Most of us know the importance of protecting our skin from the dangerous UV rays of the sun. But do most of us understand the best way to do so? When it comes to SPF, there are many misunderstandings that can impact how well we protect our skin on a daily basis. If you want to ensure the best possible sun care for your skin, it is important to understand what SPF is and how to use it to effectively protect your skin.
What is SPF?
SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor,” and it is designed to inform consumers about the level of sun protection in various product formulas. An SPF 15 indicates that you can remain in the sun approximately 15 times longer without burning your skin. If you usually begin to burn within 10 minutes, an SPF 15 sun product would allow you to remain in the sun for 150 minutes before burning.
Although this general rule seems relatively easy to follow, the SPF formula is not that simple:
- SPF 15 – Blocks 93 percent of the sun’s UVB rays
- SPF 30 – Blocks 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays
- SPF 50 – Blocks 98 percent of the sun’s UVB rays
As you can see, switching to a higher SPF does not necessarily offer you a significant amount of additional protection. Most experts recommend an SPF of 15 or 30 to ensure your skin remains safe and burn-free – as long as the sunscreen is applied properly.
Tips for Applying Sunscreen
One of the main reasons people burn after using sunscreen is because they do not apply the product correctly. Sunscreen should be applied in sufficient amounts one-half hour before heading outdoors. A good rule of thumb is to apply an ounce at every application and repeat the process every two hours while you are exposed to the sun’s rays. This means that if you spend a full day at the beach or lake, you should use about one-half of an eight-ounce sunscreen bottle.
It is also important to read the label on your sunscreen bottle. Look for formulas that include zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, since these ingredients protect against UVA as well as UVB rays. While UVB is the primary culprit in that nasty sunburn and skin cancer risk, UVA rays contribute to the effects of aging, like the appearance of fine lines and leathery skin. UVA rays can also increase the carcinogenic effect of UVB rays.
Sun damage can be prevented through the proper use of sunscreen products on a daily basis. However, if you already see the effects of sun damage on your skin, there is also help available. Contact our staff at Incredible Veins Skin and Body at 818-446-2995 to learn more about cosmetic procedures that can help you reverse the effects of sun damage and achieve smoother, more youthful skin.