Sunscreen 101

With the weather starting to cool down, you may have questions on how best to protect your skin. There’s so much misinformation around about the importance of sunscreen (especially in the colder months), how sunscreen actually works, choosing the right sunscreen for you, and how much should be applied and when.

To help answer these questions, we’ve enlisted the help of Dr Scott McGregor, We Are Feel Good Inc. Co-Founder and Skin Cancer & Cosmetic Physician.


Why is sunscreen important day-to-day?

Up to 90% of skin aging and most skin cancers are caused by unprotected sun exposure. The damage is cumulative, and in Australia, can occur in as little as 10 minutes in the sun. So applying sunscreen every morning should be an essential part of your daily self care routine.


How does sunscreen protect you? 

All sunscreens work essentially the same way, in that the UV filters used absorb ultraviolet light and convert it to heat. There are broadly two types of filters: organic chemical filters, and inorganic, 'physical' or mineral filters (like Zinc Oxide). It's a common misconception that mineral sunscreens work by reflecting light rays, but in fact, Zinc Oxide works in the same way as all other filters.


How do you choose the right everyday sunscreen? 

The best sunscreen is the one that you feel good enough about using every day. Choose an SPF 50 if possible. For sporting and active days, choose a waterproof sunscreen. Otherwise, it really is a matter of personal choice.


For everyday wear, should sunscreen be applied to multiple areas of the body?

Cover all exposed areas, including face, neck and back of hands, as well as any other areas that may be exposed during the day depending on your clothing choice. Be aware that even driving in the car you need to cover these areas. Car and office windows do not block UVA light.


How should you reapply sunscreen during the day?

Sunscreens should  be reapplied after swimming or any activity that causes sweating. For a day at the office, generally I would reapply at lunch time if entering the sun, unless you have sunscreen under your makeup and the make up is still in place. Remember to reapply to the backs of your hands more regularly.