Slip, slop, slap and out the door? Not so fast. Before you embrace the sun, make sure you know the real deal behind the sunscreen you’re applying.


Sam Keim, Registered Nurse, Director and Founder of Skin Matters shared scientific research with haven from Ultraceuticals, one of Australia’s leading cosmeceutical brands.  You may have heard about UVA and UVB, but do you know the difference, and what exposure to each is doing to your skin?


UVA rays account for more than 95% of the UV radiation that reaches the earth’s surface – and UVA can penetrate clouds and glass. So that shaft of sunlight beaming through the window as you run the kids around in your car? It’s delivering UVA directly to your skin. And, says Sam, “glass actually magnifies the effect of UVA”. Worried about skin ageing and photodamage? It’s the UVA rays that are responsible for these common concerns, penetrating to the basal layer of the skin and potentially initiating the development of skin cancers.


And although they are less intense than UVB rays, UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more prevalent, and are present with relatively equal intensity throughout the year – so summer or winter, your skin is exposed to fairly equal amounts of UVA during daylight hours.


You might pay more attention to UVB rays – or their effects, at least. Responsible for skin reddening and sunburn, UVB rays can also lead to premature skin ageing and skin cancers. UVB rays do not penetrate glass as well as UVA, and the intensity of UVB varies by season, location and time of day.


The latest innovation in sunscreen research is the development of complete spectrum sunscreen ingredients. These ingredients absorb UV rays across the entire spectrum of UVA and UVB. Ultraceuticals SunActive SPF50+ range does just that.


Check out our FAQs for the lowdown on sunscreen before you apply:

What is photoageing?

Photoageing occurs when skin is exposed to excess UV radiation. Got hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, loss of collagen or elastin, or sallowness to your skin? That’s photoageing.


What causes skin cancer?

Skin cancer forms when the cells are damaged by penetration from UV radiation. The UV damages the cells’ DNA, which can cause cells to mutate and grow abnormally. If your body doesn’t destroy these mutant cells naturally, they can continue to develop and can turn into skin cancers.


Aren’t SPF 30 and SPF 50 pretty much the same thing? They are both high, right?

No. A sunscreen with an SPF 50 provides almost 70 per cent more UVB protection than a sunscreen with SPF 30. And, says Sam, “Products with an SPF of 50 must be registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and must have a minimum of 30% UVA protection. And contrary to belief, a higher SPF is no more irritating to the skin than a lower SPF.” Go the SPF 50!


What does the plus symbol on an SPF mean?

The ‘+’ means that the actual SPF must be higher than the number shown on the packaging. A product with an SPF 50+ rating must actually provide a sun protection rating of 60 or higher. To qualify for an SPF 30+ rating, the product’s test result must be 31 or more.


If I reapply more sunscreen, can I stay in the sun longer?

No! The mandate of reapplying sunscreen after two hours is to ensure you are adequately protected – especially if you’ve been swimming, sweating, or rubbed your skin with a towel etc. However once your burning time is reached, reapplying sunscreen will not provide any further protection from sun damage.



Did you know?

  • Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. More than 1700 Aussies die from skin cancer each year, and two out of three of us will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time we are 70.
  • More than 10,300 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year in Australia.
  • Australian adolescents have the highest incidence of malignant melanoma in the world compared with adolescents in other countries



PeppaPig_RangeProtecting Young Skin with Peppa

Does your littlie hate applying sunscreen? Don’t mess around with the wiggle, hold and smear it on technique. Check out the Cancer Council’s new range of sunscreen developed especially for kids, with TV favourite Peppa Pig!

The SPF50+ sunscreen comes in a range of products, from a spray to a roll-on, and even a variation with an Ezi Clip – perfect for attaching to your beach bag, swimming kit or handbag. Specially formulated for kids, the Cancer Council Kids Peppa Pig SPF 50+ sunscreen range is dermatologically tested and developed for delicate skin.


“We are very excited by the Peppa Pig range, and see it as a way to encourage more pre-school and primary school-aged children to use sunscreen to protect their skin,” says Neil Henney, Cancer Council Australia’s National Licensing Manager.


Available exclusively from Coles, check out www.skinhealth.com.au for more.

Courtney Robinson

Courtney Robinson  

Courtney Robinson is a Gold Coast mum, passionate foodie, whole foods recipe creator and personal trainer certified in holistic digestive health and nutrition. Follow @athletist_ or visit athletist.com.au for recipes, workout tips and training hacks.