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Summer Safe or Summer Sizzle

Although the tides are turning, some still think a tan makes them look and feel healthier. The reality is the safest healthiest way to obtain a bronzed body is of course, to fake it instead of baking it!

The truth is, many of us don’t understand how to use our sun protection properly, it can be extremely confusing to choose between all the brands available. I will share some advice a cosmetic chemist gave me. He really knew what he was talking about, as he has formulated many of the brands you see on the chemist, supermarket and beauty salons shelves.

He told me you pay for what you get! although all SPF products meet with Australian TGA standards, the more expensive brands use much finer grades of ingredients. This means they feel more comfortable on the skin. Some you don’t even realise you are wearing and can even be used as a primer for your makeup! These professional skin care brands are found in Beauty Salons, some of my favourites are Ó Cosmedics, Mayerling and Ultraderm.

This is important, because if it feels good on the skin you will wear it. Sun blocs are the best anti-aging products available, and they have been scientifically proven to be so, this isn’t the case with most so-called anti- aging skin care products.

There are two types of Sunblock’s on the market. A physical block containing skin friendly Zinc oxide providing a physical barrier, best for skins that are sensitive although they can be thicker to use. Or a Chemical sunscreen that adheres to the surface of the skin, these are usually the products that are water proof and are excellent if you sweat a lot or are swimming.
So how does a sun block work? Why do I still burn when I wear one?

The key is knowing your skin. How long does it take you to start to naturally burn? I am very fair, so if I am in the summer mid-day sun, I can feel my skin burning in 2 minutes! How long does it take you to feel your skin burning? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? This first rate of burning or redness is technically called a MED (Minimal Erythema Dosage) which mean the smallest amount time it takes to feel and see redness in the skin.

So, once you know your MED all you do is multiple that time by the SPF you are using, it’s that easy!
Example: 2 minutes x 30 SPF = 60
So instead of burning in 2 minutes, when I apply SPF 30, I start to burn in 60 Minutes!
Example: 10 minutes x 50 SPF = 100

If you burn in 10 minutes and apply a SPF 50, you will have 100 minutes of sun protection.
Once you have received your first MED you must remember have received your first rate of burning. Re apply so that the second rate of burning also takes a longer time, but please remember an SPF just buys you more time in the sun before you start to burn. SPF 30+ AND SPF 50+ aren’t total sun blocks.

Stay safe from the summer sizzle by wearing protective clothing, staying out of the mid-day sun and using the type of sun protection that suits your skin and lifestyle, apply your sun protection 20 minutes prior to going out in the sun and don’t forget a fake tan only takes 10 minutes.

By MD skin guru- Catriona

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