Sun exposure is the leading cause of premature aging. These sunscreen facts will help you choose your best sunscreen.
Using sunscreen daily will protect you against sunburn and skin cancer, as well as it will prevent premature skin aging. It is important to know these sunscreen facts to be able to do the best choices and use them in the most effective way.
When sunscreens first appeared, UVB radiation was thought to be the main cause of sunburns, aging, and skin cancer. Those first sunscreens were effective only against UVB rays only. However, recent studies suggest that UVA rays could be more potent cancer-causing agents than UVB rays. This is why it is important to choose a sunscreen that provides an adequate protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
Despite this, many people seem to ignore the danger; still present popularity of tanning beds is the evidence to this. The light used in tanning beds is a UVA type of light. The aging effects of UVA light do not show up for years and when they do, they are hard to reverse. If you absolutely have to have that tanned look, use self tan creams. Here are instructions on how to use them.
How to Apply Self-Tanning Creams
If having a tanned look is important for you, self tan cream is the ONLY safe way to get a tanned appearance. The trick to effective application of self tan cream is to apply it to a smooth surface. Here is how to do it:
1. Exfoliate lightly
Use a scrubbing cleanser or exfoliate by rubbing the skin lightly with a wet washcloth.
2. Take a shower
Do not use soap, because soap components may interfere with the active agent of tanning cream.
Divide your body into sections and cover one section at a time. Apply a thin layer – you can always apply more later. The areas where the skin is thicker, such as elbows and knees will absorb more color. This means that cream layer here has to be even thinner. Be careful with the areas where the skin creases. Wash your hands to avoid darkening of your palms and nails.
4. Allow enough time to dry
Wait for at least twenty minutes before getting dressed.
Reapply every two three days
How to judge effectiveness of your sunscreen.
Back to our sunscreen facts. So how do you judge effectiveness of a sunscreen? SPF or sun protective factor is a measure of protective value of your sunscreen. It tells you how long you can stay in the sun without developing a sunburn. If your skin is getting red after staying 10 minutes in the sun without any protection and you use lotion with SPF 15, the time you can spend in the sun without developing a sunburn is multiplied by 15. In this example it is 150 minutes or two and a half hours.
However, this is an incomplete measure for two reasons. First of all photodamage occurs long before visible signs of the sunburn appear. Second, sunburn is caused primary by UVB light and these numbers do not tell you anything about protecting you from age-accelerating and cancer-causing UVA light.
You can judge the effectiveness of a sunscreen by looking at the ingredient list. UVA light is divided into UVA-I (long-wave light)and UVA-II (short-wave light). Most sunscreens that protect against UVB light also protect against UVA-II light. However, there are only three approved ingredients that protect against the most harmful type of light – long-wave UVA-I light. These ingredients are avobenzone (Parsol 1789), zinc oxide, and titanium oxide. Avobenzone protects you by absorbing UV radiation, and zinc oxide and titanium oxide stay on the surface of the skin and reflect ultraviolet radiation.
Researches show that sunscreens containing avobenzone tend to be the most effective, particularly if they also contain titanium dioxide.
How to apply sunscreens
The effectiveness of a sunscreen will be diminished if you don’t use it properly. Most people apply sunscreens too thinly and unevenly, getting only 20 to 50 percent of effectiveness of SPF protection indicated. You get indicated SPF if you coat your entire body with sunscreen and use half to one teaspoon of sunscreen on your face. Also, sunscreens wear off when you perspire, swim or your skin rubs against your clothes.
You can solve this problem by either using a sunscreen with a higher SPF (you will get at least SPF of 15 even if you apply it too thinly) or by applying the sunscreen at least twice. Put on a coating 15 to 30 minutes before you go out. The second application is 15 to 30 minutes after going out in the sun.
If you go swimming, choose the product that is water resistant as most of the sunscreens will wash off after twenty minutes in the water. If you spend a long time in the sun, reapply your sunscreen every two three hours as protective ingredients break down in the sunlight.
We hope that these quick sunscreen facts will help you do better choices when choosing your sunscreen. Remember, excessive sun exposure is a major cause of premature aging as well as a major risk factor for skin cancer.
However, sunlight also offers numerous health benefits. It triggers the production of vitamin D, which is necessary for sun absorption. Ten minutes in the sun will give you all vitamin D you need.
in Face & Body