exposure. And the stick format is also ideal for quick touch-ups.
Is it really necessary to use sunscreen every day?
Yes, including the winter months where the sun still casts a powerful glare. Whether you are outside for five minutes taking out the trash or at your desk by the window, you're exposed to UV rays. And this means sun protection should be year-round, especially if you live in a sunny place, or like New Zealand and Australia in areas with ozone depletion — all day.
What is reef-safe sunscreen?
While currently there are no regulated definitions, terms such as "reef-safe" or "reef-friendly" identify sunscreens which do not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate — two common UV-blocking chemicals, which studies have shown can cause coral bleaching. When coral bleaches, it's still alive, but under severe stress, which leaves the coral susceptible to disease. As such, in July 2018, the state of Hawaii banned the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. The city of Key West, Florida, followed suit in early 2019. When both laws go into effect on January 1, 2021, Hawaiians will only be able to purchase "reef-safe" sunscreens. And while further research is required to fully comprehend the impact of sunscreens on coral, opting for natural sunscreens is a win for us and the coral. Suntegrity sunscreens which are 100% natural, are also reef safe. Suntegrity was also awarded "Champion" Status by the EWG/Compact for Safe Cosmetics.
What is the best sun cream protection for my face?
A natural sunscreen is the best option for you and the environment. Natural sunscreens generally refer to a mineral-based product with zinc or titanium dioxide as the key active ingredients — these work by coating the skin with a physical barrier that the sun's rays can't penetrate. Chemical sunscreens rely on synthetic chemical actives which absorb and filter the sun's energy through a chemical reaction which dissipates and absorbs UV rays at the outer skin layers. As such, natural sunscreens shade us, reflecting UV rays, while their chemical counterparts create a chemical process in the body which may disrupt hormone regulation.
Which sunscreen is suitable for oily and acne-prone skin?
For oily and acne-prone skin, you need protection from UV rays because too much sun can cause new breakouts. On the other hand, many sunscreen formulas can irritate reactive and sensitive skin. For the face, Suntegrity's Natural Moisturising Face Sunscreen and Primer works as a hydrating moisturiser, primer and natural sunscreen in one. The ability to pull double-duty as a primer is highly valued in a face sunscreen. It's rich, non-greasy and "UV chemical-free" with non-nano sized zinc-oxide to protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays. Anti-inflammatory, skin-calming ingredients such as Aloe Vera and Cucumber work to help tackle blemishes. Hyaluronic acid (a frequent ingredient used in acne treatments) hydrates and protects the skin. Another multi-tasker, Suntegrity 5 in 1 Natural Moisturising Face Sunscreen which doubles as a BB cream, protects, primes and covers the skin. Ideal for acne-prone skin Aloe Vera, Cucumber and Green Tea calm and help rejuvenate inflamed skin while providing Broad Spectrum SPF 30 protection.
Can I apply sunscreen after moisturiser?
Yes. Sunscreen should be layered after your moisturiser and before your make-up. Just don't rub it in too much! You want most of the product to end up on your face, not your palms. Apply the sunscreen so that you see it on your skin, then massage it in just slightly. Both Suntegritys' 5 IN 1 and Moisturising Face Cream and Primer blend seamlessly into make-up routines.
Should you apply make-up under or over sunscreen?
Make-up should be applied over sunscreen. You want your sun protection closest to your skin. Apply enough zinc-rich sunscreen (which Suntegrity sunscreens are) — let the half teaspoon rule guide you, let it set and then follow with your make-up. If you like to keep your skincare and make-up routine simple, opting for a tinted moisturiser with SPF coverage, such as Suntegritys' 5 IN 1 is a good option. Even after two coats, no white cast.