By Kelvin Tan, Editor for Men’s Health Singapore
So most folks don’t like using sunscreen- it’s icky, smells weird, and leaves your skin feeling slimy. But we do it because the alternative of getting sunburnt; or for some of the ladies, to stay fair.
But what if enduring all that is proving useless because most of us aren’t even using sunscreen right?
According to studies, SPF ratings on sunscreen bottles are based on expectations that you apply the product at a thickness of 2 milligrams per centimetre square. Basically, a fairly think slather. But how many times have you seen that thick slather being all that’s squirted, and then rubbed across backs, shoulders and arms?
So what’s the solution? According to this report in the Guardian, you should then increase your protection by wearing a higher SPF to compensate. “Given that most people don’t use sunscreens as tested by manufacturers, it’s better for people to use a much higher SPF than they think is necessary,” said study leader Antony Young, professor of experimental photobiology at King’s College London.
“People are typically getting much less protection than they think,” adds Young. “For example, if you get SPF20 and use at a lower thickness of 0.75 milligrams per centimetre squared, your level of protection could be as low as SPF4.”
“There is no dispute that sunscreen provides important protection against the cancer-causing impact of the sun’s ultraviolet rays,” said Young. “However, what this research shows is that the way sunscreen is applied plays an important role in determining how effective it is.”
Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists adds: “This research demonstrates why it’s so important to choose an SPF of 30 or more. In theory, an SPF of 15 should be sufficient, but we know that in real-world situations, we need the additional protection offered by a higher SPF.
“An extra consideration is that when we apply sunscreen we are prone to missing patches of skin, as well as applying it too thinly.”