Sunscreen And Skin Health
What are Sunscreens?
Sunscreens prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. Two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB, damage the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer.
UVB causes sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, are involved with wrinkling, leathering, sagging, and other effects of photoaging. They also exacerbate the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays, and increasingly are being seen as a cause of skin cancer on their own. Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UVA and UVB.
How does it work?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. For instance, if it takes 20 minutes for unprotected (without sunscreen) skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen prevents reddening of the skin 15 times longer — about five hours.
In order to maximize the effectiveness of your sunscreen, take the following factors under consideration:
First, no sunscreen, regardless of strength, should be expected to stay effective longer than two hours without reapplication. Second, “reddening” of the skin is a reaction to UVB rays alone and tells you little about what UVA damage you may be getting. Plenty of damage can take place without the red flag of sunburn being raised.
What to look for:
Broad-spectrum sunscreen is recommended because it offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you need stronger, water-resistant, beachwear-type sunscreen that holds together on your skin. The “water resistant” and “very water resistant” types are also good for hot days or while playing sports, because they’re less likely to drip into your eyes. And remember, sunscreen must be reapplied every two hours for maximum protection. Unprotected sun exposure increases the chances of developing skin cancer as well as expedites skin aging.
Sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin. Reapplication of sunscreen is just as important as putting it on in the first place, so reapply the same amount every two hours. Sunscreens should be reapplied immediately after swimming, towelling off, or sweating a great deal.
Wearing sunscreen can cause vitamin D deficiency:
There is some controversy regarding this issue, however, no studies have shown that sunscreens cause vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, vitamin D is available in dietary supplements and foods such as salmon and eggs, as well as enriched milk and orange juice.
If it’s cold or cloudy outside, you don’t need sunscreen:
This is not true. Up to 40 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth on a completely cloudy day. This misperception often leads to the most serious sunburns, because people spend all day outdoors with no protection from the sun.
Enjoy your summer and take care of your best asset: YOU!