With all the misconceptions about sunscreens, most men and women may not know the basics about safe sun protection. For example, if most people were asked what SPF 15 means they’d probably respond that the sunscreen they are using will provide 15 hours of sun protection. Absolutely not! SPF does not refer to the how long one is exposed to the sun but rather the amount of sun exposure, which varies based on the time of day. One hour at 9 a.m. may translate to the same protection needed as 1 p.m. And there is a lack of evidence showing that sunscreens with SPF values above 60 provide any additional protection.
Still confused? Hopefully, this information will help.
Currently, the FDA classifies sunscreen as an OTC drug (over the counter). More recent findings are discovering that sunscreens are having a harmful impact on our personal safety as well as the health of our planet. And as skin cancer becomes more common (doubling in the last decade), the effects of the sun are adding increased costs to our already burdened health care system.
Despite these warnings to the public, people still believe that a tan makes them looks healthier. A tan is actually a scar, and the number one reason for skin aging and skin cancer. The major cause of reddening and sunburn is when ultraviolet (UV) B rays damages the epidermis—the skin’s outer layers—where the most common forms of skin cancer occur.
Sunscreens are classified in two types: physical, which reflects and blocks the sun’s rays, and chemical, which safely absorbs harmful UVB rays. SPF (sun protection factor) is a relative measure of how long a sunscreen will protect you from UVB rays. But the abbreviations “SPF” can be misleading and confusing. For example, SPF 15 means 1/15 of the burning rays will reach and protect the skin if a generous amount of sunscreen is applied. Generally, for optimum defense it should be re-applied after 90 minutes. Most folks think that the higher the SPF number, the greater the protection. This is only partly true. The difference between SPF 50 and SPF 100 is about 1%. Using SPF 30 provides you will 97% protection. And researchers are now revealing that that people who use higher SPF numbers believe they can stay out in the sun longer without reapply the product. But in reality, they are getting less protection, ending up with a greater risk of skin damage and an increased risk for skin cancer, more wrinkles and earlier aging.
Clinical studies show that most sunscreens do not contain the right ingredients to truly protect, and those that say “natural” ingredients test far worse. At Defy Nature Medical Spa (defynaturellc.com) in New London, they advise their clients to purchase medical grade sun protection that is formulated with anti-aging physical blockers defending against free radicals (anti-aging) containing octinoxate, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to protect against UVA and UVB. Big box chains and drugstores do not offer sunscreens with these same powerful ingredients .
Stay safe with these products from Defy Nature and always use sunscreen year round. Even on a cloudy day, stay protected.