The sun is meant to be enjoyed—to lounge in, to play in, to bask in….but you have to know the basics to make your time in the sun safer. Below we answer some of your most pressing suncare questions.
UVB and UVA rays from the sun can be damaging to the skin – if the proper sun protection isn’t worn during sun exposure, this contributes to aging, can cause skin damage…and even skin cancer.
When used as directed, sunscreen is proven to:
- Decrease your risk of skin cancer and skin pre-cancers. Regular daily use of SPF 15 (or higher) can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40% and lower your melonoma risk by 50%; and
- Help prevent premature skin aging, caused by the sun, including wrinkles, sagging and age spots.
Sunscreens in Europe are labelled with an ‘SPF’. This stands for ‘sun protection factor’, although the SPF is more accurately the sun burn protection factor, as it primarily shows the level of protection against UVB, not the protection against UVA. SPFs are rated on a scale of 6 to 50+ based on the level of protection they offer, with ratings between 6 to 14 forming the least protected end of the spectrum and ratings of 50+ offering the strongest forms of UVB protection. The British Association of Dermatologists recommends a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 as a satisfactory form of sun protection in addition to protective shade and clothing.
Hawaiian Tropic® offers a range of After Sun products that deliver everything from a 4-hour moisturization benefit up to a 24-hour moisturization benefit, so that you can best decide how to indulge, pamper and nourish your skin.
SPF used in moisturisers are tested the same way as sunscreens, so an SPF 15 moisturiser should provide an SPF of 15. However, these formulas are less likely to be rub-resistant and water resistant, and most importantly are likely to be applied more sparingly than sunscreen. A thinner layer of protection amounts to a lower level of protection.
A moisturiser with an SPF will help protect you against small amounts of UV exposure, such as when you walk to the car or pop outside to hang out the washing, but sunscreen is better suited for longer, more deliberate UV exposure, such as spending your lunch hour outside.
It is also worth noting that moisturisers containing an SPF may not contain any UVA protection and as a result will not protect against UV ageing.
Choose a sunscreen with “broad spectrum" protection. All SPF products protect against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn and skin cancers. But UVA rays also contribute to skin cancer and premature aging. Only products that pass a certain test can be labeled “broad spectrum” and display this UVA logo to indicate that they also protect against UVA rays.
For areas of skin unable to be protected by clothing, sunscreen should be used as indicated in the instructions. Application should be made liberally to all uncovered areas, 15 - 30 minutes before sun exposure, with reapplication according to the instructions as directed. For greatest efficacy, use a high sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreen, preferably of 30 or more, also providing high levels of UVA protection.
[sources: https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/choose-the-right-sunscreen.html and https://www.bad.org.uk/skin-cancer/sunscreen-fact-sheet]
There are two closely related concepts - product shelf life, and period after opening (PAO).
All Hawaiian Tropic® sun protection products are tested to prove that they maintain their protective (SPF) effectiveness for at least 3 years from the date of manufacture. This refers to the product's shelf life.
Period after Opening (PAO) refers to the period of time in which the product has been shown to remain stable after the package has been opened. The PAO for each product is indicated by a symbol on the package which resembles an open jar. This example would indicate a PAO of 12 Months for the product displaying this symbol. Refer to the package to understand the recommended PAO for your product.
Organic filters absorb harmful UV radiation, convert it and give this energy back out as infrared energy. These are sometimes known as ‘absorbers’, or ‘chemical’ sunscreens. Note that organic filters does not mean ‘organic’ in the environmental sense.
Mineral based filters (also known as ‘physical’, ‘natural’, ‘reflective’) contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which also absorb UV, but additionally reflect, block and scatter UV radiation away from the skin.
It can be helpful to think of organic filters as sponges, mopping up the UV radiation, and inorganic filters as absorbent sponges with small mirrors built in, bouncing UV away from the skin.
[sources: https://www.bad.org.uk/skin-cancer/sunscreen-fact-sheet#what-is-spf and https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/#what]
All Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen products are rigorously tested to demonstrate satisfactory levels of safety and efficacy. The Sun Protection Factor indicated by the SPF number is independent of the type of active ingredients contained in the product. In other words, if two Sun Creams, one containing Mineral active ingredients, and the other containing Organic active ingredients*, are tested using the approved SPF test method and both achieve an SPF of 30, their protection level is equivalent. [Note that organic filters does not mean ‘organic’ in the environmental sense, as described above.]
Selection of a Mineral-based sunscreen versus an Organic- based sunscreen product is largely a personal choice. Some people may find that they are sensitive to “organic”-based sunscreens. Mineral-based sunscreens (such as those containing Zinc Oxide) provide consumers with an alternative to "organic" based sunscreen products. However, certain Mineral-based sunscreen products, upon application to skin, may leave a "white cast." All of these things should be considered as you choose the type of product that is most suited to you.
Terms like “reef-friendly” are used to identify sunscreens that do not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, two common UV filters, that some studies have suggested may cause coral bleaching. When coral bleaches (turns white), leaves it susceptible to disease and death.