How does sunscreen function? Sunscreen can occasionally seem a little complicated, but once you understand it, it’s not… Consider this your little SPF cheat sheet in case you ever need it. Here, we address the most frequently asked questions we get about it.
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What is SPF?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It is a measure of how well a sunscreen product can protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays. The SPF rating indicates the amount of UVB radiation that a sunscreen can block.
What do SPF numbers mean?
The numbers on your sunscreen tube tell you how long it would take for the UV rays of the sun to burn your skin if you used it as recommended. For instance, if you were wearing SPF 30, it would take you 30 times longer to burn than it would if you weren’t. Also, each number will shield your skin from a specific proportion of the sun’s UVB (burning) rays. Just to be clear, SPF ratings are dependent on many circumstances and skin types (for example, the SPF rating won’t last as long if you’re swimming outside or have extremely oily skin). Also, this number is not limitless; you must reapply after the protection expires after two hours.
UVB radiation is the type of radiation that causes sunburn and contributes to skin cancer. Sunscreens with higher SPF ratings provide more protection against UVB radiation. For example, a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will block about 97% of UVB radiation, while a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 will block about 98% of UVB radiation.
It is important to note that SPF only measures protection against UVB radiation, not UVA radiation. UVA radiation is another type of radiation that can also cause skin damage and contribute to skin cancer. Sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB radiation are called broad-spectrum sunscreens.
How does sunscreen work?
Sunscreens function by utilizing specific active ingredients (mineral or chemical) to absorb the sun’s harmful UV radiation. Avobenzone, homosalate, and octocrylene are a few examples of chemical SPF actives, while zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are examples of mineral SPF actives. Together with absorbing UV rays, these two mineral actives will also assist in protecting your skin by reflecting part of it.
3rd Rock Essentials offers a range of skincare products, including sunscreens, moisturizers, and balms. The company’s sunscreens are made using natural mineral ingredients such as zinc oxide, which provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB radiation. The sunscreens are also water-resistant and safe for use on sensitive skin. Apply the 3rd Rock Essentials Coupon Code for greater savings.
What’s the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
UVA and UVB are both types of ultraviolet radiation that are emitted by the sun. While both UVA and UVB radiation can damage the skin and contribute to skin cancer, they have some important differences.
UVA radiation is longer in wavelength and can penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB radiation. UVA radiation is present all day long, and it can even penetrate through clouds and glass. UVA radiation can cause skin damage, and premature ageing, and contribute to the development of skin cancer. UVA radiation is also responsible for tanning.
UVB radiation, on the other hand, has a shorter wavelength and is more intense than UVA radiation. UVB radiation is the primary cause of sunburn, and it can also contribute to the development of skin cancer. UVB radiation is strongest during the summer months and during the middle of the day.
How much sunscreen should I apply?
It is recommended to use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and to reapply every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating. In addition to using sunscreen, it is also recommended to wear protective clothing, seek shade, and avoid sun exposure during peak hours (10 am to 4 pm) to further protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
How can I know that my sunscreen will protect me?
To ensure that your sunscreen will protect you, there are several things to look for:
- Check the SPF rating: Look for a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, which will provide adequate protection against UVB radiation.
- Look for “broad-spectrum” on the label: A broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect against both UVA and UVB radiation.
- Check the ingredients: Look for ingredients such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, or Mexoryl SX, which are effective at blocking UVA and/or UVB radiation.
- Apply enough sunscreen: Use about 1 ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) to cover your entire body. Apply the sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside, and reapply every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating.
- Check the expiration date: Sunscreen can lose its effectiveness over time, so check the expiration date on the bottle and replace it if it has expired.
- Be consistent: Use sunscreen every day, even on cloudy or overcast days, as UV radiation can still penetrate through clouds and cause skin damage.
By following these guidelines and using high-quality sunscreen, you can help protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays.