5 things you should know about UV rays and UV protection

5 things you should know about UV rays and UV protection

For many cancers the exact cause remains a mystery.. But not skin cancer. We know that UV rays are the primary causative agents behind skin cancers, wrinkles, sunburn, premature ageing, and a host of other skin-health related conditions.

Statistically, about 95% of skin cancers are totally preventable. Nonetheless, there’s an increasing prevalence of skin cancer in Australia (and even globally) today. 

When we know better, we do better, that’s exactly why we asked Sam Sheehan of Suncayr about UV rays and how we can better protect our skin.

Sam Sheehan is the Managing Director of Suncayr Australia– a company dedicated to giving “you the UV awareness that you need to safely enjoy every day you spend outside.” Here, are snippets of wisdom he shared in his interview with us… including how Suncayr is helping to simplify sun safety.

  1. What is UV

UV rays or Ultraviolet rays are the radiation from the sun. Sam said, “exposure or overexposure to UV radiation is a major risk factor for nearly all skin cancers”. Unfortunately, UV rays are inescapable. Since they penetrate windows, you’d have to be indoors, in a windowless room, 24/7 to completely avoid them. This, of course, isn’t feasible.

There are three types of UV;

  • UVA rays. Termed “ageing rays” these are the rays that cause long-term skin damage by breaking down collagen fibres and lead to premature ageing.

  • UVB rays. Also known as “burning rays”, these rays are the culprit of sunburn and are the main cause of most forms of skin cancer. The strength of UVB rays varies at different times throughout the year.

  • UVC rays. These are the most harmful of all 3 forms of UV rays. Thanks to Earth’s ozone layer, they don’t reach us. And that, dear earthling, is why we need to protect our ozone!

  1. How sunscreens work

Sunscreens protect us from the damaging effects of the sun. Although they’ve been so-called a second line of defence, they remain a critically important line of defence. Sunscreens are chemically composed of organic compounds and inorganic compounds as two of its main base ingredients. 

The inorganic compounds— typically Zinc oxide or Titanium oxide, reflect UV rays away from the body. On the other hand, the organic compounds— usually avobenzone or oxybenzone— absorbs the UV rays by bonding chemically with UV rays. Consequently, the intermolecular attraction in the sunscreen is broken down. This is why skin specialists advise that you reapply sunscreen frequently—depending upon the activity being carried out and the length of your exposure to the sun. 

  1. No sunscreen can protect from 100% of UV rays

It’s important to keep in mind that sunscreens aren’t foolproof. According to the Mayo Clinic, there isn’t one sunscreen that blocks 100% of UV rays. So our concept of UV protection must go beyond applying sunscreen. Staying in the shade, wearing hats, sunglasses, and clothing that fully cover our skin—all of these acts make us less vulnerable.

  1. The right amount of sunscreen, not just sunscreen, is essential for adequate protection.

Have you ever used sunscreen and still become sunburnt? It has happened to many of us and it’s likely that our sun protection was not adequate and that sunscreen was not used properly. “…there’s a lot of clinical data out there in studies that show an average consumers use an average of 25% of what they should actually be using to attain the SPF cover that’s advertised on the bottle”, says Sam.

Sunscreen does work! You’ve just got to apply (and reapply, when necessary) sufficient amounts of it. So how much do we need? Approximately 6 teaspoons for adequate coverage! In all, keep this in mind; “you’re better off using an SPF 15 properly, than using a quarter of what you would with an SPF 50”, Sam said. 

  1. SPOTMYUVTM is helping eliminate guesswork of applying & reapplying sunscreen

SPOTMYUVTM is a novel UV detection sticker by Suncayr. Upon absorbing UV, sunscreen wears away until it’s no longer effective at protecting your skin against harmful UVs, which is why reapplication is so important. The challenge is you’ll never really know when your sunscreen is still working due to the many variables such as sweat, friction of clothes and degradation of active ingredients.

Thanks to SPOTMYUVTM, you can know just the time to reapply sunscreen! SPOTMYUVTM is an indicating sticker that reminds you when it’s time to reapply UV protection. 

The small round sticker starts purple coloured. After you’ve stuck it to an area of your body that is exposed to the sun and you’ve applied sunscreen, it turns clear, indicating that you’re protected. As the sunscreen wears, it shows varying shades of purple again, telling you “it’s sunscreen reapplication time!”  They’re perfect for kids and they are even water-resistant. You can learn more about how it works here.


With deliberateness and helpful innovative products like SPOTMYUVTM, we can get the sun protection that we really need, bring skin cancer cases to the barest minimum and liver healthier, fuller, and richer lives. Let’s do that! (winks)

Planning To Get a Laser Treatment? You Want to Have Your Skin Checked First. Here’s Why

Planning To Get a Laser Treatment? You Want to Have Your Skin Checked First. Here’s Why

Lasers are useful across a variety of aesthetic and even cancer treatments. But having laser treatments without first getting a skin check poses a huge health threat: delayed diagnosis of skin cancer.

Surely, you don’t want to get a laser treatment if it means running the risk of having skin cancer and not know it. 

This is the point where you remind yourself that you can’t eat your cake and have it. But what if you could do the seemingly impossible— eat your cake and have it?

In our interview with Fiona Moss, a seasoned dermal clinician and University supervisor, she shared with us just what you need to do to eat this cake and have it. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Keep reading.

Understanding the Problem

To diagnose skin cancer, dermascopists use the dermatoscope to see deeper into the skin and inspect lesions. It’s the melanin and oxyhemoglobin structure of these lesions that give a clue on whether a lesion is benign or malignant. Unfortunately, when, for instance, you’re having a hair removal or skin rejuvenation done at your local laser clinic, the therapist is going to be targeting melanin and oxyhemoglobin.

Treating over lesions this way causes the usual structure to be disrupted. When your lesions are examined the results seen are no longer an accurate representation of what that lesion might be doing. 

Bear in mind that not all lesions are cancerous. Treat over a non-cancerous lesion, no problem. But treat over a possibly malignant one and you’ve just buried a life-threatening problem. As such, the real task is to determine whether a lesion is or isn’t cancerous. And the easiest time to do that is before you’ve had lasers done.

The way out

An expert therapist knows to not treat over certain lesions, sometimes only after naked-eye inspection. He knows that doing so may be problematic in the long run. But you see not every laser therapist is an expert.  

Particularly in Australia, there are practically no regulations on who can or can’t do a laser treatment. Most therapists are, therefore, focused on helping you take out pigmentation and get you those short term results that you want. And they often do that without even understanding the underlying risks.

If you want to get a laser treatment, you’re better off going to a medical clinic or a skin cancer clinic that’s specialized in treating cancers with lasers. Because of their experience and knowledge, they’ll know which lesions to cover and not to treat over. They’re also likely to encourage you to get a skin check before getting laser treatment. 

You’re safer surrendering your body to a practitioner who has a nationally recognised certification than using a “highly trained” practitioner whose laser clinic is located at some corner 2 blocks away from your home.

With the perfect practitioner, there would usually be some initial consultation involved in the process of getting a laser. They would enquire about your medical history or inquiring to ensure that it would be safe for your health. They wouldn’t be focused solely on getting you to do the procedure right out the gate. If that isn’t the case, then that practitioner is after your money—their financial gains.

If a therapist doesn’t show professional concern or your overall health, that’s not the kind of therapist you want treating you.

Bottom Line

The real hazard isn’t lasers themselves. Fiona agrees that lasers are incredible on the skin. Remove your freckles if you want to. Just do it the right way. And the right way is to put yourself in good hands—the hands of a highly qualified professional. And perhaps, to have your skin checked before getting lasers done.