‘Max Protection’ Sunscreens – Worth It?

For years max protection sunscreens have been the ‘go-to’ weapon for kiwi families looking to thwart the effects of our dastardly southern sun. Technically defined as any sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 50+ or over including UVA & UVB protection, max protection sunscreens today are a far cry from the bad ol’ days of smothering yourself in coconut oil and hoping for the best. But do they really deserve their ‘max protection’ moniker?

The thing to keep in mind with ‘max protection’ sunscreens is that while a high SPF is ideal, it’s not all about the numbers. SPF indicates the amount of protection you receive compared to applying no sunscreen at all. So if on a particular day it takes 10 minutes for unprotected skin to burn and you apply an SPF 50 sunscreen it would take 50 times longer (or over 8 hours) before you actually did burn. Of course, there are caveats with this figure including the fact that effectiveness decreases if you don’t put enough sunscreen on or do it regularly enough, or the sunscreen is wiped, sweated or washed away.

But here’s the really important part.

SPF is a measurement against UVB exposure only, not UVA and both forms of ultraviolet radiation have been shown to cause cancer. That’s why you need to look for broad spectrum sunscreens able to deal with both UVA and UVB rays. Start with Invisible Zinc’s 50+ sunscreen because not only does it provide broad spectrum protection but it uses a naturally derived active ingredient to do so –  mineral zinc oxide. This means you get high-level protection without using a chemical based sunscreen.

So does a SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum sunscreen offer good protection? Absolutely, and if it’s Invisible Zinc you’ll be protected from UVA plus a whopping 99% of UVB rays as long as you apply and reapply as directed. It’s an example of the gold standard in New Zealand and definitely warrants it’s ‘Max Protection title.