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SPF - To Measure Sunscreens Effect Against UVB Rays

SPF - To Measure Sunscreens Effect Against UVB Rays

Getting some protection when exposing yourself to the sun would be just the thing that you need to maintain a healthy skin. Use a sunscreen product that has some degree of UV ray protection. The degree of protection that you can get would be listed as the SPF concentration.

SPF is short for 'Sun Protection Factor'. You can spot it as a number listed on a sunscreen product's bottle or label. There are various types of SPFs. There are types that protect you from UVA radiation. There are also types that protect you from UVB radiation, which is the number one cause of skin burning. However, to maximize your use of your SPF sunscreen lotion, it is best that you get one that can protect you from both UVA and UVB radiation.

What Is Sunscreen?
Sunscreen comes in many different formulations including lotions, creams, oils, sticks, butters, spray pastes, sprays, gels or other topical agents that absorb or reflect some of the  sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation on the skin exposed to sunlight thus helps protect against sunburn.

However, the use of sunscreen is controversial for various reasons: many sunscreen do not block UVA radiation, which does not cause sunburn but can increase the rate of melanoma; people using sunscreens may be exposed to high UVA levels without realizing it. The use of broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreens can address this concern.

What Is SPF?
The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) value indicates the level of sunburn protection provided by the sunscreen product. All sunscreens must be tested according to an SPF test procedure. The test measures the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure it takes to cause sunburn when a person is using a sunscreen in comparison to how much UV exposure it takes to cause a sunburn when they do not use a sunscreen.

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) displayed on the sunscreen label ranges from 2 to as high as 50 and refers to the product's ability to screen or block out the sun's harmful rays. For example, if you use a sunscreen with an SPF 15, you can be in the sun 15 times longer that you can without sunscreen before burning. Consumers need to be aware that SPF protection does not increase proportionally with an increased SPF number. While an SPF of 2 will absorb 50% of ultraviolet radiation, an SPF of 15 absorbs 93% and an SPF of 30 absorbs 97%.

How do you select a sunscreen?
With so many brands of sunscreen available, selecting the right sunscreen can be difficult. These tips may help you in making your selection:

• Dermatologists strongly recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater year-round for all skin types. If you are fair-skinned and sunburn easily, you may want to select a sunscreen with a higher SPF to provide additional protection. Using a cream, oil or lotion is a matter of personal choice, but keep in mind that most oils do not contain sufficient amounts of sunscreen and usually have an SPF of less than 2. All sunscreens need to be reapplied, so follow the guidelines written on the sunscreen bottle. Gel sunscreens tend to sweat off and, therefore, need to be reapplied more frequently. Remember, expensive sunscreens are not necessarily of better quality.

SPF Suncreen Products

• Choose a "broad-spectrum" sunscreen that protects against UVB and UVA radiation. PABA, or para-aminobenzoic acid, was one of the original ultraviolet B (UVB) protecting ingredients in sunscreens. However, some people's skin is sensitive to PABA, and it also can cause staining of clothing. Today, PABA has been refined and newer ingredients called PABA esters (such as glycerol PABA, padimate A and padimate O) can be found in sunscreens. PABA and PABA esters only protect against UVB radiation, the sun's burning rays that are the primary cause of sunburn and skin cancer. Also look for other UVB absorbers listed in the ingredients such as salicylates and cinnamates.

• You should look for a sunscreen that also protects against ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation, those rays that penetrate deeper into the skin and are the culprits in premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.

Is there a difference between "waterproof" and "water-resistant?"
How well the sunscreen stays on the skin after swimming, bathing or perspiring is just as important as the SPF level. The FDA considers a product "water-resistant" if it maintains its SPF level after 40 minutes of water exposure. A product is considered "waterproof" if it maintains its SPF level following 80 minutes of exposure to water. If you participate in outdoor recreational activities including swimming, you may want to choose a waterproof sunscreen.

What is the difference between sunscreen and sunblock?
Sunscreens can be classified into two major types: chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens contain special ingredients that act as filters and reduce ultraviolet radiation penetration to the skin. These sunscreens often are colorless and maintain a thin visible film on the skin. These sunscreens usually contain UVB absorbing chemicals and more recently contain UVA absorbers as well.

Physical Sunscreens, most often referred to as sunblocks, are products containing ingredients such a titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which physically block ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Sunblocks provide broad protection against both UVB and UVA light. They can be cosmetically unacceptable to many people, because they are often messy, visible and do not easily wash off. However, some new zinc oxide products are available in brightly colored preparations which are popular with young people. The amount of sun protection these sunblocks provide, while potentially high, cannot be quantified in the same manner as sunscreen SPFs. Physical sunscreen is recommended for individuals who have unusual sensitivity to UVR. Most recently on the sun protection scene is sun-protective clothing designed to block UVA and UVB radiation. The effective SPF is greater that 30.

