By now, everybody knows that wearing sunscreen is a great way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays — well, we hope everybody knows that! The problem is, not all sunscreens are made equal. It’s important to make sure that you choose a good one that will protect your skin properly. Here’s what to look for:
UVA vs UVB
There are 2 types of UV rays – UVA and UVB rays – and they impact the skin very differently.
- UVA rays penetrate more deeply and are a bigger contributor to skin aging than UVB rays. They can even have this impact through windows and clouds.
- UVB rays do not penetrate as deeply, affecting only the outer most layers of the skin. Overexposure can result in tanned skin, burning and blistering. UVB rays can be filtered by glass or clouds.
So, in order for you to be protected from both types of UV ray, make sure that your sunscreen is described as “broad spectrum” and/or makes reference to providing both UVA and UVB protection.
Sun Protection Factor
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) refers to the amount of UV radiation your sunblock can handle before allowing the skin to burn. For example, an SPF50 product allows 2% of UV rays to hit the skin, whereas a SPF30 allows 3% – that’s 50% more UV radiation than the SPF50 product.
It’s important to note that SPF refers to the amount of radiation, not the length of exposure. In other words, you can stay out in the sun longer with one application when there is less radiation. For example, there is less radiation coming from the sun at 9am than there is at midday. There’s also far more radiation on clear days than on overcast days.
As a general rule of thumb, the higher the SPF, the better the protection. However, even an SPF50 product is only as good as its application and frequency of re-application.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it still must be said – always check that your sunblock has been dermatologically tested. This ensures the product is safe to use on your skin without causing irritation.
This is a fancy way of saying that the formula of the product is designed not to clog up your pores. This is a great choice for those with oilier or acne-prone skin.
More than just a sunscreen
Thanks to scientific advances, modern sunscreens now come in a variety of different formulations, which can also assist in addressing specific skin concerns. For example, Mesoestetic has options that specifically address concerns like aging, pigment control and oily skin.
It’s all about doing some reading and picking one that suits your skin type.