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It's that time of year again, summertime, where we go out and do all sorts of great activities. Days at the beach, camping, BBQ's, all of these activities are a great fun way to spend time with family and friends. It is also the time of year when they sun's rays are at their strongest and pose the most harm to our epidermis. Sunscreen is an important protective barrier that shields the rays and helps to prevent premature-aging and skin cancer.
What is sunscreen?
Sunscreen is a specially formulated lotion or spray that works to protect the skin from sun damage. Sunscreen is made in a variety of protections that are identified by a number along with the letters “SPF,” which stand for “Sun Protection Factor.”
How does sunscreen work?
Sunscreen lotion creates a layer of UV ray blockers on top of your skin. The Sun Protection Factor dictates the level of protection offered by the sunscreen. For example, if you are a person who burns in 20 minutes and apply an SPF 15 sunscreen, in theory you should remain protected for 15 times longer than without sunscreen. However, this can be a very misleading theory. Those who are active can wear away their sunscreen. The only way to actually guarantee protection is through re-application, no matter what your SPF strength is.
What is in sunscreen?
Sunscreen contains a lot of things including skin moisturizers and topical vitamin supplements. Some sunscreens do contain active chemical ingredients including PABA derivatives, benzophenones, avobenzone. Some types of sunscreen also carry variations of these chemical ingredients while others have gone a more natural route, replacing these chemicals with natural elements that accomplish the same goal.
What are waterproof and water-resistant sunscreens?
Waterproof sunscreens provide protection while directly in the water. However, if you do spend time in the water, reapplication is necessary after 80 minutes. Water-resistant sunscreens have a thicker and sticker consistency making them less likely to drip from moisture. Water-resistant sunscreens work in much the same way and also provide an excellent option for active people, or those who work outdoors. Reapplication of water-resistant sunscreen is usually necessary after 40 minutes of activity in the sun.
There are many choices of sunscreens on the market - even options specifically designed for kids and babies - and some regular everyday products like lotions, make-up and even clothing now contain sun protectants. There are a variety of ways to protect yourself from harmful UVA and UVB rays, and it is suggested for the best protection you use a combination of these options. Here’s to a safe, healthy and burn-free summer!