The ultimate guide to good sunscreen application

The ultimate guide to good sunscreen application

'Slip slop slap wrap' is a great reminder to slip on your shades, slop on your sunscreen slap on a hat and wrap up in a shirt... but the reality is that most Kiwi's love to take off their shirt, often forget their hat or sunglasses and end up relying 100% on the 'slop' of sunscreen for their sun protection.

NZ's 3 big 'burning' issues with sunscreen use... 

1. The sun in New Zealand is harsher than most places in the world 

Every year hundreds of New Zealanders die prematurely from melanoma, and thousands more are diagnosed with melanoma. Along with Australia, we have the highest rates in the world. Melanoma is a nasty form of cancer that spreads quickly and is not confined to the skin!

Most skin cancers are caused by excess exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, and UV radiation levels are high right from September to April. Remember, UVB will damage our skin and eyes even on cool days. 

2. Almost nobody applies sunscreen the way we should in order to get great sun protection

We've all been there - pop on sunscreen, enjoy sunshine, suffer. Don't worry, we'll explain how to be a sunscreen application maestro below.

3. Even with the very best sunscreen, UV rays still get through.

An  SPF30 screens out 96.7% of UVB rays, and a SPF50 offers marginally higher protection, screening 98% - so an SPF 35 like Frankie Apothecary's natural sunscreen will screen out around 97% of UVB rays... and even high SPF sunscreens need regular and correct application to be effective.

The rules for applying sunscreen effectively

Apply sunscreen before going outside - with mineral sun filters like ours, protection is a physical barrier on the skin so it provides sun protection instantly - but with any chemical based sunscreen, you need to apply it 20 minutes before going into the sun to give it time to begin working.

Reapply every two hours or after being in water or sweating.

Babies skin is very fragile, so try to keep them in the shade as much as possible.

An average adult needs about seven teaspoons of sunscreen - or a full palm of sunscreen - for one full body application. More than you thought, right? But it makes sense if you think of one teaspoon each for 2 legs, 2 arms and hands, front, back, and the last for face, ears and neck.

Make a list of 'odd spots' that you need to protect on yourself and your whanau - behind the knees, backs of the ears, back of the neck, between the shoulder blades. 

Slip a little under the edge of the clothes you are wearing - there's nothing worse than so conscientiously applying sunscreen only to end the day with a strip of red along the edge of your singlet!

Apply sunscreen to the backs of your hands before driving - and for all those door-leaners, the right arm as well!

It's really important that your children have a small sunscreen in their school bag and know how to apply it well themselves - they are outdoors for an hour a day in peak UV time, and even though schools have great hat policies now, arms and legs are bare - and make sure that school hat has a good wide brim! 

Check your sunscreen's expiration date, and don't leave it in the sun or in hot places like the car dash.


We'll leave the last word to the Cancer Council


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