Why sunscreen is so important!

Warmer weather and more sunshine are upon us. Perhaps you are planning a trip to the beach or working outside more often. If so, it is important to consider protecting your skin from the sun’s strong rays. Overexposure to the sun causes sunburn, premature aging of the skin, wrinkling, and possibly skin cancer, including melanoma.

“It’s true that dark skin is higher in the pigment melanin than light skin, which can provide some protection against skin cancer and aging.This is why fair-skinned people are more likely to get a sunburn, and to get skin cancer, than dark-skinned people. Yet it’s possible for everyone, no matter how dark their skin color, to get both sunburns and skin cancer. “(Dr. Mehmet Oz).

So, how best to protect your skin? There are so many sunscreen products on the market! What criteria should you use to decide which product is right for you?

Until recently, choosing a good sunscreen meant you simply looked for a high sun protection factor (SPF) – which rates how well the sunscreen protects against one type of cancer-causing UV ray, ultraviolet B (UVB.)

Research soon showed that ultraviolet A rays (UVA) also increase skin cancer risk. UVA rays don’t cause sunburn, yet they penetrate deeply into skin and cause wrinkles. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that up to 90% of skin changes associated with aging are really caused by a lifetime’s exposure to UVA rays. So you’ll want to choose a sunscreen that blocks both the UVB and UVA rays. The SPF, sun protection factor indicates how effective the sunscreen is in preventing sunburn caused by UVB rays. SPF 15 is fine for most people. But if you have very fair skin, a history of skin cancer or a condition like lupus that increases sensitivity to light, you should choose an SPF 30.

Currently, there is no rating to tell you how good a sunscreen is at blocking UVA rays. Thus, it is important to look at the ingredients. Look for a sunscreen that contains at least one of the following: ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide.

Additionally, Infrared A (IRA) has been identified as a damaging environmental factor to skin. It has been shown to alter the gene expression of skin cells, resulting in accelerated breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin,and the development of skin cancer.6 It is estimated that about one-third of solar energy is comprised of IRA. Antioxidants have been shown to protect against IRA. Antioxidants that are typically used in sunscreens are comprised of vitamins, (such as Vitamin C and E).

At spatheology, we recommend the Supergoop! Line of sunscreen products as they contain ingredients to protect your skin from UVA, UVB, AND IRA rays in a high quality formulation that you will enjoy applying. The lotions are lightweight, never greasy or sticky and easily absorb into skin. So, as you begin to enjoy these longer, warmer spring and summer days, remember to protect that all important organ of your body – your skin!