Here, Down Under, the melanoma capital of the world, we’re all aware of the harm the sun can do to our skin.

First there’s those UVB rays, the sun’s burning rays that are strongest during the middle of the day in summer.

Then there are the UVA rays, the sun’s tanning and aging rays. Responsible for tanning, but also premature aging (and also skin cancer), UVA is constant throughout the year and from sunrise to sunset. Unlike UVB, UVA rays can also penetrate glass and water

Which sunscreen?

When it comes to sunscreen, you have two choices. 1) physical sunscreen ingredients 2) chemical or ingredients. Chemical or organic sunscreen ingredients work by absorbing UV rays. Physical sunscreens work by reflecting or scattering UV rays.

There is some concern that many of the common chemical UVB sunscreens can act as endocrine disruptors[1] (interfere with your hormones) and potentially lead to cancer. So we would suggest avoid using any sunscreen with the following ingredients: Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octylmethoxycinnamate. Physical sunscreens like Zinc Oxide and titanium dioxide don’t have the same health concerns- with a couple of caveats. Titanium Dioxide can trigger skin allergy. And we still don’t know how safe zinc oxide or titanium dioxide nanoparticles (less than 100 nanomicrons in diameter) are. So far, it looks like there’s minimal absorption of these particles through the skin, but to be on the safe side we suggest avoiding nano-particles.


What level of protection should I look for?

When we see “SPF” on a product, that means “sun-protection factor” and it describes the multiple of time you can spend in the sun before you get sunburn. Ie. If a product is labelled SPF15, it means wearing that sunscreen you can spend 15 times longer in the sun before burning than if you had non sunscreen on. SPF only describes UVB protection. If your sunscreen also protects against UVA rays, it will be labelled “broadspectrum”. UVA protection is at least 1/3rd of the labelled SPF number in a broadspectrum sunscreen.

A broadspectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 is absolutely fine for everyday protection. If you are spending extended amounts of time in the sun (summer days on the beach or playing outdoor sport) look for a broadspectrum sunscreen with at least SPF30 protection.


About ESK Zinc Shade

As part of the ESK range of skincare products, Zinc Shade is based on Evidence of effectiveness, Avoiding Harm and Easy daily use

Zinc Shade has been rated at SPF23 (labelled SPF 15) and has boosted UVA protection (equivalent to the UVA protection from an SPF30 Broadspectrum product). The primary UVB blocker is zinc-oxide (non nano) and has none of the sunscreen ingredients which are potentially harmful.

Just as importantly, it has been formulated to neither ghost, nor leave a greasy residue, so you can enjoy using it, in the knowledge that it is effective, won’t do you harm and provides your year-round daily UV protection.

[1] Schlumpf M et al. 2001

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