Practice Safe Sun: The FYI on SPF
Have you made the acquaintance of SPF for year-round protection?
Well, let us introduce you…..
What is SPF?
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) displayed on sunscreen labels ranges anywhere from as low as 2 to as high as 100 and refers to the product’s ability to screen or block out the sun’s harmful rays.
Here’s how it works: If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer – about five hours. Consumers need to be aware that SPF protection does not increase proportionally with an increased SPF number. While an SPF of 2 will block 50% of ultraviolet radiation, an SPF of 15 blocks 93% and an SPF of 30 block 95%.
Make SPF Your BFF
The Foundation of Healthy Skin
- Dermatologists strongly recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF 15 – SPF 30 year-round for all skin types.
- The sun’s rays know no bounds – SPF is imperative every day of every season. If you’re shades and blinds are open, you’re exposed to the sun’s harmful rays. Daytime activities of driving, running errands, walking the dog, etc… expose you to the sun. Even the cloudiest days aren’t enough to protect you from the sun. Apply SPF daily to every area that is exposed.
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to sun exposure so it can effectively protect you against the sun’s harmful rays.
- Make sure to protect more than your face! Apply to your ears, neck, decollete, hands – any and every area that is exposed to the sun.
- Always apply before your makeup and after your moisturizer.
- Generally speaking, if you are in the sun for a prolonged (more than 20 minutes) amount of time, re-apply your SPF every hour to ensure maximum protection.
- Waterproof? Not really…. SPF can only withstand so much perspiration, clhorine, fresh water and salt water, so reapply these types of sunscreens every hour as well.
- Be sure to cover often-missed spots: lips, ears, around eyes, neck, scalp if hair is thinning, hands, and feet.
- Choose a PABA free broad-spectrum (providing proportional protection against UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen.
The SPF Alphabet
UVA, UVB, and the ABCDEs
- UVA (Aging Rays – those rays that penetrate deeper into the skin and are the culprits in premature aging and wrinkling of the skin) and UVB (Burning Rays – the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers.) are both equally harmful to the skin.
- By damaging the skin’s cellular DNA, excessive UV radiation produces genetic mutations that can lead to skin cancer.
- Many experts believe that, especially for fair-skinned people, UV radiation also frequently plays a key role in melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, which kills more than 8,000 Americans each year.
- Tanning beds expose you to 100x more UVA rays than the sun.
- Your risk of melanoma increases by 75% when you use tanning beds before the age of 35.
- Last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer shifted indoor tanning devices to the highest cancer risk category: “carcinogenic to humans.” They were formerly classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
- Tanning can be addictive. For some people, UV radiation can have a druglike effect; they feel dependent on it and can experience withdrawal symptoms.
- Not only are tanning-bed users more vulnerable to melanoma, they’re also 2½ times more likely to be diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma and 1½ times more susceptible to basal cell carcinoma.
- Look for the ABCDEs of melanoma, and if you see one or more, make an appointment with a physician immediately.
|Asymmetric: If you draw a line through this mole, the two halves will not match.|
|Border: The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.|
|Color: Having a variety of colors is another warning signal. A number of different shades of brown, tan or black could appear. A melanoma may also become red, blue or some other color.|
|Diameter: Melanomas usually are larger in diameter than the size of the eraser on your pencil (1/4 inch or 6 mm), but they may sometimes be smaller when first detected.|
|Evolving: Any change – in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting – points to danger.|
Radiant, healthy skin can be yours by employing these practices into your daily regimen. We think this is the beginning pf beautiful friendship.
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