A Beauty Blogger’s Take on the SunSense range
Like many other people, I’ve found that daily sunscreen can be a bit of a hassle – some sunscreens take way too long to rub in and dry while other sunscreens stay sticky all day no matter what you do! Luckily SunSense has a huge range of sunscreens that are designed to suit every situation. Here’s my take on their range.
Why wear daily sunscreen?
First off, why do we even need to wear sunscreen daily? Isn’t it enough to wear sunscreen when we’re at the beach? That’s what I used to think. But a study conducted in Queensland found that daily sunscreen users had a lower incidence of skin cancer compared to people who wore sunscreen irregularly1. In particular, the rate of invasive melanomas in the daily sunscreen users was about one quarter of that in the normal group! Another study also found that daily sunscreen users were 24% less likely to show signs of aging like wrinkles2.
To balance skin cancer risk and vitamin D, medical experts recommend that we use sun protection when the UV index is higher than 3 and we’re outside for more than a few minutes3. For most of Australia that means every month except June and July – for Darwin and Brisbane this is all year round!
What should I look for in a daily sunscreen?
The most important things I look for in a sunscreen are high protection and pleasant texture. I always use sunscreens that are higher than SPF 30. I also look for sunscreens that are labelled broad spectrum, since they’re the ones that will protect against UVA. UVA is a pesky form of UV that doesn’t burn as much as UVB, but can still cause skin cancer, wrinkles and pigmentation4. It penetrates deeper into the skin, plus it gets through windows!4
The amount of sunscreen you apply is important as well – you’ve probably heard the advice that you need 1/2 teaspoon (3mL) of sunscreen on each arm, face and neck including the ears, and 1 teaspoon (6 mL) of sunscreen for each leg, and the front and back of your body.5 Applying insufficient amounts decreases the protection factor considerably6. Sweating and swimming will also wash off your sunscreen, and rubbing against sand and clothing will remove sunscreen as well. So it’s important to have a few sunscreens on hand that you can comfortably apply (and reapply) enough of, and that will stand up to the activities you’re doing that day.
My favourite SunSense sunscreens
Here are the SunSense sunscreens I use for different situations:
SunSense Anti-Ageing Face Matté SPF 50+: everyday face
SunSense Anti-Ageing Face Matté is my everyday SunSense sunscreen. I’m quite prone to hyperpigmentation (sun spots and dark post-acne marks), so high UVA protection is a non-negotiable in sunscreen. This product contains a UVA-absorbing sunscreen filter called bemotrizinol, also known as Tinosorb S. It’s famous for being one of the newer photostable filters which doesn’t break down after prolonged exposure to the sun, so it stays protective for longer7. It also contains the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) lactic acid and niacinamide, both of which help reduce the appearance of fine lines8,9. The sunscreen is tinted beige so it doesn’t leave a white cast, and it isn’t too greasy or shiny either.
It took me a while to work out how to use this sunscreen in my make-up routine, but now that I have it’s awesome. The trick for me is to apply it and wait at least 5 minutes for it to dry, and then apply my foundation on top by dabbing it on with a sponge. Sideways movements tend to make the sunscreen roll off, which means lower protection (and it messes up your make-up too).
SunSense Invisible Sensitive: face sunscreen when my skin is sensitive
SunSense Invisible Sensitive uses 20% zinc oxide as the active ingredient. Zinc oxide is an inorganic sunscreen ingredient that rarely causes allergic reactions, so it’s fantastic for sensitive skin. My skin isn’t normally too sensitive, but if I’ve been using harsh exfoliants the day before, normal sunscreens can sting a little. I use Invisible Sensitive the next morning to give my skin a break. All SunSense sunscreens (except the lip balm) also contain 3% niacinamide (vitamin B3) which is great for helping to maintain normal skin barrier function10. They’re also free of methylisothiazolinone, an irritating preservative that can trigger allergies, which is great news for sensitive skin.
SunSense Clear Gel: everyday summer body sunscreen
SunSense Clear Gel SPF 50 is the only clear sunscreen I’ve ever seen. Believe it or not, it’s completely transparent! This means it’s great when I’m in a rush and don’t want to leave the house covered in white stuff. It’s also fantastic if you’re a bit hairy, or if your skin is darker and you don’t want to look ghostly. The water resistance is a bit lower though so it’s better suited to everyday use. It contains quite a bit of alcohol which is good if you don’t like stickiness or if you’re allergic to other preservatives (the alcohol stops microbes from growing in the sunscreen). But it can dry out your skin a little, so I find it nicer in summer. There’s also SunSense Clear Mist SPF 50, a similar product in spray form which has higher water resistance which I use on sweatier days.
SunSense Sport: active body sunscreen
SunSense Sport is 4 hours water resistant, as well as sand and sweat resistant. I use this when I’m doing a lot of outdoor activities, even if I’m not being super active. The fact it stays put better than other sunscreens makes me feel a little less stressed if I’m swimming or using a towel! It feels a bit heavier than I’d like for everyday use since my skin is oily, so oily sunscreens can feel uncomfortably sticky. But for when I need higher protection, this sunscreen is perfect.
*excluding SunSense Lip Balm SPF 50+.
Green AC, Williams GM, Logan V, Strutton GM. Reduced melanoma after regular sunscreen use: randomized trial follow-up. J Clin Oncol. 2011; 29(3):257-63.
Hughes MC, Williams GM, Baker P, Green AC. Sunscreen and prevention of skin aging: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2013; 158(11):781-90.
Position statement – Sun exposure and vitamin D – risks and benefits [Internet]. Cancer Council Australia; [updated 2016 Feb 8; cited 2018 Jan8]. Available from: https://wiki.cancer.org.au/policy_mw/index.php?oldid=7018
Narayanan DL, Saladi RN and Fox JL. Review: Ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer. Int J Dermatol, 2010; 49(9): 978–986.
Schneider J. The teaspoon rule of applying sunscreen. Arch Dermatol. 2002; 138:838-839.
Petersen B and Wulf HC. Application of sunscreen – theory and reality. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2014; 30(2-3):96–101.
Herzog B, Wehrle M and Quass K, Photostability of UV Absorber Systems in Sunscreens†. J Photochem. Photobiol. 2009; 85: 869–878.
Smith WP, Epidermal and dermal effects of topical lactic acid. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1996; 35(3):388-91.
Bissett DL, Oblong JE, Berge CA. Niacinamide: A B Vitamin that Improves Aging Facial Skin Appearance. Dermatol Surg. 2005; 31 (7):860–865.
Lui AH, Greive KA. The Benefits Of Nicotinamide In Sunscreens. Scientific Poster presented at Australasian College of Dermatologists 46th Annual Scientific Meeting, May 18 – 22, 2013.
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