SPF and Skin Health

There are over 3.5 million skin cancers occurring in over two million people annually in the US. Since it is the most common form of cancer in the States, it has become the another major health concern of the government.

Sun and the Skin

The sun with all its glory can wreak havoc in the skin. It can burn out the outer layer of the skin, dry it out and even cause a few reddening problem. Sunburn can be the start of everything harmful, and some of this harm isn’t just skin deep. Although tanning has become a widely acceptable practice, it can also lead to some people’s demise.

Sun related skin problems can be minor once it includes only little sun burns. But once prolonged exposure results to other problems such as getting higher risk for cancer, then the sun may not be your friendly tanning companion anymore.

People who are near the equator and those that are in the dessert areas may tend to adapt more with the sun rage. But once you are fair skinned and sudden and prolonged exposure has happened, then there are various scenarios that can play a role in it.

Sunscreen Hype

To ward off sun’s rays and its effect, people developed certain ways to be able to avoid it or shield themselves. One of the things that are used includes shields from the heat and the sun in forms of parasols, umbrellas, caps, hats, visors and wearing clothing that can cover exposed skin.

Due to this concern, bigger companies marketed sunscreen creams and lotions. These products aim to cover the skin as much as possible and ward off the harmful effects of the sun.

The sunscreen has become hype since most people now are well aware of the sun’s harmful effects. But it is one hype that never gone out of fad. These sunscreens only just got better and better, SPF protection got higher and higher.

SPF and Numbers

The SPF rating of sunscreen usually makes it sell. SPF means the Sunburn Protection Factor. It argues the product’s effectiveness against sunburn causing UV rays. For people who are exposed or are doing some outdoor activities an SPF 30 or higher is recommended.

Broad spectrum is also recommended foremost sunscreen labels when you choose one. And sweat or water resistant sunscreen is usually recommended since they can last a bit longer when exposed to sweat or any water forms. Water resistant sunscreens though doesn’t mean it can stay in your skin for the whole day, it can last from 40 to 80 minutes after a soak in the pool or in the beach.

Other types of sunscreen involve the mineral and the chemical based. The chemical based sunscreen absorbs UV rays then releases it as small amount of heat while mineral based sunscreen reflects UV rays. The latter can be chosen by people who are with sensitive skin.

For additional protection, FDA approved components include the Avobenzone and zinc oxide mineral.

 Debunking Sunscreen Myths

There is different sunscreen myths which many people still believes. Here are some.

    1. Sunscreen can cause Vitamin D deficiency. It can’t be that possible since vitamin D can also be taken from other foods and dietary supplements.
    2. You don’t need sunscreen in cloudy weather. Even if the clouds are on, still 40%of UV rays reach the earth. So don’t get surprised when you get sunburned after staying outdoor even in a cloudy day.
    3. 80% of sun exposure is during childhood. The idea that you can’t undo sun exposure problems since you had everything during childhood isn’t true.  People who are over 40 are more likely to have higher dose of UV rays since they spend more time outdoors.

SPF Protection and Government Advices

An SPF of 100 doesn’t mean to have twice the protection of SPF50.  Proper and repeated application is more likely to help in the protection. This health concerns has even prompted several educational institutions to provide sun creams to their pupils.

In England, a health charity is urging the government to provide schools more information and advices so that kids will be able to know and be aware of sun and its effects as well as the sue of sun creams and sunscreens as sun protection. England also provides occasional sun advice from its Public Health.

Today, sunscreens are properly labeled since consumers are more vigilant with their product choices. Australia has been one of the countries to have more vigilant sun fighting information drives. Lately, SPF50+ has been made popular and available in the country which has high melanoma rates even decades back.

Taking an Action

One of the biggest problems why sun fighting isn’t successful is laziness. Slathering on sunscreen seemed a hard work to do for some. But realizing that the sun can wreak havoc quietly can change that. Next time you go outside, pick up that sun cream, provide attention to thin skinned part of the body like in the face and put the right amount of it.

And next time you decided on a tanning bed, try to think twice or thrice. And Umbrellas, hats and protective clothing even at a balmy weather is very important.

Image Credit: bradleypjohnson via Flickr

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