There are ample things that we have read and learnt about Spf but it is always exciting to be able to distinguish facts from myths, so through this article, we hope to enlighten you with some of the most essential facts about sunscreen. Read on and find out!
Sunscreen is a product designed to protect the skin from harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun, which can cause skin damage, premature aging, and skin cancer.
There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays can cause long-term damage to the skin, while UVB rays can cause sunburn. Both types of rays can increase the risk of skin cancer. UVA rays have longer wavelengths and can penetrate deeper into the skin, causing long-term damage and premature aging of the skin, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. UVB rays, on the other hand, have shorter wavelengths and can cause sunburn, redness, and inflammation of the skin.
Sunscreen works by absorbing or reflecting UV radiation from the sun before it can penetrate the skin. This protection helps to reduce the risk of sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer.
It's important to note that not all sunscreens are created equal, and some may not provide adequate protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Therefore, it's important to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both types of radiation. Additionally, the effectiveness of a sunscreen depends on the proper application and reapplication, as well as the amount of sunscreen used.
Sunscreens are classified based on their SPF (sun protection factor) value. SPF measures how much protection a sunscreen provides against UVB rays. The higher the SPF value, the more protection it provides. SPF values range from 15 to 100. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is recommended for everyday use. It is also important to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. However, it's important to note that SPF only measures protection against UVB rays, not UVA rays. Therefore, it's important to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
It's also worth mentioning that the actual protection provided by a sunscreen depends on several factors, such as the amount of sunscreen applied, the frequency of application, skin type, and activities performed while wearing the sunscreen (e.g., swimming, sweating, or toweling off). Therefore, it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper application and reapplication.
Sunscreens should be applied at least 15 minutes before going outside to allow time for the product to be absorbed into the skin.
The reason why it's recommended to apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before sun exposure is to allow time for the product to fully bind to the skin and provide effective protection. This time allows the sunscreen to create a barrier on the skin's surface, reducing the amount of UV radiation that can penetrate the skin.
Applying sunscreen too late, while already exposed to the sun, can leave the skin vulnerable to UV radiation, leading to sunburn, premature aging, and other skin damage.
It must be remembered that sunscreen should also be reapplied every two hours or immediately after swimming, sweating, or towel drying. This is because sweating, swimming, and towel drying can remove sunscreen from the skin's surface, reducing its effectiveness. Additionally, excessive sweating and swimming can cause sunscreen to wash away more quickly than normal, requiring more frequent reapplication.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using at least one ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) of sunscreen to cover the entire body. Moreover, sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours or immediately after swimming, sweating, or towel drying.
Sunscreens should be used year-round, even on cloudy or overcast days, as UV rays can penetrate clouds and cause skin damage.
UV radiation is present all year round, regardless of the temperature or cloud cover. Even on cloudy or overcast days, up to 80% of UV radiation can still penetrate through the clouds and reach the skin's surface. This can lead to skin damage, premature aging, and an increased risk of skin cancer.
Therefore, it's important to use sunscreen daily, regardless of the weather or season. This applies even if you're indoors for most of the day, as UVA radiation can also penetrate through windows, such as in an office or car.
It is noteworthy that different locations around the world have different levels of UV radiation, depending on factors such as latitude, altitude, and proximity to the equator. For example, people living in areas closer to the equator tend to have a higher risk of skin damage from UV radiation than those living in more northern or southern regions. Therefore, it's important to be aware of the UV index in your area and take appropriate measures to protect your skin.
Sunscreen should not be used as a replacement for other protective measures, such as wearing protective clothing, hats, and seeking shade. Most sunscreens have an expiration date of 2-3 years from the date of manufacture.
Over time, the effectiveness of sunscreen can degrade, causing it to become less effective in protecting the skin from UV radiation. Factors that can affect the shelf life of sunscreen include exposure to heat and humidity, exposure to air, and contamination with bacteria or other microorganisms. Therefore, it's important to check the expiration date of your sunscreen before using it and not to use it past its expiration date. If the sunscreen does not have an expiration date printed on the packaging or if the expiration date has worn off, it's generally recommended to discard the sunscreen after 3 years from the date of purchase.
It's also vital to understand that some sunscreens may have a recommended period of use after opening. This information is typically indicated by a symbol on the packaging that looks like an open jar with a number on it (e.g., 6M for 6 months). This means that the sunscreen should be discarded after 6 months of use after opening to ensure maximum effectiveness.