Summertime means long days and lots of fun activities in the sun. It’s time to enjoy the beach and pool or going out to the lake or river. It’s common knowledge that using sunscreen is one of the most critical summer skincare practices to prevent the summer sun from wreaking havoc on the skin. Sunscreen helps prevent wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and stubborn hyperpigmentation, but more important than appearance, sunscreen reduces your chances of skin cancer. Understanding your sunscreens, especially all the terms on the bottle, can help you choose the best product for your skin and ultimately give your skin peak sun protection.
SPF— What Does It Mean?
SPF, short for sun protection factor, is the number you often see on the bottle ranging from 15 to 100. This number is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to block out the sun’s rays. The higher the number on the bottle means more protection to a certain degree, but no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun’s rays. SPF is only a guide in terms of the protection level from the sun’s rays, as many other variables contribute to actual sun protection like the thickness of the product, frequency of application, and water and sweat on the skin. Many skin care experts agree that a sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher is what to look for on the bottle, as this should give you adequate protection.
What’s the Difference Between UVA Protection and UVB Protection?
UVA is a component of sunlight that contributes the most to wrinkles and skin cancer. UVA is not visible to the human eye. It penetrates the skin but isn’t necessarily what causes your skin to burn. UVA accelerates your skin’s aging process and causes skin cancer as it damages collagen and elastic tissue the most.
UVB is another component of sunscreen that is more intense than UVA but can only penetrate the top layer of skin. UVB is more responsible for sunburns and can also cause skin cancer.
When choosing a Broad Spectrum sunscreen, this means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It’s an important feature that your sunscreen should include.
Chemical Or Mineral Sunscreens
There’s an ongoing debate over whether chemical or mineral sunscreens are better for you. The way to tell whether you have a chemical or mineral sunscreen is by the ingredients on the bottle. Mineral sunscreens are made of zinc or titanium, which provide a physical barrier from sunlight.
Chemical ingredients protect differently than mineral ones by absorbing them into the skin rather than blocking the light. The light radiation is converted into heat and released to your skin. Chemical sunscreens are decreasing in popularity because they’re more likely to irritate the skin, and some chemical sunscreens harm marine life and coral reefs.
Need To Be Screened For Skin Cancer or Want to Reverse Sun Related Skin Damage? Contact Zochowski Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Your sunscreen should be the foundation of your skincare routine every day throughout the year, not just on hot summer days. If you’re noticing signs of sun damage to your skin and want a fresh start, contact Zochowski Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery to schedule a skin consultation and get your skin back on track. Call us at (614) 490-7500 or schedule your appointment online today.