Natural sunscreen is amazing stuff. OK granted, I am biased but between being better for humans and the environment around us, any arguments not to use it are getting few and far between.
However, there are a few tips you should keep in mind to make sure you get the appropriate protection when out in the sun. Whether using SETT or other, these tips will help keep you protected and enjoying your time in the sun.
Obviously, it goes without saying that following our sun protection guide like staying in the shade or wearing suitable protective clothing should be your first choice, but for when that isn't practical, natural sunscreen is the best bet.
Here is 6 tips to get the most from natural sunscreen lotions.
1) Shake and knead it well before use
Natural sunscreen typically contains zinc or titanium dioxide particles that make up about 20% of the formula depending on the SPF level. These particles are heavier, and can have a tendency to attract to each other over time. Similarly other emollients in the formula can separate meaning that formula's ingredients are no longer evenly spread out and could lead to a lower (or higher) level of coverage than expected when applied.
The quick and easy solution is to make sure to give your sunscreen tube a good shake, and knead to mix up all the ingredients and ensure a consistent application when you squeeze it out. This specifically applies to a zinc lotion - don't worry about solid formulas like the face stick.
Shake it like a polaroid picture
2) Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure
Although zinc sunscreen like SETT's can work quicker than a chemical sunscreen as they create a physical barrier, it is still a good idea to apply before sun exposure, particularly if you plan on getting wet. Sunscreen needs a chance to bind to your skin, especially to ensure water resistance.
Apply the sunscreen before you go out into the sun or the water, and give it a few minutes to settle. So plan ahead and apply before heading out, or be patient and wait an extra few minutes before hitting the water.
The two P's - be Prepared, or Patient
3) Do not apply to wet or sweaty skin
Wet or sweaty skin is not sunscreen's friend. If you have tried to apply sunscreen to wet skin, you would know the feeling of sloshing the sunscreen around and it not staying in place or spreading evenly...it simply won't spread around properly and you wont be protected properly.
Make sure your skin is dry, and not sweating, to ensure the sunscreen can sit on the skin as intended without being removed by moisture (sweat) lifting it off of you. Sweat is actually worse than water, as the oils in your skin and sweat can play a part in removing sunscreen, so keep this in mind on those hot sweaty days, and make sure you're reapply appropriately too.
Towels can be sunscreens best friend...especially at the beach
4) It should still be visible once applied
As per SETT's natural sunscreen guide, natural sunscreens sit on top of the skin and do not sink into the skin like a chemical sunscreen. What this means is that it creates a physical barrier on top of the skin, and therefore should still be visible once applied. If it is not visible, you know that you need to apply more or reapply once again. Dont try to continuously rub it in until it disappears too; you should rub it in just a few times, and then leave a visible layer sit for a while to bind to the skin.
Just like Spicoli's fluro zinc in the 80s
5) Store it below 30 degrees celcius
Like many skincare products, sunscreen has the ability to degrade over time. Fluctuations or extremes in temperatures can speed up this process, so to make sure that your sunscreen lasts as long as possible (within the expiry date) try to keep it stored between 15 and 30 degrees celsius and avoid extremes. An example to avoid would be leaving it in a hot car in the sun during the day, and then placing it in the fridge overnight...just keep it somewhere easy to access, where you wont forget it, and where it wont get hot.
Of course, SETT's sunscreen has been through thorough preservative testing and passed with flying colours, but try to avoid imitating these tests if possible.
Preferably placed where nosey guests will see it if they snoop around your cupboards
6) Apply plenty, and reapply often
Different sunscreens have different levels and durations of effectiveness, but for SETT for example, it should be reapplied every two hours, or more often when sweating, and after swimming and towelling.
The reasons for this are straightforward. When you sweat, as the pores release the sweat sunscreen will be lifted off of the skin, and similarly when you are swimming (surfing!) or drying off with a towel, the sunscreen will be removed from your body also.
Luckily for you, SETT's zinc lotion is super thick, so a little goes a long way, just make sure you keep using it often in the right quantities. Remember, you should be able to see it on the top layer of your skin.
Keep it flowing, again, and again...
Want to know more about Natural Sunscreen for Surfers and Sensitive Skin? Check out SETT's full guide here.
Want to check out SETT's selection of natural sunscreen? Check out our shop here.
See you out there,
James (Mammoth) Marshall
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