How to read a sun cream label

How to read a sun cream label

29 June 2015

Brits abroad (and at home for that matter) are notorious for over doing it in the sunshine: porcelain one minute, tomato red the next!

Maybe it’s because we don’t have the opportunity to practice very often, or perhaps – as new research from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society suggests – it’s because we’re confused by sun screen labels and don’t really know what or when we should be applying.

25% of Britons surveyed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society admitted to being confused by sun cream labels – so you’re not alone if you’re a bit unsure about sun safety. Here are the key things you should know to avoid any mishaps this summer:

  • There are two types of harmful rays in sunlight: UVA and UVB. UVA will age skin and can damage your DNA. Whereas UVB rays can cause burns.
  • Sun Protection factor (SPF) shields the skin from UVB rays. If, for example, you apply an SPF 30 cream, your skin is protected for 30 times longer than it would be without any cream.
  • In terms of UVA rays, by law in the EU sun creams must have at least 1/3 of the amount of SPF in UVA protection.  So if you buy cream in Europe you can rest assured there’s plenty of UVA protection too.
  • Water resistant sun creams offer protection for 40 minutes in the water. Experts recommend reapplying sun screen as soon as you’re out if the water. It’s also worth noting no sun creams claim to be completely water proof anymore – as none of them are!

What are your tips for staying safe in the sun? Share them with us on Facebook today.



Image credit: wavebreakmedia/ Shutterstock