Sunscreen and the Sun
April 6, 2020
Sunscreen protection is one of the most important parts of ones skin care routine. SPF helps to protect the skin agains the harmful UV rays the sun emits, those causing aging, fine lines and wrinkles, sunburns and even skin cancers. Most people don’t apply sunscreen daily, and others assume that after applying their sunscreen in the morning, they do not need to reapply for the rest of the day. However, sunscreen does have an expiration on the skin – even when passing through your day to day activities.
Sun damage can happen at any time, during any season, which is why it is important to wear sunscreen daily. Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is able to pass through the toughest weathers, is reflective off of snow, and is able to pass through clouds. Ultraviolet rays emit two types of radiation: UVA & UVB, which breakdown the composition of DNA. UVA’s are the longest wavelength emitted from the sun, and though it causes damage, it is not as instantaneously harmful as UVB. Whether through the car windshield or the office window, sun damage can occur at any point of the day. Therefore, daily application is a must.
Now, even though many people believe that sunblock and sunscreen have the same protective abilities, they both actually protect the skin differently. Sunblock is able to physically block the UV rays from penetrating into the skin, with ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. On the other hand, sunscreen works by allowing the UV rays to be absorbed into the skin and then broken down without causing damage to the dermal layer. There is much controversy between sunscreens and sunblocks, however what is important is the actual ingredients used to protect the skin. Both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide will create a physical block against ultraviolet radiation and therefore those are the best ingredients to search for when purchasing a sunscreen or sunblock. There are almost no products on the market that are able call themselves “sunblock” due to the specific FDA regulations, searching for ingredients will be the most important step when purchasing your product.
The following step that is important when considering which sunscreen is best for the skin, is understanding the percentage of the SPF. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, which is basically the calculator for how long a sunscreen or sunblock can protect the skin against the sun before a burn or damage is caused.
Now, everyone’s skin reacts to the sun differently. Those skin tones that are lighter and fair, usually take much less time to burn in the sun compared to darker and black skin tones. A fairer unprotected skin could take anywhere between 20 minutes to 30 minutes to redden in the sun. Darker skin tones will have the ability to be in the sun unprotected longer without burning, however that does not mean they cannot burn. For this reason, sunscreen is important to each skin and the rules apply to everyone. The Higher the SPF of the product, the longer the skin is protected under the sun without burning.
SPF’s with 30%-50% coverage have the most effective levels of protection. This does not take into consideration sweating and physical activity, and is only applicable to skins that are at rest with minimal movement. For those who are applying sunscreen and are staying active and busy in the sun, sunscreen should be reapplied every 1-2 hours.
Making sure your skin is protected at all times is the best way to ensure you are not damaging your skin cells. Check your local MediSpa to ensure you are purchasing a medical grade sunscreen to get full physical protection for your face and for your body. Double check the ingredients of the sunscreen to make sure you are getting the proper protection you need. And finally, know that UV exposure happens all year round, no matter what the weather conditions are. So stay safe and use proper sun protection!