Understanding sunscreen isn’t rocket science.
Okay, most of us know that sunscreen isn’t just about SPF but face it, how many of us buy sunscreen based on a comfortable SPF number? Your sunscreen’s SPF can tell you how protected you are from the sun. This is essential, since just because you slather on a dab of sunscreen, you aren’t necessarily fully protected from the sun’s harmful rays. Simply put, sunscreen or sunblock is a solution containing protective chemicals which you apply on the surface of your skin to achieve some level of protection from the sun.
What is SPF?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. SPF is determined by a value of 2 up to 50 (anything above 50 is simply marketing and not FDA approved for higher protection), and the SPF determines how long the sunscreen’s strength will protect you. For example, an SPF of 2 means you can stay in the sun two times longer than you could without sunscreen before burning. If you burn in 30 minutes (like I do) without sunscreen, then an SPF of 2 will protect you for about an hour in the sun. SPF 15 is highly suggested. At least 15 SPF sunscreen should be worn not only in the summer or when on the beach but all year round. This is one of the reasons why companies include a minimum of SPF 15 in their cosmetic and skincare products.
Are UV rays my biggest enemy?
When exposed to the sun, our bare skin will eventually get red, swollen and feel painful because the internal structures are damaged. This is commonly known as sunburn. The main culprit? Ultra Violet rays or UV rays from the sun. UV rays can be further split into UVA, UVB and UVC rays which all cannot be detected by the naked eye.
UVA – The Ageing ray and main reason behind sun related skin cancers. It destroys the vitamin A in our skin and also indirectly causes DNA damage. Makes up 98.7% in UV rays.
UVB – The Sunburn ray. This ray directly causes DNA damage to skin cells.
UVC – The most powerful out of all three rays, but most often filtered so there’s almost none of it when it reaches our skin. Damages DNA directly too.
All three rays, UVA, UVB and UVC damages the collagen fibers in our skin which is responsible for keeping our skin young, as collagen contributes to the elasticity of our skin. So, it is reasonably clear that UV rays contribute significantly to accelerate ageing of our skin as well as any part of the body exposed to it, such as our eyes.
How do I choose the perfect sunscreen for me?
Selecting a sunscreen product that offers some degree of protection from the sun’s UV rays can be one way to protect your skin.
Due to the variety and range of sunscreen products available, here are some basic factors to consider in making an appropriate selection:
Sunscreen products can be made with ingredients to protect against UVA rays and other ingredients to protect against UVB rays (which are in fact more harmful for sun burning than UVA rays). The best products offer ingredients for protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
2. SPF Number
The SPF number on the product’s label refers to the strength of protection, and the length of time a sun-screening product will allow your skin to be in the sun without burning – relative to the length of time bare skin (or skin without the product applied) would burn or redden.
12 minutes x SPF 15 = 180 minutes (3 hours).
12 minutes X SPF 30 = 360 minutes (6 hours)
3. Skin Type
When selecting a sunscreen, it’s important to consider the different skin types and how they react with exposure to the sun. Here are the different types of skin:
Very Fair: This skin type generally burns quickly. Tanning is rare. Consider sunscreen products containing SPF 20 to 30.
Fair: This skin type almost always burns easily. Some tanning can occur, although not much. Consider sunscreen products containing SPF 12 to 20.
Light: This skin type burns in the moderate range. Tanning is normally gradual, yielding a light brown shade. Consider sunscreen products containing SPF 8 to 12.
Medium: This skin type burns in the minimal range. Tanning happens much of the time, yielding a moderate brown shade. Consider sunscreen products containing SPF 4 to 8.
Dark: This skin type rarely burns. Tanning occurs big time, yielding a dark brown shade. Consider sunscreen products containing SPF 2 to 4.
What’s the proper way to apply sunscreen?
You see it in movies, in commercials and in magazines. You’re already in your swimsuit ready to dive in the pool but something’s missing: sunscreen. You walk your sexiest walk to a reclining chair and eye the cutest guy you see and ask him, “Can you help me put sunblock on my back?” While it’s effective in luring boys, it’s the wrong way to put on your sunscreen!
Before heading out, put on your sunscreen in the comfort room, naked, and apply to all the parts of your body, even in those corners you think shouldn’t hit the sun. Now, wear your swimsuit and go directly to the pool. Ehe 😀
Is sunscreen all I need for protection from the sun?
Sunscreen is just not enough. Here are some things you wear in the summer which also contribute to sun protection:
- Hats – SPF 3-6
- Summer-weight clothing – SPF 6
- Sun-protective clothing – up to SPF 30
Share your magic SPF number!
So which SPF number gives you peace of mind? For me, it’s SPF 15 for daily wear and even a moisturizer with SPF 15 eases my mind somewhat. If I do head outdoors, than a sunscreen with SPF 30 would make me feel a lot more protected.
Now you know your sunscreen 🙂
Glad to help out!
Show that sexy bod this summer! 😀