Melisse & Co. - A Closer Look into UVA and UVB Protection
What to Know When Choosing The Right SPF - A Closer Look into UVA and UVB Protection
Did you know UVB rays, are the main cause of sunburn and skin cancers? On the other hand, aside from also contributing to skin cancer, UVA rays influences premature aging. Sunscreens labeled "broad spectrum” protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
Only products that pass a certain test can be labeled “broad spectrum.” Make sure your sunscreen has a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher. The SPF number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays. Higher SPF numbers do mean more protection, but the higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%, SPF 50 sunscreens about 98%, and SPF 100 about 99%. No sunscreen protects you completely. The FDA requires any sunscreen with SPF below 15 to carry a warning that it only protects against sunburn, not skin cancer or skin aging.
“Water resistant” does not mean “waterproof.” No sunscreens are waterproof or “sweatproof,” and manufacturers are not allowed to claim that they are. If a product’s front label makes claims of being water resistant, it must specify whether it lasts for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating. For best results, reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and even more often if you are swimming or sweating. Sunscreen usually rubs off when you towel yourself dry, so you will need to put more on.
Other ways to stay sun-safe
In addition to choosing the right sunscreen and using it correctly, follow these steps to help protect your skin from sun damage that can cause premature aging and skin cancer:
- Cover up when you are out in the sun with clothing and wide-brimmed hats to protect the skin.
- Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UV light.
- Seek shade. Limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially during the prime afternoon hours.
- Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. Both cause long-term skin damage and contribute to skin cancer.
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