As we’ve reached the middle point of Summer, it’s important to keep following up with the importance and benefits of sunscreen. Besides Summer, did you know that ideally sunscreen should be worn all year round? More than 80% of the sun’s harmful rays can damage your skin – even on a cloudy day, and 90% of visible skin aging is due to sun damage. Between sunspots, freckles, wrinkles – and even worse, melanoma – with frequent exposure to the sun, here’s how you can protect yourself and keep your skin looking flawless.
Currently, 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer within their lifetimes.
Sunscreen is actually made up of certain chemicals and active ingredients, including zinc oxide. Zinc has a ton of benefits for the skin. zinc oxide helps provide a broad spectrum of protection from the sun, which help prevent sunburns. Zinc also helps relieve skin from irritations, rashes and reduce inflammation.
How It Works: When Zinc Oxide is exposed to high temperatures, the oxygen molecules react with the zinc, which turns it into a powder-like substance that creates a protective barrier along the skin. Although this layer greatly helps reduce harm from the suns damaging rays, there are currently zero sunscreens on the market that will block the sun 100%. There are two types of rays that you may have heard of, especially when labeled on a bottle of sunscreen: UVB and UVA. UVB sun rays are the type that can cause redness, burning and blistering. UVA rays can premature aging and also skin cancer. When sunscreen is applied, the active ingredients in the lotion will penetrate the skin and absorb UV rays.
So what’s the deal with the numbers? and is 80 SPF really better than 30 SPF? Sun Protection Factor measures how well a sunscreen will protect with skin from damaging rays. For example, a sunscreen with an SPF of 15, blocks about 93% of UVB rays, or the burning type of sun. An SPF of 30 blocks about 98% of UBV rays, and a SPF of 50 only blocks 98% of UVB rays. So the different of an SPF 15 and SPF 30, is only 4%. Remember – there is no sunscreen that blocks these damaging rays 100%.
How can you protect yourself? Keep in mind that the sun is strongest between the hours of 10am and 2pm. You can still enjoy the outdoors during the summer, but just make sure you have protection or are in a shady area around those times. Before going outdoors, make sure to apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes before exposure. The best amount to apply is about a shot glass worth. Most people apply 25% of that! It’s OK to go a little heavy on the lotion – it will only help you.
Make sure if you are doing outdoor activities, such as swimming, running or just sweating, to reapply the sunscreen at least every 2 hours. Sunscreens cannot claim to be waterproof or sweat proof. The protective barrier will eventually wear off. The water and sand can reflect the sun and increase your chances of a sunburn.
Your best protection while enjoying the outdoors, is to wear long sleeves, king pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses – because yes, even your eyes can get sunburned and cause vision issues. But for those that will dawn a bathing suit instead of a long sleeve shirt, be sure to follow the instructions on the sunscreen bottle and reapply as necessary, and enjoy the rest of your Summer.