South Africa has one of the highest monitored Ultra Violet (UV) levels in the world, and our country is heating up, receiving more UV exposure than in years gone by. With skin cancer being a serious consequence of sun-damaged skin,1 it’s not good enough to just apply the first sunscreen you can lay your hands on. Do you know how long your sunscreen will protect you for?
The SPF, or Sun Protection Factor displayed on sunscreen is an indication of how well that product will protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UVB rays (Ultra Violet B). These are the rays responsible for the redness of skin, burning, skin damage, skin spots and ultimately skin cancer.2 How the SPF number works is like this: if it takes your unprotected skin five minutes to start turning red in the sun, then an SPF 20 sunscreen will give you 20 times that number or minutes’ protection. (5 x 20 = 100 minutes, or 1 hour 40). If you turn red after five minutes and you use an SPF 50 sunscreen, you’ll get 50 times as much protection. (5 x 50 = 250 minutes, or 4 hours 10 minutes).3
Be sure to apply a sunscreen bearing the CANSA (Cancer Association of South Africa) Seal of Recognition (CSOR), like the Island Tribe range of products. As members of the Rainbow Nation, Island Tribe recognises South Africans’ diversity, and offers products for weekend warriors or full time adventurers. But underneath it all, we all need protection from the harsh African sun. One nation. One sun.
 Fact Sheet – Skin Cancer 2010. [cited 2019 Jul 12]. Available from: http://www.cansa.org.za/files/2012/05/SKIN_CANCER_Leaflet-2010.pdf
 Fact Sheet – Solar Radiation and Skin Cancer [cited 2019 Jul 18]. Available from: https://www.cansa.org.za/files/2017/11/Fact-Sheet-Solar-Radiation-and-Skin-Cancer-Nov-2017.pdf