Sunscreen & Suntan Lotion
We all know about the potentially harmful effects of the sun’s rays, but sunshine is also very good for your body. Spending just 20 minutes a day in the sun can deliver a healthy dose of Vitamin D and rejuvenate you both physically and mentally. However, be sure to protect yourself before you enjoy some time in the sun.
There are two types of sun rays that can damage your skin if left unprotected: UVA and UVB. In order to protect your skin against both you will need to use a broad spectrum sunscreen. UVA rays can cause more damage than UVB rays since they penetrate the layers of the skin more deeply. UVA rays are the primary cause of sun burn, prematurely aging skin, wrinkling, and even skin cancer. One in five people will develop skin cancer due to sun exposure, but you can reduce your risk by 80% through proper use of sun care products.
About 30 minutes before you plan on being in the sun, apply sunscreen to all exposed areas. This window will give your skin ample time to absorb the lotion in order to provide adequate protection. A good sunscreen should only need to be reapplied every two hours, more frequently if you are engaged in active sweating or water based activities. A water resistant sunscreen like Sun Bum can keep you safe longer, even up to 80 minutes in the water.
Even on cloudy days, 90% of UV rays can still penetrate cloud cover so sunscreen is still required. The reflection of the sun off of water or snow can also increase sun exposure by upwards of 50% and make UV levels increase by an increment 4% for every 1000 feet of increased altitude.
To help reduce the potential risk of skin cancer, it is important to protect your skin with a product that has at least an SPF rating of 15 or higher. In addition to sunscreen use, you can also protect yourself by covering with clothing, a hat, UV blocking sunglasses, and try to spend time in the shade under an umbrella when lounging at the beach.
SPF ratings are a measure of how much the sun’s rays are blocked with sunscreen. With an SPF of 15, 93% of the sun’s rays are blocked | SPF 30 = 97% | SPF 50 = 98%. If you are looking for ample protection but would also like to get a tan, a lower SPF rating is a good choice.
Don’t be conservative when applying sunscreen. SPF ratings are significantly reduced when insufficient sunscreen is applied. It’s estimated that most people only apply a third of the sunscreen they actually need. Don’t forget to get the hard to reach areas like your upper back and easily neglected areas like the ears and tops of the feet.