Vancouver is finally enjoying the sunshine. May is just around the corner – skin cancer awareness month. Yes, you are right, our dear readers, we are going to talk about sun protection. We keep reminding our clients how important it is to wear sunscreen all year round, regardless of the weather condition. Now, let‘s start from scratch! Let’s talk about how sunscreen works, what SPF stands for and other stuff you’d like know.
HOW DOES SUNSCREEN WORK?
Many people use sunscreen without asking themselves how does sunscreen work? What’s behind the sunscreen?
Sunscreen combines organic and inorganic chemical ingredients in order to either reflect or absorb the UV lights. Sunscreen usually includes sunblocks, zinc oxide and titanium oxide based, as part of the active ingredients. The inorganic ingredients are most commonly used to reflect harmful solar emissions.
Along with inorganic chemicals, sunscreens often contain organic chemicals: avobenzone or oxybenzone. Unlike inorganic chemicals and physically reflecting UV light, these compounds absorb the harmful rays through their chemical bonds. As the bonds absorb UV radiation, the components of the sunscreen slowly break down and release heat.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT UV LIGHTS
Most of the articles about sun protection and ultraviolet radiation mention there are three different types of harmful rays:
- UV-A penetrates deeply into the skin and can lead to cancer and premature skin aging.
- UV-B is involved in tanning and burning of your skin, and can potentially cause cancer
- UV-C is completely absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere.
Many are neglecting HEV – high energy visible lights. HEV lights are pretty much similar to UV lights. Both have similar physical characteristics. Unlike UV invisible UV lights, HEV lights are made up of color. They make the sky look blue. Exposure to HEV can cause wrinkles, redness, fine lines, sagging skin, uneven pigmentation, sensitivity and more.
Keep in mind that HEV rays come from the sun, but from LED lighting, smart phones, computers, tablets and more as well.
WHAT SPF MEANS
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It refers to how well the sunscreen protects against hazardous rays. Melanin, the skin pigment, is a natural SPF. The more you have it, a.k.a. the darker your skin is, the protection is better. It is important to know that the SPF refers only to UV-B lights, the ones that cause sun burn and skin cancer. We strongly advise looking for sunscreens labeled broad-spectrum block against UVA and UVB. Check out the ingredients as well, because those with inorganic ingredients will defect both UV-A and UV-B rays.
THE PERFECT SUNSCREEN
False Creek Skin Solution team proudly recommends Oclipse Sunscreen+Primer SPF 30. This sunscreen is carefully formulated, using natural melamin and titanium dioxide to provide broad spectrum sun protection. It blocks UVA, UVB and HEV rays as well.
A built in primer evens the skin tone and leaves the soft finish. All ZO sunscreens are paraben free.