Professor of Dermatology, Diona Damian, brings to light everything you need to know about sunscreen, including why it's still important during the cold winter months.
“We’re told to use broad-spectrum 50+ sunscreen that fights UVA and UVB radiation,” explains Professor Damian, a Professor of Dermatology from the University’s Medical School explains.
“Sunscreen acts like a filter. It doesn’t block UV radiation completely but it can substantially reduce how much UV reaches your skin.
“Exposure to the sun, even for a few minutes, can weaken the immune system that helps fight off cancers and sun spots, making it harder for your skin to stay healthy.”
“When you see ‘broad spectrum’ on a label that means it helps filter two kinds of radiation; UVA and UVB”, Professor Damian said.
A sunscreen with a sun protection factor – or SPF – or 50+ increases the skin’s sunburn threshold by at least 50 times when tested in tightly-controlled lab settings, Professor Damian said.
“But labs aren’t the real world. In real life, even at the beach, people tend to apply their sunscreen much less thickly than in lab settings. The artificial lamps used for testing don’t quite recreate the UV radiation of real sunlight.
“SPF 15 sunscreen you apply while at the beach or pool might actually give you a protection factor more like 6 or 7. That's one of the reasons you should always go for the highest number you can find. In Australia, that's SPF 50+.”
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