Sunscreen–Everything You Need to Know

Sunscreen–Everything You Need to Know

During the summer, we spend quite a bit of time in the sun. No matter if we seek it out, or try to stay in the shade, we are always going to be exposed to the sun’s rays. Now, this doesn’t seem like a bad thing on the surface. Warm weather makes outside activities aplenty (and easier to enjoy). But on the flip side, exposure to the sun can lead to short and long term effects: cancer, sunburns, etc. To combat the dangerous effects, sunscreen helps protect our skin.

Why is it so important to use sunscreen and which sunscreen is the best for us? We’ve got your answers. They’ll be not only good for our skin, but crucial to the well-being of our body.

What is UV radiation? How can I protect myself from it?

UV radiation reaches our earth in the sunlight. Since its wavelength is smaller than that of violet light, it’s been called ultraviolet radiation. It is invisible to the human eye and comes in three forms: UVA, UVB and UVC rays.

A carrier of enormous energy, UV radiation can weaken our bodies cells during prolonged exposure to the sun. These cells break down and don’t work properly, causing the body to try removing them. In other words, have you ever noticed your skin peeling after tanning?

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Unfortunately, these rays reach the earth all year round, no matter the weather. That’s why we should protect our skin, even on cloudy days. Additionally, some surfaces act like a mirror, reflecting this harmful radiation and as a result, making the effect even stronger. For example, windows are great for exposing you to UV rays.

Example of a woman using sunscreen.

How does sunscreen work?

Many creams and lotions have a special label indicating the protection they provide to the skin. SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, means that the product protects us against UVB radiation. The higher the SPF, the better protected you are. Keep in mind that SPF doesn’t adequately work unless it’s at 30 or higher. That means your moisturizer most likely won’t cut it.

Which sunscreen should you choose for your complexion

Choosing the proper sunscreen for your skin is the first and most important step. The general rule of thumb here is to remember that the lighter your skin is, the higher SPF you need.

People with fair skin and red or light hair are most vulnerable to the sun. Their skin is usually covered with freckles, they can get sunburned faster while having a harder time tanning. A sunscreen with a minimum SPF 60 should be what you go for. 

If you don’t have freckles, but your skin is still rather on the light side and your hair is light you don’t need such high SPF. Your sunscreen may be slightly lower.

Therefore, if your skin tone is darker, a lower SPF, such as 30, would be effective, as your skin is less sensitive to UV radiation. The darker skin is means it’s less prone to getting sunburned, but the chance is still there for everyone! 

Sunburn protection at the pool.

Applying sunscreen

Apart from choosing the right SPF for your complexion, you also have to remember properly applying the sunscreen. First of all, the time when we apply the lotion to our skin is important. We shouldn’t do it right before going to the beach or when we’re already by the water.

Sunscreen should be applied about twenty to thirty minutes before going into the sun. Otherwise, it won’t be as effective in protecting your skin.

The layer of applied sunscreen should also be thick. It’s estimated that we need about 20 ml of the product for a single application. It is also extremely important to reapply another layer of cream every two to three hours. Of course, we should also apply the lotion again after each swimming session. 

All in all, sunscreen should be our best friend all year round. It will protect your skin and allow you to spend time soaking up those sun rays in a healthy way.

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