Ava Matthews, co-founder of Australian sun care brand Ultra Violette, is adamant that even if you are stuck at home, you must still wear sunscreen every day. “We’re still getting lots of UVA damage through any windows in our house – these aren’t the cancer or burning rays, but have the most impact in terms of ageing and skin damage,” she says. And, as Matthews notes, some people are working outdoors on their balconies (or getting some fresh air), which exposes them to UVA and UVB rays. According to Time , sales of sunscreen are down by 17 per cent as the world grapples with the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis. People are instead stocking up on items such as disinfectants and tinned goods . Matthews says now is not the time to be skipping the sunscreen. “Daily SPF use should be a habit,” she says. (SPF stands for sun protection factor.) And it’s not just UV light we should be worrying about – blue light, emitted by the sun and by our phone screens, could be damaging our skin. Matthews says that, while there’s still much research to be done around the impact of blue light on our skin, Ultra Violette’s sunscreens, which are infused with antioxidants such as vitamin C, ward off blue light damage too. “While not all SPF filters can block blue light, it’s the combination of those filters plus antioxidants that can protect your skin from blue light. We’ve included potent antioxidants in all our range to help with this,” she says. Ultra Violette is one of the brands that make Australia a world leader in suncare products. That’s not just because of its sunny weather, but because the standards set by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for making suncare products are so high. “We have the toughest regulations and testing for sunscreens. It’s not an easy job making sunscreen in Australia – in fact it’s incredibly hard,” Matthews says. “My business partner Bec and I always talk about this. “We feel that the French are considered to be world leaders in fragrance, Korea is considered to be leading the innovation in skincare and America is known for great colour brands. Australia should be where the rest of the world looks for sunscreen and SPF development – our climate dictates it.” We have the toughest regulations and testing for sunscreens. It’s not an easy job making sunscreen in Australia – in fact it’s incredibly hard Ava Matthews, co-founder of Ultra Violette Caitlan Wyer, skincare category buyer for global beauty and personal care store chain Sephora in Australia and New Zealand, says the conversation around SPF products has grown exponentially over the past few years. “People are recognising that it is not just a beachside product, but also the most important step in your everyday routine in preventing premature ageing,” she says. Brands such as Ultra Violette have helped to make sunscreen cool, she says. Wyer agrees that suncare products have become more sophisticated , with a significant increase in demand for products that combine skincare or make-up with SPF. “We are seeing more of these hybrid products come through, such as SPF moisturisers, primers, CC (colour correction) creams and lip balms … Australia has some of the strictest regulations in the world, particularly in the SPF category, so we know that anything that is developed and produced here is of the highest quality,” she says. Both Wyer and Matthews say customers are definitely more educated about sunscreen. This is in part thanks to the work of cancer councils in spreading awareness of skin cancer. Moreover, as many scientific studies have proven, skin damage from UVA and UVB rays is one of the fastest ways to prematurely age your skin. Bec Jefferd, Matthews’ business partner, says people are more aware of the ageing effects of the sun on the skin, which is why they are happy to pay more for suncare products – Ultra Violette’s products sell for around A$50 (US$31). “People say ‘Oh, your sunscreen is so expensive.’ Well, actually, no, it's not. It's the most important thing you're going to put on your face,” Jefferd adds. In addition to its products, here are four more Australian sunscreen brands worth trying: Alpha-H The brand is best known for its cult Liquid Gold exfoliant, but it also has the super hydrating Protection Plus Daily SPF50+, which protects against free radical damage to the skin. Ultraceuticals Ultraceuticals is one of Australia’s best cosmeceutical brands and they have a range of SPF30 products as well as SPF50 SunActive sunscreen which is perfect for outdoor activity. Mecca Cosmetica Australian beauty retailer Mecca has its own in-house formulated sunscreens in the shape of its To Save Face range, as well as stocking the likes of Ultra Violette. Its sunscreens are lightweight and non-greasy, with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin E for hydration and strengthening the skin. Go-To Zoe Foster Blake’s Go-To skincare range includes a lovely facial oil and sheet mask. The brand’s Zincredible SPF15 is infused with vitamin E and is a good supplement to a sunscreen or for use if you’re not really out in the sun.