Your 2024 Sun Awareness Guide ☀️

Your 2024 Sun Awareness Guide ☀️

Your 2024 Sun Awareness Guide ☀️

Sun Awareness Week highlights the importance of protecting our skin from harmful UV rays. Organised by various health organisations, this annual event aims to educate us about the risks of sunburn, premature ageing and potential long-term damage whilst encouraging sun-safe behaviours which can significantly reduce these risks and promote healthier skin. 

Applying broad-spectrum SPF should be part of your daily routine, 365 days a year. Ultrasun’s award-winning products deliver long-lasting, high-level, water-resistant, and broad-spectrum protection with clinically proven skincare actives. Lamellar gel structures which have a high affinity to the skin’s natural structure encapsulate these UV filters and actives which allows them to bind and work in perfect synergy with the skin system throughout the day. Free from perfumes, and emulsifiers and with a wide range of targeted formulations, there’s an SPF to suit every skin type, including those with sensitive or allergy-prone skin.

Here we answer some of the most common SPF questions to ensure you are prepared and protected along with sun savvy advice and aftercare to keep you and your family safe in the sun.

How do I choose the correct SPF for my skin type?

All skin types need UV protection. It’s crucial to know your skin and how long it can tolerate the sun before burning.  You should also consider the climate in which your skin will be exposed and adjust accordingly, increasing protection when in hotter climates whilst your skin adjusts or when you’re first exposed to sunlight.  Under the influence of UV rays, skin begins to thicken and produce melanin, this process can take 10 – 20 days so use extra protection whilst your skin adjusts.  Choose and adjust your SPF protection to suit your skin tone, your location and environment.

What does SPF mean?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. This is a measure of the amount of UVB protection. SPFs are rated on a scale between 2 to 50+ based on the level of protection they offer with 50+ offering the strongest form of UVB protection. Everyone’s skin has a natural tolerance to the sun and the SPF is an indicator of how long you can stay in the sun. We recommend daily application of at least SPF30.

What does the term Broad Spectrum mean?

Broad Spectrum means the product provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays penetrate the surface of the skin and can cause burning, but UVA rays have a long-term impact below the skins surface where they disrupt collagen and elastin production and increase the risk of long-term damage. An easy way to remember is UVA =ageing and UVB = burning.  To get full protection it is important to look for sun protection which is labelled as Broad Spectrum.

How do I find the level of UVA filter?

There are many ways to measure UVA filter levels including the star rating which is a UK-only initiative as well as PPD and PA+ systems.  Ultrasun clearly state UVA absorbance on all packaging with an easy-to-understand percentage. Ultrasun delivers a long-lasting UVA filter that protects at over 85% throughout the day, setting industry-leading standards.

How should I apply Ultrasun for best protection?

Preparation before sun exposure is essential. Apply Ultrasun to clean, dry skin, ideally before dressing and at least 15- 30 minutes before exposure to the sun and before other skincare and make-up. Lamellar technology means the formulas are sweat proof, water resistant and tested to last up to 8 hours.  However, if you are in extreme climates, reapply as necessary.

Can I apply SPF when I’m in the sun?

If applied in direct sunlight, up to 60% of your sunscreen can evaporate from the skin’s surface before it has a chance to bond and therefore becomes less effective. Remember that you’re more likely to miss bits if you are rushed for time. Look out for easy to miss areas such as around shoulder straps. Get a good coverage let it sink in and reapply as necessary. Always refer to the packaging before applying for detailed instructions. 

Do I need to apply SPF to all exposed areas?

The most common sites for malignant melanoma for men are on the chest or back and for women it’s more likely on the legs, between the knee and feet. Your ankles or shins are one of the spots that tend to get the most exposure. One of the biggest risks is regular low-intensity exposure, even more than a one-off burn which is why it’s so important to ensure you are protected prior to sun exposure every single day.  Other areas that are often missed include ears, neck, eyes and lips. Find our targeted SPF formulas here.

Are water-resistant formulas completely waterproof?

Water resistant formulas are tailored for prolonged water emersion but that doesn’t mean waterproof, no sun protection formula is completely waterproof. All Ultrasun formulas are water resistant, and tested to ensure up to 40 minutes of protection underwater. Water resistant formulas are a great option not just for when you are swimming but also if you are active playing sports or perspiring.

If you apply an SPF20 with SPF 30 - does that equal SPF 50?

No, the SPF factor numbers do not add up. Instead, you will be protected by the higher of the two, in this case, SPF 30. 

What should I look for with sensitive or vulnerable skin?

All Ultrasun formulations are free from perfumes, oils and emulsifiers which makes them the perfect choice for those with sensitive skin. For those with fair skin, red hair, moles or previous skin damage, we recommend our Extreme SPF50+ and for those prone to sun allergies or prickly heat choose Family SPF30 which is hypo-allergenic and recommended by dermatologists.

What aftercare should I do after sun exposure? 

Skin needs to replenish & repair. 

Our Aftersun Gel instantly cools overheated skin, hydrating Aquarich increases moisturisation for up to 24 hours whilst it calms and soothes to prevent peeling and signs of premature ageing. Superoxide Dismutase stimulates the skin's biological repair system and reduces free radical activity by 58%.

If you experience sunburn or symptoms of damage which may range from overheating and tightness through to red, painful burns, it’s vital to keep out of direct sun, to ensure you cover up and that you treat the area quickly.

Does SPF have a shelf life?

Yes, it’s important to check the shelf life of SPF products. The majority of Ultrasun products have a 2year shelf lifejust look for the PAO symbol which can be found on all packaging for specific guidance. 

What other steps can I take to stay safe in the sun?

Take regular shade breaks - It’s important that you take regular shade breaks and avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm when UV rays are at their strongest.

Hydration - stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.  Your skin will lose more moisture through Trans epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) when hot, so it’s vital to keep your hydration levels topped up.

Cover Up - wear loose-fitting clothing that covers your skin, a wide brimmed hat and UV protection sunglasses.

Be prepared - an unexpectedly sunny day in the UK can be unpredictable, appear without warning and can be very intense.  This exposure can have an impact on the condition of the skin and cause incremental damage.  Apply your SPF to all exposed areas, even on cloudy days.

Top-up  - Carry a top-up to ensure you’re never caught out.  Our UV Face & Scalp SPF50 Mist is an invisible on-the-go SPF that delivers high-level protection with a UVA filter of 95% making application easy and hygienic. This revolution in sun care can be applied over make-up and is perfect to ensure you don’t miss vulnerable areas such as the ears, back of your neck as well as hairline and partings that are prone to burning.