What is SPF?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and refers to the estimated amount of time you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned. For example, an SPF of 15 would allow you to stay in the sun 15 times longer than you could without protection. Moreover, a higher SPF blocks out more rays. For example, a product with an SPF of 15 will filter out about 93% of UVB rays; SPF 30 filters out about 97%. SPF only applies to UVB rays. There is no SPF equivalent for UVA.
Sunscreen is used to absorb and scatter UVB rays, protecting the skin from them. Sunscreen should be used on a daily basis. It is lightweight and transparent when it's applied. Sunblock contains minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that physically create a barrier against both the suns UVA and UVB rays. It is usually white, thicker and remains visible after you put it on. Many people don’t like using it because it looks like white paint on the skin but it is advisable to use it if you are spending an entire day on the beach.
Liberal Use Is Recommended
Even the most perfect SPF or the best sunblock does not protect against the sun for more than an hour or two. That even includes waterproof and water-resistant sunscreens! So you must follow this skin care tip for keeping sun rays at bay: Always reapply the sunscreen about every hour or so when you are outdoors.
- Select a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for products containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide because they protect against the full spectrum of UVA rays.
- Wear clothes which protect you from the sun. Dark clothing can block nearly all UV radiation and tightly woven fabrics are more protective than loose ones.
- Keep an eye on your skin. Look for new moles or changes in old moles and report any concerns to your dermatologist. Annual skin exams for anyone over 40, or for anyone with fair skin or a history of multiple sunburns are a must.
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