Summertime will be here before we know it. This is the time where people tend to stock up on their trusted brand of sunscreen to contend with the harmful UV rays of the sun. However important it is for you to wear sunscreen during the summer, that is not the only time you should worry about UV protection. Although it is hotter during the summer months than at any other time of the year, the sun never leaves us and therefore, the potential for UV damage is always there. Sunscreen should be worn in all seasons throughout the year and here is why.
Types of UV Rays
When people think of rays from the sun, they automatically thing UV rays, but these rays are not just in one variety. UV rays come in two distinct types UVA and UVB and both are harmful to your skin potentially leading to skin cancer, premature aging, and a host of other skin issues.
UVA Rays – These rays are the lowest damaging rays in the spectrum of the sun. They produce premature aging, wrinkles, and certain skin cancers. Damage is done to the inner layers and top layers of the skin. UVA rays are present year round.
UVB Rays – UVB rays are present year round as well, but their affects are felt more during the summer. Sunburns, blisters, and tanning of the skin are damage caused by UVB rays. They are also a contributor to skin cancer and advanced premature aging. UVB rays are noted as worse than UVA rays, but both cause damage.
What SPF Means
SPF is an abbreviation for Sun Protection Factor. We have all seen it on sunscreen bottles for years, but apart from simply purchasing the highest number we can find, the general public knows very little about it. Essentially, SPF numbers indicate the length of protection from the sun. If it takes you, on average, 30 minutes to begin to burn in the sun without sunscreen, it will take you 30 minutes longer if you apply an SPF 30 sunscreen. Basically, all sunscreens provide the same level of protection. The main difference is that the lower the number, the more frequently you should reapply sunscreen. However, it is recommended that no matter the number, you reapply sunscreen every 2 hours for optimal protection throughout the year.
Which SPF is Advised for Different Seasons i.e. to Match with UV Rating
An average SPF of 30 is recommended even on the coldest day of winter. Generally, people are out in the sun far less during the winter and more of their body remains covered, so there is little need for a higher number SPF.
During the summer, things change drastically, an SPF of 50 or higher is recommended by most dermatologists as more of your skin is exposed to the harmful UVB and UVA rays of the sun. Applying sunscreen regularly throughout the day, no matter the season, will help your skin remain moisturized and reduce your risk of contracting skin cancer and guard against premature aging.
What is the True Difference Between Sunscreens?
When going to the store to purchase sunscreens, you will see a plethora of available options to choose from. Numbers range from SPF 2 all the way to SPF 100 and they come in every variety, type, and brand under the sun. It can be a daunting task to find the exact right one for the protection of you and your family. A key trick to remember is not just the brand of sunscreen, but where it was manufactured.
Determining where a sunscreen is manufactured is as easy as turning it to the back and looking for the manufacturing location. With something as important as sunscreen, you want to ensure that it was manufactured in a comparable climate to your own. So, if you live in an extreme environment close to the beach where sun drenched days are common, you will want to purchase a sunscreen manufactured in a similar type of place such as Hawaii or Australia. It might seem like a small thing, but where a sunscreen is manufactured often determines where it was tested, so if it was tested in a sunny or extreme environment it should work better for optimal sun protection.
You only get one chance to protect your skin. It can be difficult to turn back the hands of time once your skin is damaged, so it is best to protect it year round and in all weather conditions. Just like a regular makeup or moisturizing routine, sunscreen should be applied every day and multiple times each day if you intend on being in the sun for extended periods of time. Sunscreen is just another way you can help your skin look better longer and protect it from potential harm.