With Summer and holiday season in full swing, our bathroom cabinets are groaning with a range of sun care products. We know it’s important, but choosing the right sun care for your family can be tricky. Does more expensive mean it’s more effective? What SPF is best? What does SPF even mean? Let’s cut the jargon and work out how to choose the best sun cream for you and your family.
UVA and UVA Protection
SPF refers to the level of UVB protection the sun cream offers. UVB rays are the ones that cause sunburn, but with UVA rays linked to cancer, you really want to be looking for a sun cream that protects you from both. There is no standard rating for UVA, but there are tricks. Look for ingredients like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, ecamsule, avobenzone or oxybenzone. Sun creams labelled as ‘broad spectrum’ are usually good too.
Contrary to popular belief, the number after SPF isn’t about strength, it’s about time. So if you normally would begin to turn pink after 10 minutes in the sun, an SPF15 multiplies that by 15, making you protected for 150 minutes of sun time. This is why regular reapplication is so important.
If you’re hitting the beach, the pool, or just likely to be sweaty, look for water resistant. It won’t be waterproof, so you will need to reapply after being in the water, but it does mean you can have a splash around without worrying you’re getting burned.
Top Tips for Sun Safety
- Don’t forget your face, hands and your feet. Feet in particular are easily forgotten, but still easily burned if you’re in sandals or bare feet.
- Make use of the shade. No sunburn, or heat stroke. Winner.
- Trying to get sun cream onto wriggly kids? Try a spray. It’s faster, and is great for you too, for hard to reach areas like your back.
- Protect your scalp from burning by wearing a hat. A wide brim keeps the sun out of eyes and off your neck too.
- Don’t just check your sun cream for the UV rating. Check your sunglasses too, and keep your eyes safe too.