Showing posts with label Sunscreen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sunscreen. Show all posts

Jun 17, 2016

Sunscreen Facts

Summer is due to arrive in the US on June 20, 6:34am EST. This means it is time to slather on some sunscreen - do it early and do it often. The US FDA, which regulates sunscreen, among other stuff too numerous to mention says, any sunscreen that is (Sun Protection Factor) SPF15 or above, and carries the label "broad spectrum," must provide protection both from both UV-A and UV-B light. Any sunscreen SPF14 or below, or that is not labeled "broad spectrum," is primarily only useful for protection from UV-B light and against sunburn only. Other countries have started providing measurements for UV-A protection on their products, but not the US, yet.

Broad spectrum protection blocks both UV-B and UV-A light, which means you reduce your risk of sunburn as well as skin cancer. UV-A light, which has a much longer wavelength and penetrates deeper into the skin can also cause skin cancer.

SPF numbers are a simple metric, if you could stay in the sun for 10 minutes without getting a sunburn, SPF15 sunscreen would increases the length of time you can stay out in the sun by 15, so you should be able to stay in the sun for 150 minutes without getting burned. In addition, a higher SPF should prevent more UV light from affecting your skin.

SPF15 absorbs 93.3 percent of UVB rays, SPF30 absorbs 96.7 percent, and SPF50 absorbs 98%. Anything above 30 is probably not necessary and 50 or more is essentially a waste of money with little additional protection.

There are two basic kinds of sunscreens: physical blockers and chemical blockers. Physical blockers use minerals to deflect the UV rays away from the skin. Chemical blockers absorb and filter the light to prevent its damaging effects.

Sunscreen manufacturers are no longer allowed to claim their products are "waterproof," because none are. They can claim that their sunscreens are water resistant for instance 40 minutes, after which it should be reapplied.

Interesting to note that Australia is the skin cancer capital of the world with two in three getting skin cancer before age 70.

Bottom line, Consumer Reports found 74 percent of the physical blockers they tested failed to match their labeled SPF. For best results, go for broad spectrum SPF 30 to 50.  Unlike politicians, sunscreen is better when you lay it on thick - and often.

Mar 11, 2016

Expired Sunscreen

Spring is almost on us and it is time to get organized for yard work. One thing to keep in mind as we brave the new season is sunscreen. According to the Mayo Clinic, most sunscreen works at full strength for about three years. So, if you are not sure how old those tubes and sprays are, toss them and replenish.

Incidentally, an SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays; an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays; and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays. Most experts tell us to save our money and do not pay for SPF above 30.

Aug 22, 2014

Sunburn and SPF

SPF is an acronym for Sun Protection Factor. SPF is actually a measure of protection from amount of UV-B exposure and it is not meant to help you determine duration of exposure. Sunbathers often assume that they get twice as much protection from SPF 100 sunscreen as from SPF 50. In reality, the extra protection is negligible. Properly applied SPF 15 blocks 93% of UV-B rays; SPF 50 sunscreen blocks 98 percent of sunburn rays. Dermatologists recommend using a SPF15 or SPF30 sunscreen. Higher SPFs do not actually give much more protection.

Sunblock and sunscreen block the rays from the sun being absorbed by our skin. Ninety five percent of the UV (Ultra violet) energy hitting the earth’s surface is UV-A. The other 5% is UV-B. Most of UV-B radiation is absorbed by our atmosphere. UV-A penetrates the skin more deeply than UV-B. However, UV-B causes more problems generally associated with exposure to the sun’s rays, like skin cancer, aging, and DNA damage. UV-B waves are primarily responsible for sunburned skin. Scientists know less about the dangers of UV-A radiation, but the general consensus is that it is less obvious than UV-B damage, but possibly more serious.

Sunscreens generally only block UV-B rays, and not UV-A. To get broad spectrum protection, sunscreen must contain both the organic compounds associated with UV-B absorption and an inorganic associated with UV-A reflection.

Sunburn reactions usually begin about 4 hours after exposure and peak between 8-24 hours, so what we feel while being exposed is just the beginning.
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