By now, you’ve probably seen pictures of what can happen from too much sun exposure; skin cancer, ugly brown splotches, and wrinkles! So why all the confusion about SPF (Sun Protection Factor)? You just slather it on when you’re at the beach or by the pool and you don’t have to worry about looking twice your age, right?
Well, not exactly; it’s a bit more complicated. When determining which SPF is best for you, consider factors such as skin type, patience (in other words, are you really going to wait 30 minutes to go outside?), skin tone, skin concerns, and texture preference.
There is a massive amount of contradicting information about SPF from different sources (magazine articles, blogs, TV talk shows), so let’s clear things up here and now!
SPF Myths Debunked
Myth 1: Only Caucasians and other people with lighter skin tones need to worry about sun damage.
Fact: While, yes, darker tones have more natural protection because of melanin than lighter ones, NO ONE is exempt from sun damage.
Tip: To prevent SPF from leaving a whitish cast on your darker skin, simply warm it up in your hands for a minute before applying.
Myth 2: We need all the sun we can get for its Vitamin D power.
Fact: Yes, of course, the sun has many positive effects on the body, such as bone strengthening and mood elevation. The problem is that you only need about 20 minutes of sun exposure to get your daily dose of Vitamin D and, since no SPF provides 100% protection, there will always be rays that sneak through to impact the skin. If you are still concerned, a daily supplement of vitamin D is a good way to make sure you stay healthy. Just remember to ask your doctor which dosage is right for you; vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, which means that your body stores it instead of eliminating the excess as it does with water-soluble vitamins like C.
Myth 3: When it comes to sunscreen, the higher the SPF the better.
Fact: Only up to a point. SPF 30 absorbs 97% of the sun’s burning UV rays, while SPF 50 absorbs just slightly more – 98%. As long as you choose at least SPF 30, and reapply every 2 hours during prolonged sun exposure, such as by the beach or pool, you’re good. A higher SPF such as 60 or even 100 won’t hurt you; it’s just giving you a false sense of security.
Choosing the right formula of SPF is also important. There are 2 main types; chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens (those with the ingredients Octylcrylene, Avobenzone, Helioplex, and Mexoryl) absorb the sun’s rays so your skin does not and filter out both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays, so they are helpful if you’re trying to prevent premature aging, and must be applied at least 20 to 30 minutes before sun exposure to give it time to absorb into your skin in order for it to be most effective.
Physical sunscreens (those with ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) do not need time to absorb into your skin because they stay on the surface and simply reflect sunlight away from your skin, like a mirror. These are often better for people with acne or blackheads because they do not absorb into the skin and will not clog pores.
Note: If you choose to use a physical blocker, make sure you choose one with either zinc oxide or both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, as titanium dioxide protects against UVB rays only, not UVA.
Confused yet? When in doubt, choose a sunscreen labeled “Broad spectrum” as it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays!
Myth 4: A base tan prevents sun damage.
Fact: This is like saying eating a scoop of ice cream before a larger dessert will prevent you from gaining weight! Wouldn’t that be nice? In reality, there’s no such thing as a “safe” tan. UV rays damage the DNA of your cells and your body reacts by sending melanin, or pigment, to the surface of your skin. So that “healthy glow” is actually your skin being damaged.
Myth 5: You don’t need to wear sunscreen in the winter or on a cloudy day.
Fact: Guess what? The sun is still there behind those clouds and clouds are not opaque; they filter the sun but definitely do not block it.
Myth 6: Tanning beds are safer than actual sun.
Fact: This is a big FALSE! Tanning beds are actually giving you a much higher dose of dangerous UV rays than you would get at the beach or poolside. Why do you think you get the same tan in 10 minutes as you would in an hour at the beach?
Myth 7: If my sunscreen is waterproof, I don’t have to reapply after swimming.
Fact: Sunscreens are really water-resistant, not water or sweat-proof, and should still be reapplied after swimming or heavy sweating. I personally love the Supergoop PLAY Antioxidant Body Mists with Vitamin C because they’re lightweight and are super easy and fast to use; you can even spray them over makeup!
Listed throughout this post are some of the best anti-aging sunscreens available.
How to Apply Sunscreen
Click HERE for a quick video on how to properly apply sunscreen.
No matter what color skin you have, what kind of SPF you choose, or how much sun exposure you get, a yearly mole patrol with the dermatologist is an absolute must! Moles can be a warning sign of skin cancer. To find one in your area, contact your insurance company or click HERE for professional information on dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
How to Select Sunscreen
Need additional help on how to select sunscreen? Click HERE.
Protect the skin you’re in. It’s the only one you have!
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#sunblock #summer #suncare #glowingskin #sun #protectyourskin
The Cultured Curves Team
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