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Your Sun Awareness Week guide

Your Sun Awareness Week guide

Your Sun Awareness Week guide

This year’s Sun Awareness week runs from 1st to 7th May 2023 to highlight the importance of sun protection. Here at Ultrasun we’re dedicated to keeping you and your family safe in the sun with formulations to suit every skin type including the most sensitive and vulnerable.

With this awareness in mind, we’ve created a guide to explain common SPF terminology, helping you decipher what they mean to help you make informed choices to keep you and your family safe in the sun.

When choosing the correct sun 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.

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. 

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 you 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.

 Which SPF is right for me?

The SPF protection your skin requires varies according to the climate and the amount of time spent in the sun.  An unexpected sunny day in the UK can have an impact on the condition of the skin and cause incremental damage.  Under the influence of UV rays, the skin begins to thicken and starts to 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 Non-comedogenic mean?

Simply put, non-comedogenic means it won’t block your pores. Many sun sensitivities and allergies are caused when ingredients block the skin pores which can also lead to breakouts.  Ultrasun formulas are all non-comedogenic and free from mineral oils and silicones which can contribute to congestion and blocked pores.

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, 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.

What does photostable mean?

A product is photostable if its chemical structure is not altered or broken down by exposure to light and energy from UV rays.  All Ultrasun products are photostable and will give you long lasting protection with just one application.

If you apply extra layers of SPF 30 - does that equal SPF 50?

When it comes to SPF layering, it’s not cumulative. Applying two different levels of SPF does not increase the level of protection. If you mix your SPF levels, you will only be protected to the higher of the two.

What should I look for with sensitive skin?

Ideally a sunscreen should be fragrance free, hypoallergenic, and free of preservatives to ensure it won’t dry your skin.  Our Family SPF30 is Hypo-allergenic, and free from oils, emulsifiers, and perfume. It can be used on the face and body and suitable for the whole family including children and those with vulnerable and sensitive skin.


How can you tell if your sun cream formula is reef/ocean safe?

We are proud to be the first sun care brand worldwide to be awarded the BASF EcoSun Pass, recognising our focus on formulas that not only protect at the highest level from UVA and UVB rays, but do so with the very best ingredients for our skin and for the environment. Whilst we have always made reef friendly formulas, it was important for us to dig deeper into what is actually required to be marine and ocean safe, and to pass and surpass the 8 specific tests required to receive full EcoSun pass status. Just as we do in our product development and the innovations we bring to the customer in SPF options, we strive to ensure our formulas deliver on the detailed criteria of 360º reef protection

How much should I apply?

Ensure you apply a generous, even layer covering all exposed area’s and always onto cool, clean, dry skin ideally indoors 15-30 minutes before you go into 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 and 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 to occur 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. As soon as the weather turns a little warmer, how often do you put suncream on them? One of the biggest risks is regular low-intensity exposure, even more than a one-off burn. It’s so important to ensure you are protected prior to sun exposure.  Lips as an area are often forgotten and with no shade the upper lip area in particular is more prone to showing the signs of sun damage.