Sun Protection and Sunscreens

Coming into Summer, thinking about sun protection is crucial. Getting outside and having an increased sun exposure has been directly linked to beneficial effects on mood, however ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure from the sunlight can quickly cause sunburn, photoaging and skin cancer in Mooloolaba’s beautiful climate. UV light can be broken up into two different types, UV A and UV B. Traditionally UVA exposure has been associated with skin aging whilst UV B has been linked to skin burning. We now know that it is not this simple and both are associated with burning, aging and skin cancer; this is why solariums which use UV A have been made illegal!

There are many different active ingredients used in sunscreens to provide broad spectrum protection against UV radiation. These fall into two classes: inorganic or organic. 

The inorganic sunscreens include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, commonly known as just ‘zinc’. The first zinc preparations were thick white products, very effective against the sun but terrible to put on and very drying. They now have created nano-particle versions, such as in ‘Invisible Zinc’ and ‘Salt and Stone’, which are easier to apply and rub into your skin. These products are generally what our pharmacists recommend, they stay on for longer and are nice to apply. There is, however, some evidence that inorganic barriers absorb the radiation instead of reflecting it. 

Organic sunscreens reflect specific wave bands and so need to contain multiple ingredients to provide broad spectrum coverage. There are many different molecules used, most with long chemical names. Common ones include PABA derivatives, Salicylates, Octocrylene and Benzones. Benzones, in particular oxybenzone, can cause a reaction in some people, as such, it was recently removed from most cancer council sunscreens. We recommend La Roche-Posay products, who provide tinted, moisturising products that very rarely cause a reaction. Be careful of fragranced sunscreens if you are known to react to skin products!



Come in and talk to the staff at Mooloolaba Beach Pharmacy for recommendations. We have Quote this article for 15% off sunscreens!