With summer upon us, we’ll definitely be exposed to more sun. You can bask in the warmth, but will forever regret exposing your skin to the UV light without sunscreen.
Sunscreen blocks and absorbs UV rays through a combination of physical and chemical particles. Physical particles, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are used to reflect UV radiation from the skin. At the same time, complex chemical ingredients in sunscreen react with radiation before it penetrates the skin, absorbing the rays and releasing the energy as heat.
A combination of blocking and absorbing UV radiation is especially important to combat both UVB and UVA rays. UVB radiation is the main cause of sunburn and skin cancer. But UVA rays penetrate more deeply into the skin. It was previously thought that these rays only cause skin ageing and wrinkling, but recent research has confirmed that UVA rays also play a significant role in developing skin cancer.
Now that UVA dangers are well known, broad-spectrum sunscreens provide clear information on product labels about protection against both UVB and UVA.
Another factor to consider in sunscreen is the sun protection factor, or SPF – commonly misinterpreted as the strength of protection. However, it actually refers to how much longer it takes for UVB rays to redden the skin with sunscreen compared to without sunscreen. For example, an SPF of 15 means it will take 15 times longer for skin to burn while using the product compared to without the product.
So, look for a sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection with an SPF of 50 or higher. Thus you can enjoy some time in the sun (until 11h00 and after 16h00) without worrying about sun damage. And if you are an outdoor enthusiast in terms of activities, a water-resistant sunscreen is essential. Unfortunately, no sunscreen is waterproof; they all eventually wash off. Sunscreens labelled water-resistant are tested to be effective for up to 40 minutes of swimming, while very water-resistant sunscreens stay effective for up to 80 minutes in the water.
Sunscreen should be applied every single day – about 30 minutes before venturing outside to allow the sunscreen to bind to your skin. Reapply every two hours and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
Even when it’s cloudy, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV radiation reaches the earth. Going unprotected on an overcast day can lead to skin damage.