New Zealand Suncare Facts
Note: There is overwhelming scientific evidence that the sun damages the skin, causing photo aging (wrinkling) and contributes to skin cancers. Most forms of skin cancer are preventable and it is now being acknowledged that nutrition plays a key part in the prevention of skin cancer. It is also recommended that exposure to sun without sunblock protection is important for overall health, though only during the early hours of the day and later in the afternoon. Avoid unprotected exposure during peak sun hours.
As the skin has no natural defences against UVA (its intensity is the same throughout the year) it is suggested that sunblock and protective clothing are used all year round. Even on a cloudy day 80% of UV still passes through.
It has generally been thought that the higher the SPF rating the better – this is false.
The sun protection factor (SPF) on labels, compares the amount of ultraviolet energy required to burn your skin when it is covered by a sunscreen, to the amount required to burn you without protection. This means that a sunscreen with an SPF of 10 will allow you to take 10 times as much sun as you could normally take before you start to burn. Most unprotected people burn after about 17 minutes in the summer sun.
An SPF value of higher than 25 has no meaning because SPF25 essentially covers the entire period of time the sun is at its peak.
When to apply sunscreen:
Apply 20-30 minutes before going into the sun and again every two hours. If sunscreens were applied appropriately to prevent sunburn there would be no need for sun protection factors higher than 15.
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