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Sun, summer skin and SPF

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Posted June 04, 2014 in Uncategorized

Sunscreen to prevent aging in Houston.

What is the best sunscreen for me?

Summer is a time to enjoy your friends and family at the beach, the zoo or just out for a walk.  However, you want to make sure you protect your skin while you do it!  There are so many sunscreens and sunblocks on the market.  How do you decide which one is right for you?

Sunscreen vs sunblock

There is a difference between sunscreens and sunblocks.  Sunscreens are chemicals that filter the sun’s penetration into the skin.  They are often thin, colorless and block UVB rays and sometimes UVA, as well.  Sunblocks physically block the sun’s ultraviolet radiation into the skin, so are better at preventing sun damage, skin cancer and aging changes.  These contain ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.  They give broad coverage against both UVA and UVB light.  These often have a more opaque appearance, like the white blocks that were used by many lifeguards.  However, these can come in many different colors and most products now don’t have that “cakey” appearance.  The coverage provided by sunblocks is very high, but is not measured by SPF like sunscreens.  In general, they are at least SPF 30.  Products that are a combination of sunblock and sunscreen are great because you get the benefits of each, broad coverage with a smooth texture.

Use SPF 30 or higher.

What is SPF?

I have heard many different explanations of SPF or Sun Protection Factor.  Unlike what I have heard people say, this does not mean the number of minutes that you can stay in the sun.  What does mean is the amplification of your ability to be in the sun.  For example, a SPF of 15 will allow you to be in the sun 15 times longer before you burn.  This does not mean that it correlates proportionally to the amount of sun that it blocks.  While an SPR of 2 absorbs 50% of the UV radiation, 15 absorbs 93% and 34 absorbs 97%.  So, the difference between an SPF of 30 and 100 is actually very little.  So, American Melanoma Foundation recommends using SPF of at least 15.  I prefer SPF of 30 for the body and SPF 50 for the face, since sun exposure accelerates the aging process.  Also, make sure to choose one that protects against not only UVB, but UVA radiation.  The SPF only applies to the ability to block UVB rays, so look at the labels.  The UVA radiation rays penetrate deeper into the skin and contribute to premature aging.

So, the best product is a combination of sunscreen and sunblock with an SPF of at least 30 that you like the texture and will use consistently!

 

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