“WHY IS SPF ESSENTIAL FOR EVERYDAY SKINCARE?”
Guest Blog Post By Noor UI Ain, Biochemist and Molecular Biologist
In the United States, skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer, do you know that? Due to the country's diverse geography and climate, it has become a significant concern. The two most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The most aggressive type is melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer that originates in melanocytes, the cells that are responsible for producing melanin.
Various organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology, the Skin Cancer Foundation, and the American Cancer Society, recommend the use of sunscreen (SPF) during the daytime. Applying sunscreen with an appropriate SPF can protect you from skin cancer. Let's discuss the role of SPF in your skincare and why it must be included in your daytime skincare.
WHAT IS SPF AND HOW IT WORKS?
SPF stands for sun protection factor. The term refers to the degree of protection a product provides against the sun's harmful radiation.
The SPF number is the measure of how well you can protect yourself from the sun without getting sunburned.
SPF primarily measures protection against UVB rays. Broad‐spectrum sunscreen can provide protection against UVB and UVA rays.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF UV RAYS AND THEIR EFFECTS ON THE SKIN:
There are two types of UV rays.
- UVA rays are the primary cause of skin aging, fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots.
- These can pass through windows and cloud cover, so you're exposed to UVA even if you're indoors.
- Normally, it’s not responsible for immediate sunburn, but prolonged exposure can lead to skin cancer.
- UVB rays are the primary source of skin burns and are involved in the tanning process.
- Its intensity is highest during the day and in the summer months.
- Exposure to these radiations significantly contributes to skin cancer.
- As UVB rays are mostly responsible for sunburn, applying products with a high SPF rating can shield your skin.
SPF NUMBER: WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT MATTERS?
Normally, SPF ranges from 15 to 100 or more. SPF 15 provides better protection against UVB rays, while dermatologists often recommend SPF 30 for higher protection. SPF 50 and SPF 100 offers the highest level of protection.
WHY DERMATOLOGISTS DON'T RECOMMEND SPF 100 ?
Dermatologists don't recommend the use of SPF 100 because it can give people a false sense of complete protection, leading them to stay in the sun for extended periods. Remember, no sunscreen can provide 100% protection.
“There are a lot of limitations with SPF numbers. People often mistakenly think they can’t get sunburned or they can be out in the sun for much longer than is safe if they put on SPF 100 sunscreen.”
DOES HIGHER SPF MEAN TWICE THE PROTECTION?
It's possible to say yes, but there's a limit. An SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93% of UVB radiation, an SPF 30 blocks 97%, SPF 50 blocks 98% , and SPF 100 stops 99% of UVB rays from reaching your skin.
WHY SPF IS IMPORTANT FOR ALL SKIN TYPES?
Sunscreen should be a crucial step in every skincare routine; regardless of whether you have dry, sensitive, oily, or combination skin. All skin types require protection, so It's essential to incorporate it.
The amount of SPF you need depends on your skin type and the amount of sun exposure you expect to get. If you have fair skin or are going to be spending a lot of time in the sun, you should choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. If you have darker skin or will be in the shade most of the time, you may be able to get away with an SPF of 15.
Non-comedogenic sunscreens won't clog your pores. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, it's important to choose a non-comedogenic sunscreen.
HOW MANY TIMES A DAY DO YOU NEED TO APPLY SUNSCREEN?
Usually, sunscreen loses its effectiveness after 2 hours; you would need to apply sunscreen every two hours to keep your skin protected. Even if you're working indoors, sunscreen is a must.
If you're going to be swimming or sweating, you'll need a water-resistant sunscreen. Look for a sunscreen that is labeled "water resistant" for at least 40 minutes.
YOU'RE HAVING CONCERNS RELATED TO VTAMIN D DEFICIENCY?
As we all know, exposure to sun rays can greatly increase vitamin D production in our bodies, so you might get concerned about vitamin D status in your body if you apply sunscreen. Research conducted in 2019 explained by this theory:
“Use of daily broad‐spectrum sunscreens with high ultraviolet (UV) A protection will not compromise vitamin D status in healthy people.”
( Thierry, et.al.British Journal of Dermatology, 2019)
HOW MUCH SUNSCREEN TO APPLY?
- Always look at the specific recommendations on sunscreen products, as formulations vary from product to product.
- Apply sunscreen all over your face, arms, and any exposed area so it covers the entire surface.
- Around 30 milliliters of sunscreen would be enough to protect your face, arms, neck, and legs.
- Don't forget to apply sunscreen to your lips, eyelids, and ears.
People don't pay attention to these invisible cancer-causing factors and might think that exposure directly to UV radiation can be beneficial for them. There are a lot of studies that focus on the use of sunscreen in your daily routine. Not only in the USA, it is recommended all over the world. It's for your safety.
SPF with an adequate SPF number can not only reduce the risk of skin cancer, such as melanoma, but also prevent skin tanning. Always put SPF in your shopping bags whenever you go out to a market!
If you've got any questions, feel free to leave a question below. Our team of experts is here to assist you in your skincare routine; they can guide you to use the best sunscreen for your skin type. It's always better to consult a skincare professional instead of experimenting by yourself.
By taking our virtual consultations, you can take care of your skin anywhere in the world whether you're in America, Germany, England, or any other country. Always remember to love your skin!
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