We all know how important sunscreen is, but do you know which SPF you should be using? And does waterproof sunscreen actually work? We’ve got the answers to these and more…
Work out your sun tolerance rating
To determine which SPF you should buy, you need to do a quick calculation. First up, how easily do you burn? If you’re fair-skinned you won’t get away with more than 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure. If you’re a little darker, you can probably manage up to 20 minutes before you feel it. Ethnic complexion? Lucky fish, you rarely burn and can be in the sun for up to 45 minutes. Now, multiply the minutes in the sun by the SPF. So if you burn in 10 minutes, an SPF15 will only keep you protected for two and a half hours (SPF 15 x 10 minutes = 150 minutes).
You need more than you think
Now you know which SPF level to choose, how much you apply is equally important. If you’re exposing your whole body, say for a day on the beach, you need 30ml of sunscreen (that’s the equivalent of a shot glass) to cover every inch of skin. What this means? If you spend a lot of time outdoors in summer, your sunscreen shouldn’t last you more than one season.
rubybox recommends: Ultrasun SPF20 Medium Sports Clear Gel Formula – the 500ml bottle should see you through your two week summer holiday safely.
It’s not only about SPF
Sadly SPF only protects you from the sun’s burning UVB rays. We also need protection from the sun’s ageing UVA rays, especially if you want to keep your complexion dark spot-free. Embrace your inner scientist and read the ingredients label – look out for active ingredients like avobenzone (also butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane), titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and Tinosorb.
rubybox recommends: Caribbean Tan Protection in a Can SPF30 protects while enhancing your natural colour.
There’s no such thing as waterproof
If you can’t wait to put your gym card away and get outdoors instead to exercise, or if you’re brave enough to swim in Cape Town, it’s worth investing in a sunscreen that’s resistant to water and sweat. But know what it means, water resistant sunscreens will stay effective after 40 minutes in the water and then you need to reapply. If you towel off after a swim, it’s even more important to reapply.
rubybox recommends: Garnier Ambre Solaire Clear Protect SPF30 – this clear spray formula is easy to apply and it’s very water-resistant.
Hands need protection too
If you drive to work, make sure you apply sunscreen to the back of your hands as the sun’s UVA rays can penetrate through glass. Hands are often the first thing to give away age thanks to all the incidental sun exposure they receive. Don’t have a hand cream with SPF? When you’re done applying your sunscreen to your face, wipe any excess on the back of your hands.
rubybox recommends: Bioderma Photoderm Anti-Age SPF30 to fight against age spots and discolourations on your face and hands.