Sun Awareness: All you need to know about sunscreen! - Skinora
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Sun Awareness: All you need to know about sunscreen!


May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and there is no better time to shine a spotlight on the importance of sun protection. Sunscreen is one of the most important steps in your skincare routine and should be worn daily, 365 days a year. Not only will applying sunscreen offer protection against skin cancer or sunburn, it will also reduce the onset of premature fine lines and wrinkles, as well as hyperpigmentation.

Sun exposure is the main cause of skin cancer, and Melanoma is the 5th most common cancer in the UK. We have seen a rise in the number of cases over the last 10 years.

Risk factors that increase your risk of skin cancer:

  • Fair skin that burns easily, multiple freckles and light hair
  • Overexposure to sun due to your outdoor work in the past or currently (without sunscreen)
  • Overexposure to sun due to an outdoor activity such as gardening, walking and playing (without sunscreen)
  • Frequent use of sunbeds
  • Experienced sunburnt skin especially blistering sunburn
  • A personal history of skin cancer
  • History of immunosuppression i.e. organ transplant patients, immunosuppressant medication

How to avoid sunburn

If you know you will be exposed to the sun for a prolonged period of time, there are a few things you can do to not get a sunburn:

1) Try to stay in the shade and avoid sun exposure between 10 am and 2 pm as that’s when the sun is strongest

2) Wear protective clothing, especially on the parts of your body that are most vulnerable to sun damage including chest and shoulders

3) Avoid excessive tanning

4) Apply sunscreen regularly, using a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 and above

What sun protection should you use?

Sunscreen protects your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, also known as UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are what cause your skin to burn, while UVA rays are linked to premature skin ageing. UVA rays are far more damaging, penetrating to deeper layers of the skin and breaking down collagen. UVA rays can also penetrate window glass.

A sunscreen’s SPF number refers mostly to the amount of UVB protection it provides. SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays. You must select a broad spectrum sunscreen that will shield you from UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of at least 30.

Physical Sunscreens versus Chemical Sunscreens

It really comes down to personal choice and your skin type. At the end of the day, it is important to protect yourself so don’t delay using sunscreen for optimal protection.

Physical Sunscreens:
– rest on the surface of the skin
– act like a shield by reflecting UV rays
– contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide
– are better for sensitive, rosacea or acne prone skin
– are less likely to clog pores
– tend to be thicker and require more effort to rub into the skin

Chemical sunscreens:
– absorb and convert UV rays into heat energy
– have one or more of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate
– are thinner and tend to be easier to rub into the skin

How much sunscreen should I be applying to my face and neck?

We get this question a lot. Apply 1/2 a teaspoon of sunscreen to the face, neck and ears for adequate coverage. Don’t forget you will need to top up 15 minutes prior to going outside.

Ideally you should be reapplying every 2 hours but this can be tricky for some. To make life easier, invest in a mineral based SPF powder containing titanium oxide and zinc oxide. This can be easily applied over makeup and re-applied throughout the day.



Should I be wearing Sunscreen Indoors?

Yes. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen indoors. Why? UVA rays can penetrate windows and blue emitted from electronic devices can cause further damage to your skin

Our top selling sunscreens at Skinora


SkinCeuticals Advanced Brightening UV Defense SPF 50

SkinCeuticals Advanced Brightening UV Defense SPF 50 is an effective way of helping to protect the skin against UV-induced discolouration. This residue-free sunscreen uses a dual-action, lightweight formula that is enriched with potent ingredients including 1% Tranexamic Acid and 2% Niacinamide.


NeoStrata Defend Physical Protection SPF50 is a mattifying broad spectrum sunscreen that shields the skin from sun damage.  Great for sensitive skin.

Professional-C Suncare SPF30

Obagi Professional-C Suncare SPF30 is broad-spectrum sunscreen enriched with antioxidants that protects your skin from harmful UV rays and environmental damage. The pure vitamin C stimulates collagen production and tackles hyperpigmentation.

La Roche Anthelios Ultra Light Invisible Fluid SPF50

La Roche Anthelios Ultra Light Invisible Fluid  SPF50 is a high protection broad spectrum sunscreen with an ultra-resistant formula specifically developed for sensitive skin

ZO Skin Health Smart Tone Broad Spectrum SPF 50

ZO Skin Health Smart Tone Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is a highly advanced, ultra-lightweight sunscreen featuring customisable colour beads designed to blend into most skin tones.

If you are still not sure about the right sunscreen for you, please do not hesitate to complete the skin quiz, connect with a skin expert and understand what is required for your individual skin type and skin needs.

About the Author: Lucinda Appiah

Dr Lucinda Appiah studied Medicine and Haematology at Imperial College London from 2003-2009. She later went on to attain her postgraduate certification in Aesthetic Medicine at Queen Mary University in London with merit and trained with some of the top plastic surgeons and aesthetic medicine practitioners in the country. Dr Appiah also continues to practice as a GP and has extensive experience in treating a range of skin conditions. She has an empathetic approach to all skin concerns and has also had her own skin journey managing post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. She is passionate about working with brands that deliver results backed by science, empowering clients to explore new ingredients and grow their self confidence.

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Last update: May 20th, 2021

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