3 minutes read.
What is Sunscreen?
Sunscreen is a photoprotective (protects against the harmful effects of light) product for your skin which contains compounds like oxybenzone which absorbs or reflects some of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Therefore, protecting you against sunburn and reducing your likelihood of developing skin cancer.
UVA and UVB.
UVA and UVB are sun rays. UVA causes premature ageing of your skin and UVB causes skin cancer. Overexposure to both can cause skin cancer. You are exposed to UV rays even if it’s cloudy and can still get sunburn in the winter months. Even though glass blocks UVB, you can still be exposed to UVA while driving your car, for example.
Sunscreen And You.
Regardless of your skin colour, you need to use it while in the sun.
Daily use of sunscreen with SPF 15 can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma ( a form of skin cancer that is usually easily treated) by 40% and reduce your melanoma risk by 50%.
Your bottle of sunscreen should last three years but can get damaged by the sun if it’s left out for long periods.
There is no such thing as a ‘waterproof’ variety because it washes off in water.
Using a higher SPF isn’t always better. A sunscreen with a SPF of 50 blocks about 98% of UVB rays; only 1% more than a sunscreen of SPF 30. (I have to admit, the other day while shopping I looked for SPF factor 50, thinking it would be much better than 30!) 🤦♀️
When applying it, make sure you use about 1 tsp for your face and 6 full tsp (about 36g) for your body. This should be done about half an hour before going out and then re-applied every two hours because you sweat it off and you’ll need to re-apply it after being in water.
Be aware. The spray-on sunscreens are not always effective. You need to apply a lot of them.
Vitamin D and Sunscreen.
The best way for your body to make vitamin D is by sunlight. Wearing sunscreen could prevent you from getting the right levels of it. However, don’t worry. Sunlight can penetrate through clothing and your sunscreen loses its effectiveness over the two hours you’re wearing it. You only need to be exposed to the sun from 5 to 30 minutes to get the levels you need in you body.
Are the Chemicals in Sunscreen Dangerous to Your Health?
A 2020 study from the American FDA found that our bodies do absorb high levels of ingredients like avobenzone and oxybenzone from our sunscreens but there is no proof they are harmful to us. The risk of getting melanoma from not using sunscreen is much greater.
Other Ways to Protect Yourself in the Sun.
To be honest, covering yourself up is much better than sunscreen to keep you safe in the sun.
You are better off staying in the shade and avoiding outdoor activities around midday when the sun is at its hottest.
Finally, don’t forget your shades. 😎
If you do get a sunburn, click here for tips to deal with it.
If I still haven’t convinced you to use sunscreen then maybe this article on really bad sunburns might change your mind!
Thank you for reading. Be safe in the sun.
Sources: wikipedia.com, charlestondermatology.com, nfcr.org, buzzfeed.com, skincancer.org, insider.com, medicalnewstoday.com,