Summer is here and finally we can enjoy again all those fantastic open-air activities, that come with it, from hiking trips with your pals to beach-volley or simply lying on a tropical beach, cocktail in the hand! It’s important to remember that while you’re having fun in the sun, you should cover your body with the best sunscreen in order to keep your skin safe. SPF protects your skin from the sun’s powerful UV rays, minimizing your risk of painful sunburns, skin cancer, and premature signs of aging, such as dark spots and wrinkles. But are you really sure that you know how to choose your suncare product the best? Here are some tips to help you decode abbreviations and drawings that might appear on these products!
This gives an indication of how long sunscreen protects against UVB, a type of ultraviolet radiation that’s linked to skin cancer and is the main cause of sunburn. The SPF number doesn’t relate to the amount of protection a product provides – SPF20, 30 and 50 products all filter out similar amounts of UVB. The number relates to time – the idea is that if an SPF30 product is correctly applied, it will protect you for 30 times longer than if you wore no sunscreen. However, the time starts as soon as you step into the sun and doesn’t get reset each time you reapply the sunscreen – it’s set for the day. And, if you don’t apply enough, the product won’t be able to provide its full SPF. Oleon provides products such as Jolee 7202 and is working on a new emollient to help solubilize UV filters, which help to boost the SPF value while reducing the filters’ concentration.
This is a second type of ultraviolet radiation. Like UVB, it’s related to an increased risk of skin cancer and it’s also thought to cause premature ageing. If a sunscreen displays the UVA logo, this means that it meets the EU’s recommendation for UVA protection, to be equivalent to at least a third of the SPF.
Water resistance is tested by checking whether the sunscreen retains at least 50% of its sun protection properties following two 20-minute periods of submersion in water. It’s good to stay protected while swimming, but it’s worth keeping in mind that an effective water-resistant SPF30 product could drop to SPF15 after you’ve been in the pool or sea. Towel drying is also likely to rub off sunscreen, so it’s a good idea to reapply once you get out of the water. Our Oleon R&D team is working on application testing for water resistance in the lab, to prove which of our Isostearic esters could best help your suncare products, to adhere to the skin and protect it also in the sea.
This small symbol on the back of the bottle is not only found on sunscreens – it’s used on an array of cosmetic products to let you know how long they should be used for, after the product has been opened. Sunscreens do go off and UV filters tend to degrade with heat or light, so be careful not to use your suncare products more than 12M after opening!