The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has named July as Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month. The goal is to spread the word about how important it is to protect our skin from the harmful effects of UV rays and the use of sunscreen
But first, what are UV rays or UV radiation? Ultraviolet radiation is an invisible energy that is composed of electromagnetic rays that come from the sun or may also come from man-made sources like tanning beds and welding torches.
There are many types of radiation but UV belongs to the middle spectrum. UV radiation is divided into 3 main groups: UVA rays, UVB rays, and UVC rays. Ultraviolet C rays are the most dangerous ones but cannot penetrate Earth's ozone layers. UVA and UVB rays on the other hand are generally accepted to be causes of skin cancer including melanoma. Thus, sunscreens are recommended to block both UVA and UVB rays to protect our skin.
Sunsblockers are very important and beneficial when it comes to protecting ourselves from UV rays, especially during summer. According to studies, when used as directed, daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of Squamous Cell carcinoma (SCC) and Melanoma. Sunscreens also help prevent rapid skin aging like wrinkles and age spots.
What type of Sunscreen?
The next question you might be asking right now is what type of blocker should you use. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the best sunscreen would be anything that you're comfortable wearing and with a broad spectrum of SPF 15 or higher. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The SPF number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn. A higher SPF number means more UVB protection (sunscreen doesn't block all UV rays).
Sunscreen also has 2 types according to its ingredients: Physical sunscreen ingredients and Chemical sunscreen ingredients. While physical sunscreen may sound safer, both types are tested as safe and effective. In fact, most sunscreen products of today combine both.
If you're staying indoors a broad spectrum of SPF 15 is enough. On the other hand, if it's a beach day or a family day picnic where you'll spend hours outside, you need an SPF of 30 or higher. But whatever the SPF level your sunscreen may have, it is important to reapply every 2 hours.
Who should use sunscreen anyway?
The answer is everyone including children. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends applying a minimal amount of sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to exposed areas such as an infant’s face and the back of the hand.
The immediate danger of too much sun exposure would be sunburn. We are applying sunblock not only to avoid getting our skin too dark but mainly because we are reducing sun damage. Whether you see your skin darkened or not, skin may experience damage without proper prevention.
Wear your sunscreen every day while enjoying the outdoors with your family and friends.
Sunscreens we carry include (click for prices)
Advanced UVA/UVB broad spectrum body sunscreens