The fact sunbeds are a health hazard is a well-known fact. But for one Californian man this week, a fire hazard too! After only a few minutes tanning one of the bulbs burst into flames leaving the South Carolina strip mall where the incident took place in disarray.
Our advice? Give UV beds a miss altogether and look after your skin for benefits in years to come.
Read on to discover all you need to know about the new-age sunscreens.
My skin tans very easily, so do I still need to use a sunscreen with a high SPF?
Yes. Tanning without burning can still cause damage to your DNA and skin, including skin cancer, and contribute to premature ageing.
Is an expensive sunscreen better than a cheap one?
Not necessarily. However, pure mineral ingredients cost more to produce, so sunscreens containing large quantities of newer, more expensive ingredients, such as clear or micronised zinc, tend to cost more. Many lower-priced sunscreens contain chemical absorbers. Any SPF 30+ sunscreen will do the same job of protecting the skin from the sun, but a more expensive one might have added skin-enhancing ingredients or fragrance.
Does wearing lipstick protect the lips from the sun?
An ordinary opaque lipstick usually contains titanium dioxide, and is likely to provide an SPF of about 10. However, to ensure you get the best possible protection for your lips, a common site for skin cancers, use a lipstick or lip balm with an SPF 30+.
Are organic sunscreens free of chemicals like organic fruit and vegetables?
No. When used to describe sunscreen, the term organic refers to chemical ingredients that absorb UV energy. Inorganic sunscreens, made from the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, reflect UV rays away from the skin.
Are sunscreens ineffective if they are not used within a certain time?
Most sunscreens last about three years, so never use an old tube that may have been lying around in the bathroom cupboard for longer than this. Sunscreens now carry a use-by date, so there's no chance of making a mistake.
What’s the best sunscreen to use for very sensitive skin?
Choose mineral-only formulas, created for sensitive skins, with no alcohol or fragrances.
Does using a self-tanning product help protect my skin from the sun?
No. The Cancer Council Australia is concerned about the misconception that using a fake tanner makes skin less susceptible to burning. This is only the case if it also contains a sunscreen the SPF will then be displayed on the packaging. Also, the sun protection in a self-tanner is short-term, as with any sunscreen, and doesn’t last the life of the tan.
I don't lie in the sun, so do I still need to use a sunscreen?
Australian women are particularly prone to sun damage and premature ageing, so it's important to include a sunscreen as part of your daily skin-care routine even if you are not going to be outdoors for any length of time. If you’re wearing make-up, apply sunscreen to clean, dry skin, then apply make-up.
Is a foundation or moisturiser with an SPF okay to use on the face in place of a sunscreen?
Most make-ups and moisturisers with an SPF are adequate protection for days when you are spending most of the time indoors and receiving minimal sun exposure. However, if you are going to be spending prolonged time outdoors, playing sports or going to the beach, an SPF 30+ sunscreen should be used, and reapplied at regular intervals.
Summer's burning facts
- On average, 5.7 million Australians are sunburnt each summer.
- In our harsh climate sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes.
- Most people are burnt in temperatures of 18 to 27 degrees.
- The face and head are the most frequently burnt areas.