What you need to know about SPF 50+ sunscreen

November 22, 2012, 1:18 pm Bahar Etminan Yahoo!7

It’s Skin Cancer Awareness Week, which means it's time to get sun wise about the new changes to SPF rules and sun protection guidelines in Australia.

What you need to know about SPF 50+ sunscreen

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After years of lobbying and research, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has made it possible for SPF 50 products to be sold and marketed in this country. About time too say some experts particularly when two out of three Aussies will find themselves diagnosed with skin cancer before they celebrate their 70th Birthday! The important thing to note is that SPF 50+ does not offer 20 times more protection than SPF 30+. It is in fact a very small but still important increase in protection and in particular protection from UVB rays.

Here is my little lesson on key facts you need to know about the sun and the new SPF products hitting the market. Find out what's right for you and your family!

Did you know that significant skin damage can occur prior to your skin becoming sunburnt? DNA damage, the formation of harmful free radicals and suppression of your immune system can occur even on days you do not get sunburnt. Sunburn is the visual warning sign that you have been overexposed to the sun and have caused skin damage. However, significant skin damage can occur prior to your skin becoming sunburnt. The sun’s UV rays can cause DNA damage and can form harmful free radicals on the skin and they can also suppress your immune system - yikes!

In addition to this, non-melanoma skin cancers have been closely linked to lifetime UV exposure.

SPF 50+ sunscreens are formulated to allow less damaging rays to reach your skin’s surface than lower SPF sunscreens.

What's the difference?
For example, when applied correctly SPF 30 allows 3.3 per cent of UVB rays to reach your skin while SPF 50+ allows only 1.67 per cent to reach your skin. This may not sound like much, but over a lifetime of UV exposure under the harsh Australian sun, well, you do the math!

FACT: The new SPF 50+ products protect better against sunburn as well as protecting against long term skin damage by providing higher UVA and UVB protection.

To remember the difference this of UVA being all about ageing and UVB being all about burning! UVA rays are also known as “UV ageing rays”- they are the cause of long term skin damage & photo-ageing, in other words, they cause premature ageing, wrinkles and sun spots.

Things to be careful of:
To clear up a few misconceptions, the better protection of 50+ sunscreen does not mean you can apply less or that you can apply less frequently.

Top Tips for Best Sun Protection
Apply 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure
Apply a 20 cent coin size to each body part
Seek shade between 10 and 3pm
Re-apply every 2 hours
Always re-apply after swimming, towel drying and excessive perspiration
Wearing protective clothing hats and approved eyewear is important
Keep children under the age of 6 months should have limited sun exposure
Consult your doctor before applying sunscreen to an infant
If you've got a newborn, Cancer Council Australia recommends keeping babies out of the sun as much as possible for the first 12 months
The most effective sunscreen is labeled SPF50+, broad spectrum and water-resistant.

A few of my top SPF30 and new 50+ products to check out:

For the family: Banana Boat Ultra SPF 50+ ($16.49 ) and for the kids, Kids Roll-On SPF 50+ ($10.49)
For the sporty types: Ella Bache Great 50+ Sportsbloc Active ($44 available from Ella Bache salons)
For the glamourpuss: Guinot Ultra UV Defense SPF 50+ ($64 available Through selected beauty salons nationwide)
For the anti-ageing obsessed: Ultraceuticals Protective daily moisturiser SPF 30+ ($69 available from selected beauty salons and David Jones stores)

For the hard core: La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Extreme Fluid ($34.95 for stockists head to www.laroche-posay.com.au

Last week: Five must-have beauty brushes

Want more beauty tips? Catch Bahar's Editor Loves blog and more beauty how to tips on RESCU.

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