Spring is finally here and summer is on the way.. While you are out enjoying the beautiful weather, it is important to keep your skin protected from the sun.
With so many different sunscreens on the market, it's hard to know which to choose. It seems the SPF level's just keep getting higher but is that just another competitive way for companies to sell more?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number simply stands for how long you'll be protected from the sun before burning - but keep in mind this time is dependent on certain conditions, like sweating and swimming - To figure out how long you'll be protected from the sun, take the number of SPF and multiply it by 10. For example: SPF 30 x 10 = 300 minutes of sun protection, in "perfect conditions"... So, if you are sweating (and who isn't in the summertime) and have on SPF 30 - you will need to apply more often than every 5 hours despite the level of SPF.
Although you can apply a higher SPF less often than lower leveled ones - an SPF higher than 30 will still only provide about 97% UVB protection. A higher SPF -DOES NOT- mean you are protected more, only for a longer period of time.
Also, a good thing to remember is that SPF refers only to the lotion's level of protection against UVB rays. So be sure to purchase a sunscreen that is labeled "broad-spectrum". This will ensure protection against both UVB and UVA rays.
*UVA rays are longer waves that penetrate deeper into your skin causing skin aging, permanent damage to your skin, as well as skin cancer. These rays can penetrate through glass and even through clothing. UVB rays are shorter waves and tend to damage the superficial layers (upper layers) of your skin causing sun burn - but they can also cause damage to your skin, and eventually skin cancer.
Choosing a sunscreen is a personal choice, and there are many to choose from including creams for dry skin, gels, sprays, as well as ones formulated for sensitive skin and babies. The main key points you want to look for when choosing the right sunscreen for you is: an SPF of 30 or greater, one that offers broad-spectrum protection, as well as water resistant (FDA regulated - companies are no longer allowed to use the terms sunblock, sweatproof or waterproof. They must be called water resistant.)
Here is an example of a broad spectrum sunscreen, Neutrogena makes great ones.
Note that you will see on the front label the words broad spectrum. This is very important!
Here is a closer look at the label of another Neutrogena sunscreen to show some of the things I listed - broad spectrum and water resistant, and what I like here is they list the amount of time this is water resistant for (80 minutes). These are important things to look for when purchasing.
Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and be sure to reapply every two hours or immediately after sweating, swimming, or drying off with a towel. Always check the expiration date because expired sunscreens are NOT as effective!
*No matter your skin tone or race - you need to wear sunscreen!! No one is exempt from this (contrary to popular belief)!
Please keep your skin protected in this nice weather! Sun burn is no fun and it can be extremely dangerous.
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