Let’s talk sunscreen and SPF. SPF stands for “sun protection factor.” Sunscreen labels have an SPF number. The higher the number, the better the protection, but not in a linear fashion, so that from SPF 15-30 there is a substantial increase in UV protection, but increases rather slowly from 30 to say, 50.
The sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays cause sunburn. The sun gives out three kinds of UV rays: UVA, UVB and UVC. A good sunscreen needs to protect the skin from both UVA and UVB. It also has to be stable in the sun, so that it continues to protect the skin after the first hour of application. Many chemical sunscreens actually break down after a few hours of exposure to the UV rays!
Starting in 2012, sunblock labels will only go to a SPF of 50. Companies will only use the term “broad spectrum” to describe sunscreens that block against both UVA and UVB rays. Manufactures will also only use the term “water resistant” if the sunscreen was tested 40 or 80 minutes in the water.
As a result, manufactures will remove confusing words such as sweatproof, sunblock, suntan cream or waterproof from the bottles!
Dr. Kormeili’s TopTips For Sun Protection:
- Avoid the sun during peak hours. The sun’s rays are strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in spring and summer.
- Stay in the shades whenever possible.
- Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or more.
- Make sure to the sunscreen if you are swimming, sweating, or towel drying.
- Apply and reapply sunblock every day, even on a cloudy day. UV rays are still around even if no sunshine is seen.
- Wear sunglasses that protect from UV. Use hats and clothing to cover your skin and face from excess radiation.
Concerned about your skin? Contact us to schedule your skin exam. We look forward to helping you soon.