Expert Advice, Hints & Tips
1. How much SPF is enough?
The higher the factor the better, for example SPF 15 gives approximately 93% protection compared with 97% for SPF30. As a rule of thumb, a golf ball-sized blob is about the right amount to protect your whole body and a teaspoon if you’re just applying to the face and neck.
Make sure you’re applying the product liberally and in an even layer!
2. Why is protecting your skin from the sun important?
There’s little doubt that a bit of sunshine makes us feel good. The problem, though, is that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays without adequate protection can lead to a range of skin problems, the most serious of which is skin cancer. In the UK, skin cancer is by far the most common cancer, with almost 16,000 new cases of melanoma and 150 000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed each year. It is estimated that more than 4 out of 5 cases of skin cancer are preventable by taking appropriate precautions.
Other sun-related skin concerns include sunburn and prickly heat, both of which can be uncomfortable, and existing skin conditions, such as rosacea, may be aggravated by UV rays as well. Finally, features of skin ageing, like wrinkles and dark spots, are accelerated by sun exposure. That’s why it’s key to lather on the sun cream!
3. What is the best way to apply sun cream?
Sunscreen application is most crucial between April and September when UV levels are at their highest. Common sense should also apply at other times of year when UV levels may be lower, but not totally absent.
To get the level of protection stated on the product label, apply the product to exposed skin 15 minutes before heading outdoors so it has a chance to fully soak in.
4. How much and how often should I apply sun cream?
Studies consistently show that most people do not apply enough sunscreen.
As a rule of thumb, the average adult needs to apply approximately a golfball sized amount of sun cream to gain sufficient coverage. This can be more than half a teaspoon to each arm and to the face, ears and neck, and just over a teaspoon to each leg, the front of the body and the back.
These days, there are a variety of different sunscreen formulations available, such as mists, sprays, mousses and lotions, so the teaspoon rule may not always work for the product you have chosen. In these circumstances, it is best to carefully read the manufacturer’s labelling for guidance on appropriate quantities.
Sweating, swimming and towelling off can reduce the effectiveness of your sunscreen, so it needs to be topped up every couple of hours and as soon as you get out of the pool.
Take extra precautions or head indoors between 11am and 3pm when the sun is directly overhead. Protective clothing, sunglasses and hats should also be considered.
5. What does it all mean?
SPF stands for sun protection factor and it protects our skin from UVB rays that cause sunburn. If your skin would normally go red within 20 minutes of exposing it to the sun without protection, applying adequate quantities of SPF50 means that it would take up to 50 times as long for the same to happen.
According to current EU recommendations, the UVA protection for each sunscreen should be at least a third of the labelled SPF. A product that achieves this requirement will be labelled with a UVA logo and it is the only UVA rating officially recognised & regulated by product safety authorities in the UK. It confirms that the product carrying it provides a safe and effective amount of UVA protection.
The UVA star rating system is licensed by Boots, and used by manufacturers that sell sun protection products through Boots’ stores.