It’s not always easy to determine what the safest sunscreen to buy may be because there are so many different brands on the market. Therefore, how is it possible to find the safest sunscreen? The key will be to learn how to read a sunscreen label. A sunscreen label can provide you with a wealth of information on which product to use.
Reading a sunscreen label may seem like trying to understand something in a foreign language but what is the point of buying a skin protection product unless you understand what is in it? In fact, a leading dermatologist stated that in a recent survey it showed that 43% of the respondents did not even understand what the SPF value meant. Therefore, this article will help you to understand a few of the basic sunscreen terminologies so that you can become educated on which product to buy.
It is important that your sunscreen provides you with a broad spectrum protection. A broad spectrum protection offers adequate protection against both UVB, ultraviolet B rays, and UVA, ultraviolet A rays. Both of these ultraviolet solar wavelengths have proven harmful for a person’s delicate skin.
The UVA rays will penetrate your skin a lot deeper than the UVB rays. UVA rays are the primary culprit for causing sagging, wrinkles and other signs of aging. UVB rays, on the other hand, will damage the upper surface of the skin and cause sunburns. However, both of these harmful ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer.
The next thing to learn about is SPF which stands for sun protection factor. SPF is a type of measure that dictates how long you can stay in the sun before harmful ultraviolet rays start to burn the skin. Unprotected skin will redden and burn in approximately 20 minutes. A sunscreen that has a SPF rating of 30 will allow you to remain in the sun without getting burnt for 30 times longer.
SPF protection will gradually wear off and therefore it is important to reapply the sunscreen at least every two hours. If you are sweating profusely or swimming then you will need to reapply the sunscreen more often. As a side note, it is interesting that sunscreens over SPF 50 provide no additional protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests that everyone uses at least a minimum of a SPF 15 protection.
Another important sunscreen label term is water resistant. Water resistant, or sweat resistant, sunscreens are effective for 40 minutes after swimming or 80 minutes after sweating. There is not a single sunscreen product with a “sweatproof” or “waterproof” designation because the FDA prohibits these two terms.
The Skin Cancer Foundation offers a seal of recommendation and it is always a good idea to choose a sunscreen brand that has this seal. Also, the active ingredients list is important to read. There are 2 main categories for all active sunscreen ingredients. One category is chemical and the other is physical. The physical ingredients will deflect UV rays whereas the chemical ingredients will determine how deep the UV rays can penetrate into the skin.