“UVB protection does not increase proportionally with the SPF number. There’s a large jump between an SPF of 2, which protects against 50% of UVB rays, and 15, but after that the increments are small.”

Sunscreen Showdown

Hello from your fun-in-the-sun-loving Costhetics team. We’re delighted that more and more people are taking better care of their skin, fighting against sun damage with sunscreens. Beyond the everyday sunscreens offered at pharmacies and department store beauty counters, we’re excited about the wide range of products being offered at skincare clinics in Australia.

Posted: 12 November 14

In this post, we’d like to compare and contrast some of the top sellers currently available and highlight what it is about their formulations that make cool choices in the hot weather.

How the Right Sunscreen Protects Against Ageing

The cool kids on the sunscreen-shelf block the effects of damaging rays, but they are also formulated to block the anti-ageing effects of the sun.

“Regular sunscreen use by young and middle-aged adults under age 55 brings a cosmetic benefit by preventing progressive skin ageing as well as decreasing their risk of skin cancer in the long-term.”-Dr Adele Green, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane

We all know spending too much time in the sun can increase risk for both skin cancer (the most common of all cancers) and premature skin ageing. A new Australian study adds to that body of knowledge with findings that show

Daily sunscreen use protects the skin against fine lines and wrinkles.

To get the most out of your sunscreen, however, it’s critical to choose the right level of protection.

The SPF Sunscreen Numbers Game

An easy point of comparison in sunscreens is the level of SPF protection they offer, indicated by a number somewhere between 15 and 50, although some products offer protection up to level 80. Higher is better, right? Not necessarily.

“UVB protection does not increase proportionally with the SPF number. There’s a large jump between an SPF of 2, which protects against 50% of UVB rays, and 15, but after that the increments are small.” –Dr Elizabeth Hale, Skin Cancer Foundation.

SPF15 is appropriate for everyday activities that expose your skin to the sun for a limited amount of time.Think picking up the kids at soccer practice, commuting to the office, or taking out the trash. SPF 30 is recommended when you are going to be outdoors for a prolonged period of time playing sports, watching an outdoor concert, or frolicking by the shore.

So who needs SPF 50? This level of protection is good for people whose skin is ultra-sensitive to the sun’s damaging effects. This includes anyone who has had skin cancer in the past, as well as people who are taking medications that make them more sensitive to the sun.

Why You Should Choose Broad Spectrum Sunscreens

SPF provides important protection against damaging UVB sunrays, but not UVA rays. UVA, not UVB are the dominant tanning rays, causing cumulative damage over time.

There is no rating scale for UVA protection, but the words “Broad Spectrum Sunscreen” on a label, and specific ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, are evidence of a superior defence against the sun.

4 Top Sunscreen Products in Australia

So how do various luxury sunscreens compare? Let’s look at some of Australia’s top sellers and some real life comments from users:

  • Restylane Day Cream with SPF-15 – With a cream base that is similar to the skin’s own barriers, this product has a lovely consistency that makes it feel more like a moisturiser than a sunscreen. That makes it ideal for everyday use for all skin types.  The addition of stabilised hyaluronic acid enhances the long-lasting moisturising effects.

“It goes on smoothly and absorbs into the skin leaving a beautiful matt finish for the application of your make up,” – LooseGoose, SocialSoup.com.

  • Dermalogica Oil Free Matte SPF-30 – This broad-spectrum sunscreen is a real multi-tasker. It helps regulate oil production, sooth inflammation, prevent shine,and keep both UVA and UVB rays from damaging your delicate skin.

“Provides an all-day matte finish with very little of the shine and oiliness associated with sunscreen. Most importantly, it provides me with the confidence that I’m protecting my skin from UV damage whilst not causing me to breakout” – Uncle Scrooge, Melbourne, VIC, Dermalogica.com.au

  • UltraceuticalsSunActive SPF-50 – Designed for an active lifestyle, Ultraceuticalsbroad-spectrum sunscreen is fast absorbing and lightweight.It contains an advanced antioxidant formulation that helps protect the skin from free radical damage and may assist in preventing sunspots and sun-related skin cancers. At the same time, Biomimetic (mimicking the body’s actions) moisturising ingredients help the skin maintain optimal levels of hydration.

“What gets me so excited about this broad-spectrum facial sunscreen is not just its SPF 50+ protection, but its added skin care benefits of vitamin E and provitamin C, too. This means I’m nourishing my skin while protecting it, which practically eliminates the need to apply a moisturiser each morning” – Cherie, BeautyHaven.com.au

  • True Solutions Tinted and Untinted Sunscreens – The True Solutions sunscreen line has home-field advantage. Developed here in Australia, it offers SPF-30 sunscreens with moisturising properties ranging from light to intensive. The tinted sunscreens can be used effectively as a make-up base.

“I believe this product is the sunscreen made for the MD formulations range here in Australia. I’m now about halfway through the 100ml tube and I am loving it! It absorbs into the skin quickly with no greasy feel or white cast. It has no irritating smell and most importantly it does not make my skin break out.” – Asabo, MakeupAlley.com

4 Tips to Get the Best Protection from Your Sunscreen

“Brand matters less than how you use the product,” reports the Mayo Clinic on its website.  They recommend that you carefully follow directions and apply sunscreen liberally and often. They also recommend that consumers choose products that are

  1. Water-resistant
  2. Offer broad-spectrum coverage
  3. Have a minimum SPF of 15
  4. Have not yet expired (this is a major cause of sunscreen failures)

You’re the Winner?

So which is the best sunscreen out there? That depends on you! At Costhetics, we believe that sun protection, like every other aspect of health and beauty is individualised. That’s why we’re in favour of choosing sun protection products with the help of an experienced skincare professional at a good clinic or medi-spa.

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