At times, sitting out under the warmth of sun, relaxing or maybe even reading a book, can feel wonderful. Enlightening even. But, the sun’s rays can cause irreparable damage to our skin. And this damage could be as simple as a minor sun burn or, in cases of prolonged exposure, as serious as skin cancer. That’s why it’s so important to use sunscreen.
Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV lights. Broad-Spectrum sunscreens, which are made by many different brands, should protect your skin from both UVA rays (UVA rays can prematurely age your skin—cause wrinkling and even age spots) and UVB rays (these are responsible for your common sunburn). Long term exposure to both UVA and UVB can cause skin cancer.
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When you go to buy sunscreen check that the SPF rating (for those of you who don’t know, SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor”, and that number is based on a predetermined scale of how well the sunscreen will protect the skin from burning) is at least an SPF of 15. The SPF rating itself is calculated by the manufacturer and determines how much time it would take skin that’s been treated with sunscreen to burn. Now, this doesn’t mean that a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 is twice as bad as a sunscreen at SPF 30. It is best to go with a sunscreen with a higher SPF (there are studies showing that sunscreens 35 SPF and above are practically identical in performance) and if possible, you should always purchase a sunscreen that protects your skin from both UVA and UVB Rays.
Use sunscreen liberally. If you are planning on swimming or doing an activity where you might sweat away some of the sunscreen then apply it both liberally and apply it often. Don’t assume that one application of sunscreen in the morning will last the entire day. There are also sunscreens that claim to be waterproof, but this only means that they can withstand a certain SPF protection while a person is in the water, however, like all sunscreens, it will become less effective with time and need to be reapplied.