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Understanding the sunscreen language

As summer approaches (in the Southern hemisphere at least!), most of us start to think about that little extra protection that a tinted sunscreen or even a normal sun block under our make up can provide our skin. How many times did you find yourself wondering if your sunscreen actually works and if the ingredients that it contains are good for you? Well, we’ve been asking ourselves that a lot! That’s why we thought to share with you the results of our research in this short guide to sunscreens.

Mineral Sunscreens Versus Chemical Sunscreens – which one is best for your skin?

Mineral and chemical sunscreens are made up of two entirely different formulas and react with the body in a variety of ways. Chemical sunscreens will absorb the sun’s rays before turning them into heat, which then disperses into the air. Their ingredients are absorbed into the dermal layer, causing damage before the protective element starts to work.  As well as this questionable ability to protect our skin, chemical sunscreens’ ingredients can cause disruption to your hormonal function, which is not ideal especially if you are applying sunscreen to children’s skin. Mineral sunscreens instead contain ingredients such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide, which act as a mirror reflecting the sun’s rays. Make sure you look for the “non-nano” denomination on the product: This means that the titanium or zinc particles are too large to be absorbed into the skin, so they sit on top, forming a barrier that prevent UVA and UVB rays from entering.

SPF Numbers – What to choose?

Many people believe that the higher the SPF the safer you are, but as DermNet New Zealand states, SPF 15 filters out 93 % of UVB Rays, whereas SPF 30 filters out only 97 % of them. For example, if it only takes 10 minutes for your skin to get burned, then SPF15 multiplies that amount of time by a factor of 15, which means that you could go 150 minutes before burning. Unfortunately, those numbers show that applying SPF 30 does not mean that you double the time. Applying sunscreen often is the best way to protect your skin from environmental damage. It is also important when deciding on what SPF to choose that you take into consideration the colour of your skin, your sensitivity to the sun, your family history and how direct your exposure will be in the sun.

What do all those words mean?

UV  :  The ultraviolet rays which carry radiation and can cause a chemical reaction in the body.

UVB : The rays that burn the skins superficial layers.

SPF :   Sun Protection Factor in regards to UVB ray.

UVA :  The rays that penetrate deeper layers of the skin causing premature ageing.

Broad Spectrum : Broad Spectrum Sunscreens protect your skin from UVA & UVB light.

If you don’t know where to start, Au Natural can help! Check out Au Natural’s On The Go Mineral Powder Foundation Brush On with Sunscreen. It has SPF 25, it’s tested to the latest AUS/NZ standard, it’s natural, non-nano and is Vegan certified. Read more about it and get yours here