ANATOMY OF SUNSCREEN - WHAT IS SPF?

ANATOMY OF SUNSCREEN - WHAT IS SPF?

ANATOMY OF SUNSCREEN - WHAT IS SPF?

Let’s make skin cancer awareness month every month of the year!


Why?


Because it is the most common cancer worldwide. Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma. An estimated 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun according to www.skincancer.org. And 1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime?


That’s why. LET’S CHANGE THAT!


Selecting a sunscreen that you’re willing to wear daily is the single most important long-term anti-aging and cancer prevention decision you can make!!!


The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), FDA, Skin Cancer Foundation and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) all recommend daily sun protection to prevent the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.


While it is important to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen daily and reapply every 2 hours, most people don’t because they dislike the way it feels, smells, or because it interferes with makeup application. Others believe SPF in their foundation or makeup will provide necessary coverage.


While makeup and powders with SPF are great for “touch-up” during the day, they should not be trusted to provide uniform protection over the entire face (or body).


Keep in mind that the U.​S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates all sunscreens, including any cosmetic or personal care product labeled with an SPF, as over-the-counter (OTC) drug products. This requires all applicable sunscreen products to conform to OTC drug regulations, as far as labeling, testing, permitted active ingredients, etc.


WHAT EXACTLY IS SPF?


SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the number beside it indicates how well the sunscreen protects skin against sunburn.


It is not an indicator of how long you can stay out in the sun, rather, it indicates how much longer it takes untanned skin to start to redden with sunscreen applied compared to how long it rakes to start reddening without it (science.org/au).


To get the SPF number, a simple formula is used. The number of seconds it takes for skin to slightly redden when covered in sunscreen is divided by the number of seconds it takes to slightly redden when there is no sunscreen applied.


Say it took 300 seconds for the skin to burn with sunscreen, and 10 seconds to burn without it. 300 is divided by 10, which is 30. The SPF is 30.


THE UV THREAT


UV radiation is a form of energy that comes from the sun. UV light is split into three types: UVA, UVB, and UVC.

UVC rays are harmless because they are the shortest wavelength and do not reach us here on earth.

UVB rays cause changes to the skin’s surface such as tanning and sunburns. UVB rays can burn the skin at any time, but there is a higher chance for those that live closer to the equator, at higher altitudes, or when the rays reflect off surfaces such as ocean water, sand, or even pavement.


A sunburn is the skin’s reaction to too much UV light exposure. Melanin is the pigment in the outer layers of the skin that gives us our natural color. When exposed to UV light, our bodies work overtime to produce more melanin. The “tan” is the body’s natural defense mechanism to prevent deeper skin damage from the sun’s rays. Prolonged UV light exposure will cause the skin to eventually burn.


Both UVA and UVB exposure cause damage to the body, and therefore contribute to a higher risk of developing skin cancer.


UVA radiation makes up 95% of all the UV rays that make it to the Earth’s surface. UVA penetrates deep into our skin and can even pass through glass.


UVA rays are the longest wavelength that causes changes deeper in the skin layers, such as aging and wrinkling. UVA damages the collagen and elastin in the skin and generates free radicals.


Do I have your attention now? And then there is digital aging caused by blue light … but that’s a topic for another time.


THE DIFFERENCE: CHEMICAL versus PHYSICAL SPF


CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN absorbs UV rays and converts them to heat, which is then released by the skin.


MINERAL SUNSCREENS create a barrier that blocks and reflects UV rays before they reach the skin’s surface.


IS ONE BETTER THAN THE OTHER?


No, it is just a personal preference.


LONG STORY SHORT

Scientific data overwhelmingly tells us that daily sunscreen use makes a profound improvement in skin health. Establishing and practicing sun-safe habits from an early age is imperative to protect against skin aging and cancer.


Ensure to apply adequate amounts of SPF and cover all your bases from the face, neck, décolleté, behind the neck and behind the ears, and on top of your ears (and every piece of skin exposed below that).


SPF sticks are great for using on-the-go on hands.


And always check the expiration date, even at the time of purchase!


Skincare is Healthcare!

Be kind to your skin.

You'll wear it every day for the rest of your life.


If you are a runner, check out my previous blog “Skin Safety Tips for Runners.” 


If you would like to learn more on how to treat your skin on a daily basis for a skin you love or need guidance in choosing an SPF you will love to wear, e-mail us [email protected] or visit the website www.SkinFitRox.com

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