I can’t stress enough how vital it is to wear sunscreen every day. I know that very few of us actually do this, but it’s definitely one of the most important things you can do to protect the health and look of your skin. Skin cancer is far too common, especially since it’s so preventable. There are a lot of common questions and myths surrounding sunscreen, so let’s do what we can to alleviate some of the most common SPF misconceptions.
First and foremost, yes you do need to wear sunscreen even when it’s cloudy or cold. 40% of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation can reach the earth on a completely cloudy day - so if you have sensitive skin or are generally prone to burns, sunscreen is necessary every day, not just during the summer.
If you’re wondering what SPF means, it stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number attached to it indicates the amount of time you could be in the sun without getting burned. For example, SPF 30 means it will take you 30 times longer to burn than without protection - but it is not an exact representation. Sunscreens with lower SPF don’t block as much of the sun’s rays as those with a higher SPF, not to mention the ultraviolet rays of the sun are stronger at different times of day. Bottom line: most people overestimate how long they’re able to stay in the sun, and wind up with a nasty burn.
People often wonder what type of sunscreen is right for them, especially since there are so many different SPF products available. Many lotions, aftershaves and make-up products contain an SPF of 15 or more, which is acceptable when you work indoors and don’t find yourself exposed to the sun an excessive amount throughout the day. It is also important that your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays, as both are harmful and cause skin damage. A “broad spectrum” SPF is required for protection against both types of harmful ultraviolet rays.
Here are a few tips for buying and applying sunscreen:
-Always do a small spot check on your skin to ensure your skin has no adverse reactions to the formula. If you develop a rash or any other skin irritation, find a new sunscreen pronto!
-Apply at least 30 minutes before you go outside, which allows the SPF to soak in and begin working.
-Not sure what the correct amount of sunscreen you should be using? You’ll need to apply a full ounce of cream sunscreen - that’s enough to fill a shot glass.
Finally, there are a few important facts about SPF that are crucial to remember.
-No SPF can block 100% of UV rays. SPF 15 filters approximately 93% of all UVB rays, SPF 30 filters approximately 97%, and SPF 50 filters approximately 98%
-Sunscreen must always be reapplied every 2 hours, even the waterproof and sweat proof formulas. Reapplying is just as important as the initial application, and should be done after swimming, toweling off, showering or sweating.
-Sunburns are evidence of the damage from UVB rays, while there is no immediate indication of how much UVA damage your skin is exposed to.
-Have a mole that looks suspicious? Always have them checked out. Early detection is the key to treating skin cancer.
Have fun in the sun, but protect your skin while you’re at it! Your lack of skin damage and wrinkles is certainly worth it.
MenScience TIO2 Sunblock SPF 30, 3.4oz- Provides broad spectrum protection (UVA/UVB) from the sun?s rays. Waterproof, ultralight and non-greasy sunscreen uses titanium dioxide and advanced ingredients to help protect and moisturize skin.
MenScience Advanced Lip Protectant SPF 30, .2oz- Serious protection from sunburn, peeling and chapping. Non-greasy, long-lasting clear application softens and helps relieves lip irritation even in extreme weather conditions.
(Header Image: TheSundayTimesUK)