What are UV rays?
Rays of light from the sun are different lengths. Some of those lengths result in the different colors you see. UV rays are shorter than the shortest rays in the visible-light spectrum, which are the ones your eyes perceive as the color violet. (UV stands for "ultraviolet.") There are 3 types of UV rays:

There are 3 types of UV rays:

• UVC rays are the shortest, so short that they usually don't make it through the Earth's ozone layer to reach your skin. When it comes to sun protection, UVC rays are not a concern.

• UVB rays are a little longer, and can penetrate the skin, but not too deeply, reaching only the outer layers (epidermis). UVB rays are responsible for causing your skin to tan and/or burn. Longterm exposure to UVB rays can rapidly age your skin, making it look leathery and wrinkled.

• UVA rays are the longest UV rays, and can penetrate more deeply, into the dermis, the second layer of your skin. They can do serious damage at the cellular level, causing cellular changes that can lead to skin cancers. They are a primary cause for photo aging, wrinkles and skin discoloration.

Skin Types
It is also important for you to know the various skin types. This is because it would be your basis of choosing the level of SPF that you should get. Here are the common skin types and corresponding SPF ratings.

1. Young Children: If you have children in the family, it is also important to protect their delicate skin. If they are already 6 months and above use baby products that have at least SPF 15. This would be enough to protect them from burning and tanning.

2. Very Fair: If your skin is very fair, then it would burn more quickly. You rarely get a tan, but instead get burnt. It is best that you get a product that is SPF 20-30.

3. Fair: This type almost usually burns easily. There are times that you can tan but not in a high level. Products that have SPF 12-20 would be best.

4. Light: This type burns under the moderate range. You can experience gradual tanning in which you get to have a light brownish shade. SPF 8-12 would be best for you.

5. Medium: Medium types could burn minimally. A somewhat moderate brown shade is achieved when tanning, which happens most of the time. An SPF of 4-8 is recommended.

6. Dark: Burning is something that you should not worry about if this is your skin type. You get to tan big time and end up with a dark brown skin tone. It's recommended that you use sunscreen products that have SPF 2-4.

Skin types and corresponding SPF ratings

SPF be your only guide to sun protection, avoid a burn by following a few simple sunscreen rules.
1. Know thyself: If you are whiter than a sheet of paper, if your Aunt Linda has skin cancer, or if you are sensitive to the sun because of a medication or a medical condition, take extra measures. Stay out of the sun as much as possible, wear a hat when you are out, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF and reapply that sunscreen often.

2. Broaden your spectrum: The SPF number indicates protection only against UVB rays -- many sunscreens, even those with a high SPF, allow UVA rays to be absorbed by the skin. UVA protection is usually indicated by a "broad-spectrum" label. Look for this to ensure the most well-rounded sun coverage.

3. Here comes the sun: To be effective, sunscreen needs to be fully absorbed into the skin, so apply it 15 to 30 minutes before you even step into the sun.

New Protection against UVA Rays
The high SPF numbers on some new sunscreens might not be that useful, but their protection against UVA rays will be. The skin absorbs UVA rays from the sun, tanning beds and sunlamps. These rays won't give you a sunburn, but they can cause long-term skin damage. You should always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to ensure protection from both UVA and UVB rays. The latest sunscreens boast new chemicals, like Mexoryl, which has proven to be one of the most effective UVA-blockers out there.

4. Reapply yourself: Whether you're lying by the pool or mowing the lawn, you'll probably be exposed to sweat or water, the natural enemies of sunscreen. To be safe, reapply after you swim or sweat.

5. Full exposure: No matter how high the SPF, sunscreen can protect only the skin it covers. The most commonly missed spots are the temples, ears, back of the neck and top of the feet. If you are sometimes guilty of losing your focus while applying your lotion, try one of the sunscreens that contains disappearing colorants, so you can identify unlotioned areas before they burn to a crisp.

The skin is the largest organ in your body. It is also the one that most people notice upon seeing you for the first time. Hence, These are the things you should know about different skin types and SPF.

Myotcstore Related Products:

Desert Essence daily essential defense lotion SPF 15 for normal skin - 2 oz

Hawaiian Tropic silk hydration sunscreen lotion with SPF 12 - 6 oz

Coppertone water babies sun screen lotion, spf 50 - 4 oz

Cotz Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40 - 1.5 oz

Bull Frog Mosquito Coast Sunscreen with SPF 30 - 6 oz

CeraVe Wet Skin Sunscreen Spray, SPF 30 - 5 oz

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