Why is sunscreen so important?

Sunscreen is vital even on overcast days because it protects us from harmful ultraviolet rays. These rays can lead to skin cancer, discoloration and wrinkles if we have prolonged exposure.  It is also important in Egypt, especially for holiday goers visiting the beach as the sun is strong and many people every year suffer from heat stroke and sunburn.

Factors and exposure

Healthcare professionals strongly advise people to wear at least factor 30 (adult) and factor 50 for children. The SPF on the bottle measures the amount of Ultraviolet B radiation protection the sunscreen offers.  The best sunscreens have at least a 4 star UVA rating on the bottle. So always check sunscreen before you buy it to make sure it offers as much protection as possible.  In Europe ‘UVA’ in a circle on the label of the bottle indicates that it meets EU standards.  It is also important to note that sunscreen has a shelf life of 2 – 3 years. The best protection comes from a sunscreen with high protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

2 teaspoons of sun cream are recommended for an adult to cover their head and neck. For the whole body, wearing a swimsuit, adults should apply at least 2 tablespoons of lotion.  For the best protection it is also suggested that beach goers apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out and again directly before going out in the sun. No matter the factor people should always top up sunscreen at least every 2 hours and directly after coming out of the water.  Sunscreen does not mean people can spend longer in the sun. It is still strongly advised that people don’t spend longer in the sun than they usually would without sunscreen.

Reef Safe Sunscreen

Why not consider protecting the wildlife while protecting your skin? Unfortunately many sunscreens contain chemicals that contribute to the bleach of coral on the coral reefs. This is very damaging for the ecosystem. These chemicals are called oxybenzone and octinoxate.  Check your bottle of sunscreen before by to see if it contains either of these chemicals.

Luckily now there are more options for sunscreen. So opt for a mineral based sunscreen that is equally as good at protecting your skin and is safe for the environment.  These can be bought in any pharmacy and are clearly labeled.