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Sunscreen Basics

Submitted by Robb Bird on Tue, 05/29/2018 - 11:08

applying sunscreen

The sun is out and Summer is here once again! This means it's time to start looking at sun protection to keep your skin healthy and strong through the years.

A Little Bit About Sunscreen

Sunscreen protects your skin from ultraviolet rays in 2 ways. Some sunscreens work by reflecting light away from your body, others absorb ultra violet light rays before they reach your skin.

Up until a few years ago, choosing a good sunscreen meant you looked for a high sun protection factor (SPF). The SPF rates how well the sunscreen protects against one type of cancer causing ultraviolet ray, UVB.

Ultra violet ray A is the aging ray which doesn’t burn skin but penetrates deeply into skin to cause wrinkles. According to the EPA, 98% of skin changes associated with aging are caused by lifetime exposure to UVA.

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Your Best Sunscreen Options in Arizona

The best sunscreen for sunny Arizona are those with broad spectrum protection for UVA and UVB. An SPF of 15 or higher is good for UVB protection. There is no rating to tell you how good a sunscreen is for blocking UVA rays.

To determine UVA protection, you will need to look at the ingredients. Look for a sunscreen which contains at least one of the following:

  • Ecamsule
  • Avobenzone
  • Oxybenzone
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Zinc oxide

How to Choose a Sunscreen That Fits Your Needs

If you normally burn within 15 minutes of being in the sun, a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 multiplies that by a factor of 10, meaning that you can stay in the sun for up to 150 minutes before burning.

For most people an SPF of 15 is fine. Individuals with very fair skin or a family history of skin cancer need to consider an SPF of 30 or higher.

The higher the SPF, the smaller the increased protection benefit. SPF 30 is not twice as strong as SPF 15. SPF 30 filters out 97% of ultra violet rays. SPF 15 filters out 93%.

No matter how good you are at applying sunscreen, it does not protect you completely. The other things you need to do for complete sun protection include:

Stay safe out there this Summer!