Technical terms, urban myths, and misinformation can be tricky when it comes to figuring out how to get the most out of your sunscreen.
As we head into summer, the New Zealand Suncare Initiative wants to iron out some of the top stories and enlighten you with important information to help make summer safe and enjoyable for you and your family.
The New Zealand Suncare Initiative was created by Cosmetics New Zealand (the association representing New Zealand cosmetics, toiletries and perfume companies, which includes sunscreens) to motivate Kiwis to protect themselves from the sun by sharing useful and insightful information on sun protection products and sun protection behaviors. This special interest group includes international and local brands of sunscreens as well as independent experts in formulation, skin cancer prevention and regulation.
Sunscreen vs sunscreen
Those with many years of experience will remember the days when sunscreen was called sunscreen. It can still be overheard in casual conversation, but it’s definitely time to take the word “sunscreen” off. Sunscreen simply cannot block all of the sun’s rays regardless of the SPF level, and the cosmetics and therapeutic industries around the world have even banned the use of the word “sunscreen” because of it. its mistaken nature.
Dr Chris Boberg, leading skin cancer expert and co-chair of the Melanoma Network of New Zealand, said while sunscreen is certainly one of the most important things you can do to stay safe, it doesn’t. is not the only step.
“When it comes to protecting yourself from potential sun damage, sunscreen works well and that’s extremely important, but to really embrace the idea of total sun protection, start by committing to applying your sunscreen correctly. sunscreen, ”explains Boberg.
“Before going out in the sun, apply liberally to each exposed part of your body, taking your time to rub it in well and setting a reminder on your phone or watch to reapply every two hours, or after you work out. exercise or wet. Really complement your healthy habits by wearing a hat, sunglasses, protective clothing like a long-sleeved shirt, and seeking shade. “
Giving meaning to the SPF
Not sure what SPF and Broad Spectrum really mean? You’re not alone. Familiarizing yourself with the meanings of these terms will help you feel comfortable using sunscreen.
SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor,” and the number next to it is how well a sunscreen protects the skin from sunburn, while the broad spectrum on your sunscreen label refers to filtering UVA rays. (skin aging) and UVB (skin burn).
A huge myth exists that SPF tells you how long you can stay in the sun. Spoiler alert – this is simply not true. Contrary to what many people think, SPF is not an indication of how long you can stay in the sun before you burn, but rather an indication of how much radiation protection you will receive, versus how long. burning of your skin.
While the differences in the SPF numbers may seem large, there is actually very little difference in the amount of UVB they filter out. The New Zealand Cancer Society says that SPF50 filters 98 percent of UVB rays, compared to 96.7 percent filtered by SPF30 sunscreens. Properly applied SPF30 sunscreen will provide better protection than SPF 50 sunscreen applied too sparingly or not frequently enough.
Sunscreen falls into the cosmetics category
In New Zealand, the cosmetics industry encompasses all products used to cleanse, maintain, protect or beautify hair or skin that are not therapeutic or contain a medical ingredient, including sunscreens. The UK and Europe also classify sunscreens in cosmetics, where both markets have advanced sunscreen manufacturing and regulation, with protecting humans from UV rays their top priority.
The fact that there is no difference in testing methods between countries where sunscreen is classified as cosmetic, and others where it is classified as medicine (such as in Australia), means that despite the fact It may seem odd to call sunscreen a cosmetic, the local industry has strict standards to follow and a highly responsible approach to ensuring that sunscreens are safe and effective.
Safety standards are essential
New Zealand is happily embracing the safety and security offered by international standards for sunscreen formulation and testing.
ISO is the International Organization for Standardization that develops test methods alongside local groups around the world – in New Zealand it’s Standards New Zealand. A special cosmetics committee governs all cosmetic standards under ISO, ensuring that these standards meet the needs of locals, such as joint Australia / New Zealand standard 2604.
The process that brands must follow to create a sunscreen that meets the required standard is very robust, with numerous formulation cycles, laboratory and human volunteer testing, and even independent testing in external laboratories prior to confirmation and SPF labeling.
If it’s on the shelf you can trust it
The majority of the sunscreens you can choose from here are made for sale in New Zealand as well as Australia and beyond, so they meet the requirements of some of the most regulated countries in the world.
Compliance with the joint Australia / New Zealand 2604 standard for sunscreens is voluntary in this country, while it is mandatory in Australia, and work is underway by our government through the Sunscreen Safety Bill to mandate that all sun protection products sold must meet this standard.
“It is reassuring to know that all of the reputable brands on the shelves here have already met this standard, and we fully support the obligation for all sunscreen brands to comply with Australia / New Zealand Standard 2604. current, ”said Lyndal, Managing Director of Cosmetics New Zealand. O’Toole.
“Giving Kiwis complete peace of mind that any brand they choose is working as it should is so important when it comes to motivating everyone to continue using sunscreen as an essential to stay safe in the sun. “
In addition to ensuring solar safety by meeting international standards, the Fair Trading Act also prevents brands from making misleading or unsubstantiated product claims on their labeling, including SPF claims, so that every product on the shelf in this country should be supported by test evidence to give additional assurance of product performance.
In addition to making sunscreen an important part of your daily routine, the New Zealand Suncare Initiative encourages you and your family to aim for comprehensive sun protection and learn more about sunsmart.org.nz.