Sunscreen is a summer-must have for Kiwis from all ages.
According to NIWA the 2018-2019 season was New Zealand’s third-warmest summer on record. Temperatures across the country were either above average or well above average. Some of the highest temperatures relative to what is typical for the time of year occurred in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and the Coromandel. One of the key climate drivers and contributors to this ranking was the presence of above average sea temperatures around our coastlines.
It’s likely UV index extremes of 11+ would have been seen for the 2018-2019 season and there is no evidence that this will change any time soon in New Zealand.
Newshub spoke to NIVEA Skin Care Expert Robyn Hutch to find out her top five tips for protecting your skin this season - a timely reminder since December 1 is officially the first day of summer.
1. Steps to take when you have sensitive skin
For those of us with sensitive skin, choosing a sunscreen product can be tricky. Look for a product specifically made for sensitive skin with skin supportive ingredients like Aloe Vera and Chamomile which are well known for caring and soothing properties. Products that are fragrance and colour free are also more favourable, like NIVEA SUN Sensitive Protect SPF50.
If you are ever unsure, I would recommend doing a patch test with your sunscreen first. Simply apply to a small area of skin like the inner forearm and wait. If your skin doesn’t react then it can be used across your face and body.
If you have a known skin sensitivity applying anything topically (directly to your skin) could initiate a skin reaction. A sunscreen could also trigger these kinds of reactions.
2. Protecting your children’s skin
It’s important to realise that children's skin is different to adult skin. It is still developing and as such is more vulnerable to sun damage. If you know your child suffers from skin sensitivities it may be best to look for products that are free from ingredients that are known to cause reactions like colours or fragrances.
If you need to choose something specific for one child then a sensitive sunscreen may be a suitable choice for the whole family. Remember sun protection is more than just a sunscreen so make sure you look for shade and use protective clothing like hats and sunglasses.
Another thing to look for when choosing a sunscreen for your child is to make sure it’s super easy to use and makes applying sunscreen fun. For young children it’s important to teach sun protection early so using a Kids Roll On for example, like NIVEA SUN Kids Protect & Play Caring Roll-On, is a way to get them involved in the process.
3. Best way to apply sunscreen
One of the most important things to remember when applying sunscreen is to always apply generously and evenly. This is the case, regardless of the format you choose. If you decide to use a spray you will find the sunscreen needs to rubbed in anyway and this just ensures the sunscreen layer is even and that you have applied the right amount to get the claimed protection on pack.
Re-apply as regularly as required. It’s best to aim for at least every two hours. But this could change to more often when sweating, swimming or towel drying. Don’t forget to apply at least 20 minutes before heading into the sun.
4. Should you use last year’s bottle?
The best thing to do is check the expiry date on your product. There is one thing to note here and this is the importance of ensuring you are using enough sunscreen for the season. For instance, if you have a 250ml product, this should only last you seven full applications, or say three days at the beach with a re-application.
If your sunscreen has lasted through the entire season, I would recommend purchasing a new one, and to keep on top of the amount you are applying.
5. Look out for UV levels
I recommend to always look and listen for UV Index levels in local weather forecasts and remember that no matter what time of the year you can still get burnt on cool or cloudy days so don’t think heat, think UV.
Use a combination of sun protection measures and never rely on just one to protect your family.
It’s important to note, sun protection measures are recommended when the UV Index is three and above. So during summer every day brings the need for sun protection.
This article is created for Nivea Sun