Knowing a little about the SPF system can help you pick out an excellent sunblock or sunscreen. Regular use of sunblock or sunscreen may be the single most important thing you can do, not only to slow the outward signs of aging, but also to protect your health. Products described as Sunblock actually contain ingredients that reflect the sun’s rays away from the body, while sunscreen generally contains ingredients that absorb the sun’s rays like a sponge. Both Sunblock and sunscreen are equally effective.
People should start using sunblock in their earliest years and continue throughout their entire lifespan. Parents should learn what brands are appropriate for the smallest among us.
Any sunblock and sunscreen with SPF 15 or above will help you block out many of the Sun’s most damaging rays. Make sure your product works effectively for the broad spectrum, protecting you against both UVA and UVB radiation. UVA rays are the rays always present, no matter what the weather, and can penetrate clothing, causing damage to your subdermal layers. UVB rays are shorter rays, but are generally responsible for sunburns and visible sun damage.
Numbers can be confusing on the SPF scale and don’t correspond proportionally to increased protection. For example, a product of SPF 15% should block out about 93% of radiation, while SPF 30 products protect against 97%, and products with 50 SPF should block out about 98% of rays. Most experts agree that you should go with an SPF 35 or 40 if you plan on being in the sun for very long.
You should apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside. Then reapply at minimum every two hours and immediately after bathing, swimming, or excessive sweating. Use a generous amount and rub it into the skin completely. Remember to apply your sunscreen on the areas we usually forget, such as behind the ears as well as the lips and tip of the nose.
Also, remember that no sunscreen, no matter what the SPF number, blocks out 100% of rays. Doing as much as possible to protect yourself against the sun’s rays will not only help keep you healthy, but will also help you avoid wrinkles and skin discoloration as you age. For increased protection, you should also try to keep yourself covered, if possible, with long sleeves and wear a hat. Consider driving with light gloves to protect your hands.
Remember that melanoma will affect 1 out of every 54 Americans. Nevertheless, melanoma is usually avoidable if you take the right precautions. Enjoy your time outside, but remember that sunblock or sunscreen itself is not enough!