Summer is not the only season to think sunscreen

sun damage on a male patient - blog image

Summer is not the only season to think sunscreen

Patients often ask why the right side of their face has more wrinkles, different shaped eyebrow, more jowls and looks different to the left side? Answer: Sun damage when driving. Here are some interesting facts:

Fact 1) the seasons when this sun damage occurs the most are actually autumn, winter and spring, because:

Fact 2) the sun is at a lower angle and strikes directly at the side of the face through the car window, and tinted windows offer little to no protection.

Fact 3) we don’t think about using sunscreen at these times, only summer

Fact 4) on most summer days in the car the face is protected by the car roof. Except of course if you drive north in the morning and south coming home.

Fact 5) the sunscreen in your foundation at the end of the day will not protect you.  

Fact 6) the SPF scale is what is known as a ‘negative log scale’

Fact 7) which means two things:

  1. if you apply half the amount of sunscreen needed, you are effectively only applying the equivalent of an SPF 6 (boring ‘square root’ mathematics, but it’s true)
  2. there’s only about 2% extra protection between SPF35 and SPF50, which tend to be more expensive

Fact 8) many sunscreens aren’t as high SPF as stated. So you need more than you think, more often.

Major tip, especially if you have fair skin: Cancer Council 35+SPF roll on. Compact, give it a squeeze and just roll it over the makeup going home or any other times you can without ruining the makeup before driving. Make it an uncontrollable compulsion like putting the seatbelt on.

It’s never too late to make changes to how often and when you use sunscreen, although the earlier you start, the better. And don’t forget the backs of the hands. Finally, have your doctor check your skin regularly, not just your face by a cosmetic physician.

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