Sunscreen. It’s been around for ages, but how much do you really know about it and what it can do for you?

Straight up, remember that sunscreen should always be used alongside protective clothing, a hat, sunnies and shade. No sunscreen will block 100% of UV rays. The hint is in the name, it’s sunscreen not sunblock. Don’t get me wrong though, when used properly, it’s useful stuff.

Here we work through some commons sunscreen questions and complaints.

How does sunscreen work?

Sunscreen works in a couple of different ways, depending on the ingredients. Some sunscreens absorb UV radiation before it reaches your skin, while others scatter it. Some sunscreens can do both.

How much should I use?

This depends on how much of your skin is already covered by protective clothing. As a rule of thumb, to cover an average sized adult wearing shorts, for example, you would need 7 teaspoons. That’s one for the face and neck, one for your front, one for your back, and one for each limb. If you’re already covered by clothing, don’t forget your face, ears, neck and hands. Reapplication is the key. Reapply every two hours, or more often if you’re sweating.

But it’s greasy!

Sunscreen has come a long way since the early days. There are a huge number of options on the market, all with slightly different formulations. There are now ‘dry touch’ sunscreens, which as the name suggests, avoids the greasy feeling you can get with some sunscreens. It also avoids slippery hands when gripping objects such as tools, which makes it handy for work!  Try some different varieties until you find one that suits you. And remember, expensive doesn’t equal better in terms of performance. All sunscreens sold in Australia have undergone extensive testing and will provide suitable protection when used as intended, the rest then comes down to personal preference.

Sunscreen is just one of the sun protection tools at your disposal. And while it serves a very important purpose, remember that it is not a suit of armour so Slip Slop Slap Seek & Slide!