People frequently mistakenly believe that if they are not getting burned by the sun, they are not at risk for developing skin cancer. Using broad-spectrum sunscreen is one of numerous actions that can help avoid sunburn and early symptoms of aging, as we discussed in a previous post in this series. However, it will also lessen the risks of skin cancer in general, particularly melanoma, which is the worst type.
When selecting the right sunscreen to use to protect your skin and the skin of your family members, it’s crucial to go with sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection and to look for two specific features: (1) make certain that it has an SPF of at least 30, and (2) make certain that it does not include Vitamin A.
Why SPF Is Important
The acronym “SPF” stands for “Sun Protection Factor,” as you undoubtedly already know. But what does the number actually imply and why is it significant? According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “the SPF number shows you how long the sun’s UV radiation would take to redden your skin if you used the product exactly as prescribed vs how long without any sunscreen.”
Accordingly, if a sunscreen has an SPF of 30, that means that your skin would burn 30 times slower than it would if you weren’t wearing any protection. Just a little bit more than 3% of UVB rays would still reach your skin, because not all of the rays are filtered (100 divided by 30). Therefore, “sunscreen” is a better term to use than “sunblock.” Actually, the sun’s rays aren’t blocked.
If 30 SPF is beneficial, wouldn’t 50 SPF be considerably more beneficial? Yes, theoretically. But keep in mind that the studies that go into those figures were carried out in laboratories, not in actual settings. Higher SPF sunscreens have the undesirable side effect of giving users a false sense of security, frequently leading them to neglect other measures of sun protection and crucial reapplication. Unfortunately, this often leads to increased exposure to UV damage.
UV Radiation Types
When it comes to the rays of ultraviolet light that might harm your skin cells, you should be aware of UVA and UVB. Both of these ray types are invisible to the human eye, because they have shorter wavelengths than visible light. Sunburn and skin cancer are both brought on by UVB radiation. Although damage from tanning is something many people desire to showcase, UVA rays can cause harm. Both UVA and UVB radiation can cause skin to age prematurely.
It’s crucial to use the proper amount of sunscreen and to reapply at the right intervals of time. Use roughly two tablespoons of sunscreen. Ideally, you should apply it at least 30 minutes before your skin will be exposed to direct sunlight. Bring your sunscreen with you to your pool or beach area, so you can reapply the sunscreen every two hours, as well as after swimming or working out, because these activities are likely to remove it or at the very least impair its effectiveness.
Continue reading with Part 4.
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