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Part 1: SPF & Natural Sunscreen - what you need to know

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With New Zealand having one of the highest UV exposure ratings in the world as well as shockingly high rates of skin cancer, it’s important to understand how to safely protect your(selves) and kids from the sun! ​Little Dragon has all the info you need- follow our two part series on everything sunscreen!.

​The range of sunscreen’s of various SPF ratings currently available on the market is bamboozling to say the least. Little Dragon has worked closely with Australasia's leading cosmetic scientists to develop a sunscreen that is certifiably natural, contains organic Jojoba oil and obtains an SPF 50 rating.

How does Sunscreen work & what is SPF?

The sun emits two kinds of harmful ultraviolet rays - UVA and UVB. UVA is not blocked by the ozone layer and is often generalised as the rays that cause ageing and tanning of existing skin melanin. It does not directly affect DNA however is known to release free radicals that are indirectly carcinogenic. UVB is partially blocked by the ozone layer however is more likely to cause sunburn than UVA. UVB acts to produce new melanin in the skin and is thought to be the primary cause of skin cancers as they cause direct damage to DNA.

Sunscreen acts to protect the skin from damage by providing a barrier on the skin that reflects, deflects or absorbs UVA and UVB rays.

Most people recognise sunscreens by their SPF (sun protection factor) marking. SPF is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect from UVB.

  • In general terms if your skin takes 10 minutes to burn an SPF 15 sunscreen would provide approximately 150 minutes protection (or a factor of 15 times).
  • For the best protection, it is recommended to use a minimum SPF 15 sunscreen, applying the proper amount (2mg/cm2 of skin, or about 20g for full adult body coverage, 5g for a newborn baby), and reapplying every 2 hours.
  • Most people under-apply sunscreens. Using half the required amount of sunscreen only provides the square root of the SPF. So, a half application of an SPF 30 sunscreen only provides an effective SPF of 5.5!

It is incredibly important to remember that sunscreen can’t do it all and that the most effective form of protection is to obey the old adage of Slip, Slop Slap and Wrap and to avoid the sun during peak hours wherever possible.

No Two Sunscreens are Created Equal

When we started investigating the effectiveness of sunscreens and how we might develop and sell a natural sunscreen our most worrying discovery was how loose and varied the regulations for its production and sale are around the world. New Zealand and Australia have a joint code of practice (AS/NZS 2604:2012) which governs the manufacture, testing and labelling of products. Australia classifies sunscreens as therapeutic products while in New Zealand sunscreens are largely unrestricted, however use of the standard is encouraged. Be very careful when selecting a sunscreen that it has actually been tested to verify the SPF rating, as Consumer NZ recently found a large number do not meet the specified label claims.

To be continued...

All Natural New Zealand Made Slip Slop Slap & Wrap Sunscreen

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