Do you apply sunscreen? If so, have you tried shopping for one and found so many choices? How did you choose the sunscreen? By brand or functionality? Advancements in skincare have given us so many choices to choose from and it can be quite daunting to choose a new sunscreen product. Given the choices these are some of the things you might need to know when you purchase your next sunscreen
Depending on which country you are staying in, the highest Sun Protection Factor (or known as SPF) can differ. But firstly, what exactly is SPF? SPF simply put is how much protection from Ultra Violet Rays (UV) you are getting from sunscreen.
So how does SPF work? Let’s say that when you are out in the sun for about ten minutes you start to get sunburnt. Applying a sunscreen of SPF 15 would allow you to stay out for approximately 150 minutes without burning. Experts recommended that SPF 15 is the minimum for sunscreen protection.
So does that mean SPF 30 provides double the protection? Well, not quite. SPF 15 provides at least over 90 percent protection from UVB rays (more on UV in a bit). While as SPF 30 blocks about 97 percent. SPF 50 blocks about 98 percent. This shows that the SPF scale is not linear but still the higher the SPF the more protection you are getting but not double the fold.
When choosing your sunscreen, looks for labels such as SPF Testing, SPF Static SPF Water resistant as it shows that it has been tested and approved by the FDA and it is somewhat water and sweat resistant. Although sunscreens do make this claim, it is still advisable to reapply after sweating or exposure to water.
We know that SPF provides protection from UV, more specifically, provides protection from mostly UVB rays. UV in sunscreen is separated into two categories. UVA (Ultra Violet Aging Rays) rays which penetrate your skin more deeply and causes cancer, wrinkle formation and premature aging. UVB (Ultra Violet Burning Rays) rays which also still causes cancer, could be seen as more external as it does not penetrate deeply into the skin like UVA rays. UVB rays are the common cause of being sunburnt and having discolorations of the skin’s surface. So when choosing your sunscreen, look closely for the label “BROAD SPECTRUM”, as that means that it has been proven to protect from both UVA and UVB radiation.
So to recap and to add a couple of tips, remember to check for SPF testing to make sure it is FDA approved, has broad spectrum so that it can provide protection from both UVA and UVB and to at least have a minimum of SPF 15 or 30.
Remember to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours in prolong activity in the sun, reapply after a lot of sweat or exposure to water and to have on you, other sun protection gear such as hats, sunglasses or umbrellas. Note that most sunscreen has a shelf life of approximately 6 months after opening, so make sure to buy yourself a new one if your old one has been sitting on the shelf for quite some time.
For our next article we will continue on sunscreen, about the different variants you can buy and how some sunscreen have different benefits attached to them, as it is common to find moisturizing sunscreen nowadays as well. The link will be provided below as well when it is out if you want to learn more about sunscreen.