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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)