Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Why To Use Sunscreen

The sun is essential to life on our planet, but it can also damage your skin. Harmful ultraviolet radiation, in the form of UVA and UVB rays, are constantly streaming through the atmosphere and bombarding your unprotected skin. This is why sunscreen is so important.

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is the measurement used to gauge a sunscreen’s effectiveness in filtering out these damaging rays. A sunscreen with SPF 15 will provide nearly 150 minutes of protection, though sweating, swimming and other wet activities can cut back this time frame.

It’s important to remember that no sunscreen offers full protection. Excessive sunlight still causes damage, no matter how high the SPF rating. Be sure to inspect your skin if you’ve spent a few days in the sun to find out how well your sunscreen might be working for you.

Sunscreen works at a chemical level, reducing the number of ultraviolet rays that make their way into your skin, like a barrier. It doesn’t stop everything, but it can give you some protection.

Be sure to apply your sunscreen to all areas potentially exposed to the sun about 15 minutes before you start your outdoor fun. It takes that long to become fully absorbed.

Sunscreen should be part of your regular skincare routine. Grabbing a random sunscreen off the shelf may not give you the protection you need, though. You have to consider your skin type and how long you’ll be in the sun when you select your sunscreen.

Allergic reactions are possible to ingredients in some sunscreens. If you’re unsure, spread a little sunscreen on a patch of skin and let it sit for 48 hours. If there’s no noticeable reaction after that, you can use the product without fear of irritation.

When buying sunscreen, be sure that its label indicates it blocks both UVA and UVB rays, as well has the highest SPF suited to your skin type.

Remember to reapply your sunscreen every three hours, at least. Fun in the sun makes for a great afternoon, but you don’t want to pay for it with sunburn and premature wrinkles.

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