• Amanda Stewart-Ventura

Sunscreen 101

SPF, you hear those three letters thrown around so often, and most people don’t even understand what they really mean… SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and it’s the number on a scale for rating the degree of protection provided by a sunscreen. So for instance, a sun protection factor of 30 means, once applied, it will take 30 times more solar energy to burn the skin than if the sunscreen was never applied. There are 2 different types of sun protection:

Sunscreens chemically absorb UV rays

Sunblocks physically deflect them

Now, the majority of us will use sunscreen instead of sunblock because we do not want that lifeguard look. Sunscreens block UVB rays effectively, but until recently provided less UVA protection. They have come up with new ingredients to help block the UVA rays, like; octylcrylene, benzophenones, and a revolutionary chemical avobenzone which is supposed to protect us against all UVA wavelengths. Also, I know you’ve heard the phrase Broad Spectrum. That term indicates that the product you choose shields against UVA & UVB rays. However, it does not guarantee protection against ALL UVA rays, just the shorter ones. Here are some key ingredients to look for when making a decision on which product to purchase:

Avobenzone

Zinc Oxide

Titanium Dioxide

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