The most important skincare article you’ll ever read on advicesisters.com Part I #SunFacts #SPF #Health

Today’s feature is the most important sunscreen article you’ll ever read on advicesisters.com this year.  This is Part I.  It features sun facts you must know.  And following that, in  PART II – a review of 7 unique sunscreens ,  I’ll be offering suggestions for a variety of different products that offer broad spectrum sun block protection.   Sunscreens come in all types and in all price points, but the best product for you is the one that you will actually wear. I hope that you will read all of the sun protection facts in Part I which is on this page, and then go to PART II  and find a sun screen product (at least one) that suits you. Find it, buy it, and use it.  What you can’t see can harm you!

 

I know!  My family were avid sailors and I started going with them when I was a toddler. Even though I have fair skin I never used sunblock. I didn’t even wear a hat, or sunglasses very often. Although I am careful today, my skin shows sun damage that I could have avoided.   Sun damage ages your skin, but it can also cause skin cancer with lethal consequences (a skin cancer the size of a dime can be lethal). While much of  a person’s sun damage occurs when they are young,  no matter what your age or skin condition now, you can stop future damage — starting today! It might be getting late in the Summer season, but the sun is out 365 days a year.

 PLEASE READ AND SHARE THESE IMPORTANT SUN PROTECTION FACTS !

 

mother with kids and sun blockRight or Wrong?    The new SPF regulations don’t make any difference  — sunscreens are always going to make my face break out sun protection is pretty much all the same –right???   If I wear a facial product (e.g. tinted moisturizer) with SPF in it, I’m well protected –right?  It’s cloudy (or I’m just going outside for a few minutes) so I can skip the SPF protection –right?   The Summer is over, so I don’t need to wear sun screen anymore –right?

If you answered “Wrong” to all of these, you get 100%!

 

What’s UVA and UVB?  

UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, and can pass through window glass.   UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburn and are blocked by window glass.  UVA rays are Low Energy/ Long Wavelength (400 – 315 nm) and are the same all year round.  UVB rays are   High Energy/• Medium Wavelength (315 – 280 nm). They are the ones that cause sunburn, and have higher levels in the summer.

What is SPF?

SPF means: “Sun Protection Factor.”  It is a numeric measure of the amount of time you can spend in the sun before it will show signs of redness when exposed to UVB light. For example, an SPF of 15 screens out about 93% of the sun’s damaging UV rays; an SPF 30 screens out 98% of UV rays. There are sun screens I’ve seen that are SPF 80 and above, but just because the SPF number is much higher than 30 doesn’t mean that the protection goes up, exponentially (an SPF of 30 should be sufficient for most people, for most activities).  Although using a high SPF is good, some people can be sensitive to high levels of the ingredients in sun protection. Use  what works best for your skin.

Tan Skin is Not Protected!

Despite the look of a golden tan or deep skin tone, being “brown” doesn’t mean you can’t burn or worse, develop skin cancers. Worse, self-tanners and bronzers do not provide any protection against the sun’s rays,  unless an SPF is specifically mentioned. You must apply or use a sunblock or sunscreen that has an SPF rating (UPF if you are talking about clothing–some fabric has the ability to shield your skin with the equivalent sun protection of SPF 50). This is true,  whether you look tan or have a dark complexion, , or not. Most experts suggest that you use a product with at least SPF 15 (I personally go for SPF 30). 

Apply Sun Protection Properly, and Regularly:

How much sun protection  do you need to apply to your entire body to truly protect it? A lot more than you might think — at least one full ounce.  Your face requires about a teaspoon of sunscreen for the best coverage, while your arms and legs require about a tablespoon.  Any part of your body including ears, lips and scalp that is not covered by a hat or dense, dark clothing, needs to be covered. And that’s just for starters.  You’ll need to re-apply it again within the amount of time suggested on the product packaging, and more often if you are perspiring, are very active, are rubbing your skin, or are exposed to water. There are sweat and water-resistant types of products as well, but these still must be re-applied at regularly intervals.  Choose what is right for you, depending upon the environment and activity you’re going to be doing.   Some sun-protection ingredients may take as long as a half and hour to bind with your skin and properly protect you. 

Read the Labels:

Not all sunsafe products are appropriate for every skin type or condition. Some common sun protection ingredients may cause irritation in some people.  Read the labels carefully, learn about the ingredients, and and consult with your doctor if you are unsure whether a product is right for you. AND:  check the expiration dates, as sun protection products can lose their efficiency, with age.  It is best to toss anything more than six months old. If any product has changed in consistency or smell, toss it immediately. 

Should You Use Chemical or Physical?  You can choose from chemical sunscreens that reduce UV light penetration through the epidermis of your skin by absorbing UV radiation within specific wavelength ranges, or use a physical sunscreen agent that minimizes UV penetration by creating an epidermal physical barrier that reflects, scatters and even partially absorbs and/or blocks UV and visible radiation. Physical Sunscreens (Mineral Based) include;  Titanium Dioxide abd  Zinc Oxide. Chemical Sunscreens are known by names such as: Avobenzone,  Octinoxate,  Octisalate,  Homosalate, and  Octocrylene
The Sun Shines 365 Days a Year:  Keep in mind that the sun hits everywhere you are exposed, so don’t just apply product on legs, lips, arms, neck, back, chest & front of body but also where your bathing suit or pants line is (if you’re reaching or bending over), and on your ears, inside of knees and arms, front and back of feet, and your hairline (and the exposed areas of your head, if you are bald or balding). Also remember that the sun is strongest between the hours of 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, so be extra sure to protect yourself then!
 SunSafe Tips For Men: Shaving opens up your new skin to sun damage so protect that new skin! Buy a fresh product (not the one that’s been sitting in your drawer for years) and apply it properly. Men with bald heads leave that skin constantly exposed to the sun, causing flaking, irritation, and redness. SPF sprays give your head a  thorough (but light) coating. Another option is to wear a hat. Wear SPF on your face, and good quality sun glasses to prevent damage to the eyes, headaches, and avoid premature wrinkles. 

 

A GOOD PRACTICE FOR EVERYONE: Check your skin regularly for unusual moles or skin changes, and see a dermatologist immediately if you find any.  A quick check could save your life.

As I said above (but it bears repeating):  when it comes to sunscreens, the best product for you is the one that you will actually wear. I hope that you will read our review of 9 unique sunscreens. Find a sun screen product (at least one) that suits you, buy it, and use it.  Feel free to add your favorite sun protection product suggestions below in our comments section so other readers can find products that YOU recommend.   (Alison Blackman Dunham Editor-in-Chief, The Advice Sisters)


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About Advicesisters

Alison Blackman Dunham aka. “Advice Sister Alison” and “The Advice Sisters” is a writer, photographer, online advisor, and lifestyles consultant. She has built her reputation offering readers a unique perspective on life, in print, in person and through the camera lens. Her focus is on advice, beauty, fashion, lifestyles, relationships and things that help make life easier, more successful and more fun. Please follow Alison on Twitter @advicesisters and check out her other web (advice-related) sites: leatherandlaceadvice.com & leatherandlacespice.com

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