The Skinny on Sunscreen: Everything You Need to Know About SPF

Summer is here, which means it’s time to break out the sunscreen! While most people are aware that they should be wearing SPF when spending time in the sun, many people don’t know all of the important details about sunscreen. Read on to learn more about it and why it is so important for your overall skin health.

SPF Basics

Everyone should wear sunscreen when spending time outdoors, no matter their skin tone. The sun’s rays can penetrate through clouds as well, which is why we recommend wearing sunscreen every day. There are some basic things you should look out for when choosing a quality sunscreen for the best protection, including:

The Right SPF

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and it is how we measure the protection from the sun’s UVB rays. SPF 15 will block 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 will block 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%. Experts recommend choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 50, as this will provide sufficient protection.

Broad Spectrum

You will also want to choose a sunscreen that is “broad spectrum”, meaning that it protects from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause signs of aging and UVB rays cause burning and skin cancer.

Different Types of Sunscreen

Did you know that there are different types of sunscreen? The two main types include physical and chemical. Both absorb the sun’s UV rays to prevent skin damage, but physical sunscreen reflects some UV rays. Neither type is better, they simply use different active ingredients. Chemical SPFs usually use actives such as homosalate, whereas physical SPFs contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

You should also take into account other ways to protect your skin from the sun, including seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding UV tanning. By taking these steps, you can avoid sun damage and the risk of skin cancer.

For those that do not wish to wear sunscreen, sun-protective clothing such as rash guards or UV Skinz® are great alternatives. Rash guards are athletic shirts made of spandex and nylon or polyester and protect the wearer from rashes caused by abrasion or sunburn. UV Skinz® is a clothing brand that offers sun protection for the whole family. Their clothing offers UPF 50+ sun protection and blocks 98% of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.

Which Sunscreen is Right for You?

Overall, the best sunscreen for you is the one that you will want to wear every day. There are sunscreens available on the market that are tinted to blend into your skin tone better, scented, made for acne-prone skin, waterproof, and more. They are also available as sprays, sticks, lotions, and gels. No matter what you are looking for, there is a sunscreen out there that is right for you! Also, don’t forget to reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you are swimming or sweating.

Contact Us Today

For more information regarding sun protection and choosing the right sunscreen for you, contact Reserve Dermatology & Aesthetics in Glenview, IL today. Your first step will be to schedule an appointment with Dr. Damstetter.

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