How To: Become Sunscreen Savvy
We have all been there. A joyful and sunny day at the pool results in painful and blistery burns. Instead of getting that bronzed glow, your skin adopts a tomato-colored hue. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the leading skin cancer prevention and information organization, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is the sixth most common cancer for females. With those hard statistics and the ‘tan is beautiful’ motto that many girls have, it is a good idea to become fluent in the sunscreen language. Knowledge is power and health is power. Just think of the wonders that the two combined can produce!
Decoding the UV Rays
UV rays are important to understand to become savvy with your sunscreen. Rays are what damage our cell’s DNA, leading to mutations and cancer.
- UVA: We are exposed to these rays the most. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. These rays are less intense than UVB rays. Tanning beds produce mostly UVA rays. Hence why it is known as the “tanning ray” and leads to skin DNA damage. In other words, to be a healthy girl try to limit exposure to UVA rays.
- UVB: The UVB rays are what cause the tomato-colored skin hue that was mentioned earlier. They give burns the red pigment. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UVB rays are most intense between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October. UVB rays attack the outside layer of skin called the epidermis. The advice to take away from this would be to limit exposure between 10 AM and 4 PM and if you must go outside then apply some sunscreen.
SPF stands for sun protection factor. It measures how long it takes for the UVB rays to reach skin and cause a burn. Obviously burns are not ideal, so lather up!
Key SPF Tips
- The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends SPF 15 or higher for adequate protection.
- SPF 50 screens out 98 percent of the UVB rays
- SPF 15 or higher is useful because it protects skin from UVA and UVB rays
- Sunscreen provides a protective layer and deflects rays
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you depart for your outdoor activities for the best protection
- Put enough sunscreen on exposed areas! According to the American Academy of Dermatology, most people only apply 25 to 50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen. They recommend about one ounce to coat your body.
- Sunscreen wears off with sweat and water so remember to reapply about every two hours
With these tips and informative guidelines, you will have the knowledge to protect your skin like every Blissful Belle should.