Your Guide to Keeping Skin Healthy in the Sun As the days become longer, the sun shines brighter, and the birds chirp louder, it can only mean one thing— Spring has sprung! Warmer days and more time in the sunshine are just around the corner. But, before you head out to soak up the sun, don’t forget your sunscreen!
SPF, UVA, Zinc— What Does it All Mean??
You may be thinking, “I know I should be wearing sunscreen, but I have no idea where to start!” We understand it can be hard to dissect which SPF is really the most effective and whether or not zinc makes a difference in sun protection, so let’s go over the basics.
What is SPF?
SPF is the measure of how much solar energy (UV radiation) is needed to produce sunburn on protected (with SPF or other coverage) skin relative to the amount of solar energy necessary to produce sunburn on unprotected skin. As the SPF value increases, sunburn protection increases. Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which will block 97 % of the sun’s UVB rays. You need to really sunscreen on yourself and your little ones at least every two hours or more during swimming, sweating and exercising.
UV radiation can come from natural sources like the sun and artificial sources like tanning beds. The sun is the most significant source of UV radiation. UV rays are classified according to wavelength: UVA (longest wavelength), UVB (medium wavelength), and UVC (shortest wavelength). UVA rays are more penetrating than UVB rays, which means that they affect cells much deeper In the skin. UVA rays lead to premature aging and wrinkles and are associated with some skin cancers. The effects of UVA rays appear right away in the form of a suntan or sunburn.
What is UVB?
UVB rays cause damage to the outermost layer of the skin as well as directly damaging DNA. UVB rays are responsible for most skin cancers and also contribute to premature aging. Overexposure to UVB rays causes sunburns. Typically, UVB rays’ effects are delayed or appear a few hours after sun exposure.
How to Fight UVB and UVA Rays?
In order to fight both harmful UVA and UVB rays, you need to find a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection— meaning it has the ability to block UVB and UVA rays.
Why is Zinc Important?
You may notice “Zinc” on a lot of bottles of sunscreen, but what does zinc have to do with sun protection anyway? Research has found the ingredients in some chemical sunscreens can be absorbed into the blood. Zinc oxide is one of two sunscreen ingredients (the other is titanium dioxide) recognized as “safe and effective” by the FDA.
Sunscreen’s Beauty Benefits
We all know that wearing SPF is extremely important to protect our skin from damage and cancer, but SPF has some pretty impressive beauty benefits too, including:
Fights signs of aging: UV rays cause the skin to undergo a process known as photoaging, which is responsible for the thick, leathery, discolored skin associated with sun damage. Photoaging also leads to a breakdown of collagen, contributes to fine lines, wrinkles, and saggy skin! What’s more, studies show that people 55 and younger who use SPF regularly have a 24% less chance of developing these signs of aging than people who don’t.
Sunscreen helps maintain even skin tone: Did you know that your SPF can also help prevent discoloration and dark “sun spots?” This leads to smoother and more even skin tone.
Protecting Your Skin in the Spring and Summer Months
We understand that it’s not possible to avoid the sun entirely— especially if you have little ones who love the pool and their Saturday morning soccer matches. Here’s what to do to ensure protection for you and your family:
Cover up Clothing can actually provide some protection from UV exposure. Try to find lightly colored, long sleeve shirts with thin fabrics to offer sun protection without too much heavy material that will lead to overheating. There are even some companies that specialize in UV-protection clothing. Hats are also perfect for protecting the face, ears, and sometimes shoulders (depending on your hat’s size) from the sun. Sunglasses are another option that offers UV protection to protect the sensitive skin around your eyes from sun damage.
Stay in the Shade
Try to limit your exposure to direct sunlight as much as possible by staying in the shade when you can. UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so it’s especially important during that time to find some shade.
As we mentioned, you should wear an SPF of at least 30, and don’t forget to reapply every two hours or sooner if you are sweating or swimming.
The bottom line is to fight signs of aging, keep your skin healthy and glowing, and prevent skin cancer; you need to be using a strong SPF daily. For any other skin concerns and questions, count on the skincare experts at Wink iBoutique. If the warmer weather still has you hankering for a healthy glow, we also offer spray tanning services in Town & Country, to achieve the glow of the sun without the damaging side effects.