Prepare for Summer by Getting to Know your Sunscreen

With summer just around the corner, you have probably found yourself eyeing the selection of sunscreen at your local retailer. According to research conducted at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, although the majority of us use sunscreen, we know relatively little about this protective product.

What is SPF, Really?

The SPF factor, or sun protection factor, of a sunscreen only tells us how that product filters UVB rays.  Furthermore, what SPF tells us is how long it would take for UV radiation to cause redness. For instance when you wear SPF 15 sunscreen, versus no sunscreen, it will take 15 times longer to develop a sunburn.

What many of us do not know about sunscreen and SPF is that this measurement is only applicable to UVB rays. However, much of the premature aging that goes on is a direct result of UVA exposure. UVA rays will not lead to sunburn, but they will break down collagen fibers beneath the skin. In time, this translates to fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, or sunspots. In order to assure that your sunscreen will provide adequate protection against collagen degradation, look for the words “broad spectrum” on the label. Another important term to look for is the ingredient zinc oxide. This ingredient provides a physical screen instead of just a chemical screen against UV damage.

SPF and UV Filtering

Contrary to how it may sound, SPF 30 sunscreen is not double the power of SPF 15. In fact SPF 15 filters out approximately 93% of UVB rays. SPF 30 filters out only about 4% more. Furthermore only 98% of UVB rays are filtered by an SPF 50 sunscreen. This information can help you avoid spending too much on the sunscreen that provides minimally more protection.

With summer just around the corner, you have probably found yourself eyeing the selection of sunscreen at your local retailer. According to research conducted at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, although the majority of us use sunscreen, we know relatively little about this protective product.

The Bottom Line

Anytime you head outdoors, your skin will be best protected by a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30. To reduce the risk of photo aging and skin cancer, sunscreen should be reapplied every few hours.

To address the signs of aging, contact the team at Aria Medical Spa. We can tailor a program for your unique needs. Anytime you head outdoors, your skin will be best protected by a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30. To reduce the risk of photo aging and skin cancer, sunscreen should be reapplied every few hours.

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