The sun plays an important role in our daily lives, from powering plants and letting us produce Vitamin D. It separates days to allow our circadian rhythm to work properly. However, as good as the sun is for our biological systems, it can just as well wreak havoc to our skin. In this post, we will talk about the technical aspects of UV radiation and sunscreen.
First of ALL, WHY APPLY SUNBLOCK?
” Don’t waste your time applying sun block!” has anyone ever said that to you? If you like beautiful skin, don’t ever listen to them. The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) light which damages elastin (fibre in skin). Damaged elastin causes skin to sag and stretch, and reduces its ability to return to its original place after stretches. The skin is also more prone to tears and bruises which impedes healing ability.
So to delay premature aging and wrinkles, apply that sunscreen everyday!
How to choose your sunscreen?
Confused about all that labeling on the pharmacy shelf? Fret not, I’m here to help. SPF means sun protection factor – it is a number that is directly related to how well a sunscreen can block UV(B)* radiation. A sunscreen with SPF 20 means it only allows 1/20th of the total UV radiation to pass through when applied at 2milligrams per centimetre square over skin. In other words. What this means is that, in any given day, if your skin gets burned after 20 minutes without sunscreen, with SPF 20 you can stay about 20 times longer under same intensity. However this does not mean you can stay under the sun for 6 hours as perspiration or tissue wiping will remove the sunscreen. Re applying sunscreen every 60-80 minutes is recommended depending on type and activity you are doing.
* – in short, UV-B radiation is the type that is intense during sunny days, and damages the top layer of skin, though it does not penetrate much further than that.
UV-A is the type that can penetrate clouds and is usually less intense, but it can penetrate and damage our muscle tissue as well.
DOES higher SPF numberS mean more protection?
The increase in protection is not exponential as we normally assume.
•15- 1/15 of the UVB rays get through to your skin – blocking about 93%.
•30- 1/30 of the UVB rays get through to your skin – blocking about 97%.
•50- 1/50 of the UVB rays get through to your skin – blocking about 98%.
Therefore, you must make your own decision on how much sunscreen you’ll need to apply, and how often.
What about nasty UV-A?
UV-A are the long rays radiation type that, even though is less intense than UV-B, can reach us by piercing through clouds and glass.
UV-A, also penetrates the skin more deeply than UV-B, contributing to skin aging and wrinkling in the lower layers of the skin. To protect yourself choose sunscreen that states broad spectrum or multi spectrum sunscreen.
TO SUMMARISE :
- Choose an appropriate SPF rating for sunscreen, depending on your activities
- Always reapply GENEROUSLY! Ignore the stares, or annoying comments from surrounding. Who gets the last laugh when you look youthful whereas everyone else looks like a burnt wrinkly prune?
- Make sure you are UV-A protected by choosing board spectrum products.