November 17, 2009

Sunscreen Series: Cancer Council Australia Everyday Sunscreen

I am no puteri lilin* but I am bloody well paranoid about getting skin cancer and irreparable sun damage ever since I started studying in Australia.

This has only been further reinforced over the years but not because of the SunSmart reminders everywhere in this country. Each time I step on a plane, I encounter a Malaysian auntie/grandmother who migrated here 10-20 years ago and suffered awful skin damage and pigmentation from the awful Australian sun.

One well coiffured grandmother even lightly dabbed off her foundation to show me how bad her sun spots were. On hindsight, I should have asked her what foundation she was using -- it really covered up her spots -- but I was reeling at the sight of 20 over years of sun damage.

(Yup, I have this strange ability to attract auntie and grandmother types. Wherever I go, I get mothered, fed, petted and lots of advice on life. My travels are always full of entertainment.)

ParisB has already sang her praises for my favourite everyday sunscreen: The Cancer Council Everyday Sunscreen. You can find this brand at practically any grocery or pharmacy in Austraia. It's that popular, affordable and that good.

All Cancer Council Sunscreens have a 30+ SPF rating, which is the highest SPF rating allowed under Australian regulations. So if you come into Australia and wonder why on earth doesn't this place sell stuff with SPF 50 or SPF 75, you now have your answer. From what I remember, sunscreens with an SPF rating of over 30 tends to have unstable active ingredients which usually break down after 2 or 3 hours, giving you less protection than you actually thought. The Australian regulatory body felt that this lulls consumers into a false sense of security and smelled a little of false advertising as you would reapply less frequently with a higher SPF rating. Hence the SPF 30+ rating.

Just a reminder here but SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor against UVB rays. The SPF rating stands for how much longer you can be under the sun without getting a burn compared to without applying sunscreen. It's a mind boggling business but if it takes you 10 minutes to get sunburnt without sunscreen, applying a sunscreen with a SPF 30 means that you can stand under the sun for 300 minutes (10 x 30) without getting burnt. SPF measures protection from UVB rays only, not UVA.

To be on the safe side, I always reapply every 2-3 hours.

This particular product is great for everyday use. Not just because it doesn't smell too strongly of sunscreen and it absorbs easily into the skin, but because it gives broad spectrum protection. The active ingredients (and the UVA/ UVB protection it gives) are as follows:

1. Octyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate): UVB protection
2. 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor: UVB protection
3. Oxybenzone: Short Wave UVA protection
4. Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone): Long Wave UVA protection

A good sunscreen is supposed to be able to offer UVB and UVA (both long wave and short wave) protection so this particular sunscreen fits the bill nicely. I am a little worried about the second active ingredient though as it is not permitted for usage in the US and Japan due to health concerns.

The Cancer Council Everyday Sunscreen is AUD 14.95 for the 200ml fliptop bottle. It also comes in other sizes and packaging which you can see here. I personally like the roll on version for travelling.

What is your favourite everyday sunscreen?

*Puteri lilin: literally translated, it means 'wax princess'. It's a Malay term used to describe err, delicate people who avoid the sun.


Paris B said...

Yay! I love how great and inexpensive this sunscreen is especially for the body - lucky you to have easy access to it and LOL at attracting aunty/grandma types :)

Meldee said...

Wow Eli, you're so educational! Well-researched and informative, babe.

My fave sunscreen is the Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch with SPF50--now, I'm not too sure if it works as well as the one you just reviewed though!

abby said...

gosh i have this exact one! different size though. i get relatives to haul it back for me. hehe...

Emily said...

This has been so so helpful! Thanks so much

Eli said...

ParisB: I am planning to get my family to lug back bottles for me in advance next month, depending on their baggage allowance. You want one too?

Meldee: Virgo mah! Or is it Gemini which wants to find out everything?

I know which Neutrogena sunscreen you are using. I am using one from the same range -- opted for the moisturising one instead of dry touch -- and it works better than Cancer Council. But the bottle is so kecil, I only use it for my face and neck.

Where did you get it from?

Eli said...

abby: I am going to have to get my friends to lug this back for me next year. You are so lucky to have family!

Emily: Not a prob. I am always happy when people find my posts useful. =)

Tine said...

I have a purse-sized version which I keep, well, in my purse! :P

My everyday sunscreen's Neutrogena's Dry-Touch. I have the face version, body sunscreen cream and spray version. Obsessed about sun protection much? :P