Skin Protection Against the Sun

New information regarding the effectiveness of sunscreens has come to light. Not all sunscreens block out all harmful rays. Spending a lot of time in the sun heightens the possibilities of skin cancers and wrinkling at an earlier age. When searching for a sun block that provides optimum protection, be sure it blocks both types of ultraviolet light. Also, knowing how to use sunscreens will help prevent premature aging and skin cancers due to prolonged exposure to the sun.

There are two kinds of ultraviolet rays that damage skin, UVA and UVB. When searching among the countless products that claim to block harmful effects of the sun check that both are listed. It’s important to read the label. The sunscreens that protect best against UVAs contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or avobenzone. If one of these is not listed, leave it on the shelf. The lotion should also be water resistant, the claim that a lotion is “water proof” is unsubstantiated and merely a gimmick to get you to buy that particular brand. There are no lotions that completely block the sun’s rays. The Food and Drug Administration has recommended that the word sunscreen be used instead of sun block to clarify the true character of lotions that inhibit the dangers of the sun.

SPF stands for sun protection factor, which refers to the less harmful UVB rays and not the UVA rays. The higher the SPF is the greater the protection. Choose a sunscreen of at least an SPF 30.

How to best use the product for the best protection is not completely covered on most brands of sun lotions. Most sunscreens work in one of three ways, by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering the sun’s rays on skin. Apply sunscreen liberally over the skin at least a half-hour before venturing out into the sun. This gives the skin time to absorb the lotion and the chemical reaction to take place that will hinder the dangers of the sun. The rule of thumb is to apply the lotion liberally, but how much is a liberal amount? For adults, at least 2 tablespoons of lotion applied every 2 hours is necessary, a little less for children. Reapply the sunscreen after swimming or after participating in strenuous activities where sweating occurs.

Just because you don’t burn doesn’t mean you’re safe from wrinkles and skin cancer. The best defense against the injurious effects of the sun are to stay out of the sun as much as possible. Getting a suntan does not protect the skin. In fact, a suntan is the body doing its best to protect itself. Most people want to have the option of playing in the sun and enjoying a sandy, blue sky day at the beach. Be aware of the capabilities of both UVA and UVB rays and the damaging effects they have on skin. Search for a sunscreen that has the best protection available.

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