Here is a breakdown of what ingredients are in sunscreen and what spf is the best to wear.
What are Suncreens?Sunscreens are products combining several ingredients that help prevent the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. Two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB, damage the skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UVA and UVB.
What Are UVA and UVB?Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. It has wavelengths shorter than visible light, making it invisible to the naked eye. Ultraviolet A (UVA) is the longer wave UV ray that causes lasting skin damage, skin aging, and can cause skin cancer. Ultraviolet B (UVB) is the shorter wave UV ray that causes sunburns, skin damage, and can cause skin cause skin cancer.
What Is SPF?Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB. SPF — or Sun Protection Factor — is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. Here's how it works: If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer — about five hours.
Another way to look at it is in terms of percentages: SPF 15 filters out approximately 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent and SPF 50 keeps out 98 percent. They may seem like negligible differences, but if you are light-sensitive, or have a history of skin cancer, those extra percentages will make a difference. And as you can see, no sunscreen can block all UV rays.
But there are problems with the SPF model: First, no sunscreen, regardless of strength, should be expected to stay effective longer than two hours without reapplication. Second, "reddening" of the skin is a reaction to UVB rays alone and tells you little about what UVA damage you may be getting. Plenty of damage can be done without the red flag of sunburn being raised
Physical vs. Chemical SuncreenThere are two general types of suncreens, physical and chemical. Physical suncreens protect your skin from the sun by deflecting or blocking the sun's rays. Chemical suncreens work be absorbing the sun's rays.
Physical blocks include, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide. Chemical suncreens include, octinaxate, avobenzone, octisalate, and oxybenzone.
When chemical and physical suncreens are both used together the suncreen is then called "broad-spectrum."
What Does Broad-Spectrum Mean?Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Beginning in December 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will implement new rules for "broad-spectrum" products.
For more information visit www.skincancer.org
Our SunscreensAt Premier Aesthetic and Laser Centre we offer Obagi and eltaMD suncreens. Obagi suncreens are broad spectrum and are ideal for the face, especially when using any of the other Obagi products. EltaMD carries many options for suncreen based on the skin sensitivity and whether it is for the face or body.
Jane Iredale also carries many different products that contain suncreen, including Dream Tint and Powder-Me-Spf.