It is summer time, the time for vacations on the sea coast! Do not forget to take a sunscreen with you! Sunscreens help to protect your skin from sun’s hazardous ultraviolet (UV) rays. There are two types of sunsreen:
1. sunscreens that absorb the UV rays before they reach your skin;
2. sunscreens that disperse the light and reflect it away from your skin.
Several years ago choosing sunscreen was limited to searching for one with an appropriate SPF (sun protection factor) which refers to blockage of UVB (ultraviolet B) rays. The higher the number is, the higher the protection. UVB rays are dangerous as they cause cancer. Also there are UVA rays, which do not cause sunburn but also increase risks for cancer. UVA rays do enter deeply in the skin and cause wrinkles. Yeah, they cause wrinkles…. Moreover, studies found that 90% of aging changes in skin occur due to exposure to UVA rays.
Now you understand that your sunscreen should protect you from both UVB and UVA rays! In order to protect your skin from UVB rays, pay attention to SPF numbers.
Let us take a sunburn with SPF 15. If you usually burn in 10 minutes, SPF 15 multiplies that by a factor of 15, meaning you stay under the sun for 150 minutes before burning. For the majority of people SPF 15 is ok, but people with a very pale skin should use SPF 30 or higher. However, SPF 30 does not mean two times better protection than SPF 15, because SPF 30 filters out 97% of UVB and SPF 15 filters out 93%. Not a big difference.
In order to protect your skin from UVA rays your sunscreen should have at least one of next ingredients:
1. ecamsule, which blocks UVA. It was recently approved and is expensive;
2. titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are known for a long time and are cheap;
Water resistent or not? You should know that water-resistent sunscreens keep their SPF level after 40 minutes in the water. Suncreens are not water-proof and you will need to reapply it regularly.