Protecting your skin from the summer sun is easy if you use the right sunscreen.
As the scorching days of summer approach, UCLA Health offers some tips for choosing the best type and level of sun protection factor, or SPF.
UCLA Health experts explained in a press release that getting sunburned just five times in a lifetime doubles your risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, so protection is worth the effort.
Sunscreens can be divided into two categories: mineral and chemical. Each type has its pros and cons.
Mineral sunscreen: It physically blocks ultraviolet (UV) rays before those rays can penetrate the skin.
In a clearer sense, it protects the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays by creating a barrier on the surface of the skin between cells and radiation waves to prevent them from penetrating the skin.
While it provides immediate protection, it can be difficult to remove, must be applied frequently, and tends to leave a white film on the skin. However, according to UCLA Health, it’s also gentler than chemical sunscreen, making it a good choice for sensitive skin.
Mineral sunscreen contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are both safe and effective by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Chemical sunscreen: Allows UV rays to penetrate the skin, after which the chemicals convert the UV light into heat. It is released from the skin.
The downside to these sunscreens is that they need to be applied at least 20 minutes before sun exposure.
According to UCLA Health, there are concerns about the ingredients in chemical sunscreens, especially oxybenzone.
Some of the ingredients in these sunscreens can cause environmental problems, including damage to coral reefs. It can also pose health risks such as hormonal imbalance and allergic skin reactions.
However, it also wipes off easily and leaves fewer marks.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is awaiting more safety data before classifying it as safe and effective.
Experts say the health risks from sun exposure far outweigh the potential risks from absorbing sunscreen chemicals.
And when choosing an SPF, know that the higher the number, the longer the protection will last.
All sunscreens protect against ultraviolet rays, which are the main cause of sunburn and skin cancer.
A broad spectrum sun protection factor also protects against UV rays.
Sunscreen with SPF 30 transmits 3% of the rays. A higher protection class (SPF 50) transmits 2% of the rays.
It’s important to reapply sunscreen, especially if you’re sweating or swimming.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using a broad-spectrum, waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. It should be reapplied every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
SPF 50 is slightly better than SPF 30, so a higher number doesn’t really matter. The most important thing is the method of application.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying at least 2 tablespoons of sunscreen per cream.
As for the spray, keep spraying until all skin is covered. And you don’t have to rub after that. You should also avoid using sprays on or near your face as they may contain ingredients that can irritate and damage your lungs if inhaled deeply.
It may be best to avoid sprays for young children, but you can also spray sunscreen on your hands and rub it on yourself or your child’s face.
Even with this protection, UCLA Health advises, it’s important to seek shade and wear protective clothing whenever possible.
Source: Medical Express
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