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Choosing a sunscreen isn't as simple as it used to be. For most people, trying to compare one sunscreen to another can be complicated. While choosing the best sunscreen is important, perhaps even more crucial is using it correctly. Before you go on that trip to the coast, here are some tips on how to select the best sunscreen for your skin.

       1. “Broad Spectrum” sunscreen

Select a sunscreen lotion that is labeled ‘broad spectrum’ as it protects from both UVA (which causes ageing and wrinkling of the skin) and UVB (which causes sun burn). Most sunscreen lotions only protect against UVB.

  1. Water-proof sunscreen

Ensure your sunscreen lotion is water-proof if you intend to spend a lot of time in the water. This ensures that you skin is still protected even when swimming and protects your skin for up to 80 minutes after water exposure.

  1. Sun Protection factor (SPF)

The SPF factor indicated on a sunscreen lotion bottle indicates the amount of time the product is capable of protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Most skin care products now come with an SPF level of 2. However, it you are going to be exposed to the sun for more than 20minutes at any one time, it is advised to wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15. SPF 30 is recommended for much longer sun exposure. It is important to note that doubling your SPF doesn’t necessarily double your protection from UV rays, with SPF 2 absorbing up to 50% of the sun’s UV, SPF 15 up to 93% and SPF 30 up to 97%

  1. Sun block vs. sunscreen

Whilst both protect from the damaging effects of the sun it is important to note that a sunscreen, has more chemical components that protect you from the sun by absorbing the sun’s harmful rays. They are therefore very light wearing and almost colourless. Sun block lotion on the other hand physically blocks your skin from ultra violet radiation by reflecting UV away from your skin. Though they may not be cosmetically acceptable to most as they are often visible and difficult to wash off, they – more often than not – tend to provide broad spectrum protection.

  1. Sunscreen application

When applying a sunscreen or sun block lotion, take extra caution of the thin-skinned areas of your body such as your nose, ears and back of hands. They also tend to be the areas with prolonged direct exposure to the sun.

Couture Africa - SELECTING THE PERFECT SUNSCREEN