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The Importance of Sunscreen

Who doesn’t like being out in the sunshine? Feeling the warm rays beam down on you while your outside… and did you know, getting some sun every day is actually quite good for you?

Sunlight is essential for human health and well-being. The health benefits of sunlight include generating the production of vitamin D, supporting bone health, lowering blood pressure, preventing disease, and promoting good mental health! Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called 'Serotonin', which is associated with boosting mood, and helping a person feel calm and focused. 

However, the sun’s ultraviolet light can also be very detrimental.

We all know that too much sun exposure can cause sunburn. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays penetrate the outer skin layers and passes into the deeper layers, where they can damage or kill skin cells. Over time, sun burn causes a reduction in skin elasticity, causing a person to age prematurely.

Frequent and prolonged exposure to UV rays over many years is the main cause of skin cancer; in fact, Kiwi’s have the highest melanoma rate in the world! Early detection and treatment are key in increasing the cure rate for skin cancer, so examine your skin regularly for development of suspicious growths or changes in an existing skin lesion.

Within the skin's epidermal (outer) layer are cells that contain the pigment ‘melanin’, which protects your skin from the sun’s UV rays. People who do not have much melanin burn easily and should protect themselves by covering up sensitive areas and limiting their total exposure time, especially between the hours of 10 am and 2pm – when the sun is at its strongest.

But one of the best things you can do to protect yourself is to wear sunscreen!

Sunscreen protects the skin from sunburn and minimises suntan by absorbing or reflecting UV rays. When used correctly, sunscreen is proven to:

  • Decrease your risk of skin cancers and skin pre-cancers; regular daily use of SPF sunscreen can lower your melanoma risk by 50%!
  • Help prevent premature skin aging caused by the sun, including wrinkles, sagging and age spots.

Selecting a good sunscreen is paramount for skin protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation believes that “the best sunscreen is the one you are most likely to use, so long as it provides safe and effective protection, and is broad-spectrum with an SPF 15 or higher”.

Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects your skin from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB, and cause wrinkles, sagging and other signs of aging. UVB rays damage the skin’s upper surface and are the main cause of sunburn. Both cause skin cancer.

SPF stands for ‘Sun Protection Factor’; it’s a measure of how long a person can stay in the sun before the UVB rays start to burn the skin. So, let’s say with no sunscreen, your skin starts to redden in 20 minutes… an SPF 30 sunscreen will theoretically allow you to stay in the sun x30 longer without getting burned. If you’re inside most of the day with just short intervals in the sun, you can use a sunscreen or cosmetic product with an SPF of 15 or higher; however, if you spend a lot of time outdoors, especially when and where the sun is strongest, you need an SPF 30 or higher. Remember that no matter the SPF number, reapplication every 2 hours is key!

The great news is that we have a number of treatments that can help if your skin is showing the effects of too much sun! We can help with those wrinkles, sagging skin and pigmentation caused by UV rays. We also stock cosmetic products with SPF, as well as SPF 50+ sunscreen!

So be safe this summer and wear sunscreen!


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