Everything you need to know about sunscreen

Trying to decipher sunscreen labels, what they all mean and how you should be applying this summer necessity can be a minefield. Up your awareness by familiarising yourself with our guide to staying safe in the sun.

Shady days
It’s hard not to automatically associate sunburn with heat but it’s the sun’s ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburn, premature ageing and skin damage, not the warmth from the sun. Which explains why it’s just as crucial to cover up on overcast days. Unlike infrared radiation – the heat we feel from the sun – ultraviolet radiation ( UVA and UVB rays) cannot be felt on the skin. Dermatologists explain sunburn as a toxic reaction to exposure to UV radiation – the heat we feel coming from sunburn is generally attributed to an increase in blood flow to the site.

Know As from Bs
Ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays might damage skin in different ways, but it’s important to protect skin from both. Linda Sharrem, Caci skincare expert explains that UVA rays are often thought of as “ageing” rays. “UVA rays penetrate deep through the epidermis into the lower layers of the skin, and cause damage like premature ageing, lines, wrinkles and loss of elasticity,” Sharrem explains. UVB rays are the ones that cause sunburn and cause a greater risk of skin cancer, though recent studies have shown that UVA rays increases the damaging effect UVB has on skin. Always buy broad-spectrum sunscreen which will shield skin from both UVA and UVB.

Make a date
We shouldn’t let our skin sizzle over summer, nor should we leave our sunscreens to smoulder in the sun. Always store sunscreen somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight as exposure to heat can reduce the effectiveness of formulations. “Most sunscreens are lying around in the sun while we’re at the beach,” says Shareem, which is why she recommends checking the packaging for expiry dates and replacing sunscreen yearly to ensure full protection.“

Getting physical
Sunscreen formulations fall into two camps: physical and chemical. Physical formulations contain active mineral ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium oxide, sit on top of the skin and work by reflecting both UVA and UVB rays. Chemical formulations, on the other hand, are more common and work by penetrating the skin and absorbing harmful rays. As for which formulation is better, a lot of it comes down to personal choice. Mineral formulations work quicker but because they sit on the skin, they need to be reapplied more frequently especially if perspiring or swimming.

Every face tells a story: Carly Flynn

What doesn’t Carly Flynn do?  A loving mum of two (soon to be three), wife, journalist, lifestyle blogger, yoga instructor and host of her own radio show, Saturday Fresh on Radio Live, Carly somehow juggles it all. Dermalogica caught up with her in her beautiful home mid-renovation to hear her thoughts on how to take time out, worry less and her skincare tips, before she put Dermalogica’s genius Face Mapping to the test.

What is Face Mapping?

Not only does every face tell a story – every face has unique skincare needs. Dermalogica’s Face Mapping service takes a bespoke approach to your skin by analysing your skin’s past and present. A Dermalogica skin therapist divides the facial landscape into fourteen zones, and accesses each zone thoroughly for skincare concerns including congestion, breakouts, dehydration and pigmentation. Based on your individual results, your skincare therapist is able to create a customised skincare regimen that will target your skin needs and concerns.

Carly’s Bespoke Prescription

Carly’s Face Dermalogica Face Mapping Skin analysis revealed that her skin was dehydrated and could benefit from protection from pigmentation. I’m not surprised, given “I’m eight months pregnant and both dehydration and pigmentation occur during pregnancy,” says Flynn. “I’m excited that Dermalogica can help, but it’s also a great reminder to keep upping my water levels and try and remember to look after myself not just the kids! I’m confident that with these products and a little more self-care my skin will improve!


Clockwise from top left: 1. Ultra-calming mist2. UltraCalming Cleanser 3. Sheer Tint SPF20 4. Power Rich 5. Phyto Replenish Oil 6. PreCleanse Cleansing Oil.

Find out more about Dermalogica’s Every Face Tells a Story campaign here and follow Dermalogica on Facebook and Instagram @dermalogicanz