Sunscreen Questions Answered
What does SPF stand for?
Sun Protection Factor. According to the FDA, SPF is a measure of how much UV radiation is required to produce a sunburn on skin that is protected with sunscreen relative to the amount of UV radiation required to produce sunburn on unprotected skin or skin with no sunscreen applied. Think of it this way…if you expose your skin to the sun unprotected and your skin begins to burn within ten minutes, when you apply an SPF of 30 to your face and/or body, you may be protected from the sun’s harmful rays for about 300 minutes (10 minutes in the sun unprotected X SPF 30 = 300 minutes of protection) which is essentially 5 hours provided you don’t plan to swim or do a lot of sweating and wiping off. Keep this in mind when choosing a sunscreen as the length of time you may be exposed and whether you will be swimming should be key factors in your selection of the appropriate Sun Protection Factor. As a good rule of thumb, you should re-apply your sunscreen (including waterproof sunscreen) every 2-3 hours or in between dips in the pool.
What number SPF Should I Use?
Before we answer that question, lets first explore the different levels of sun protection. Sun protection typically ranges from SPF 8 to over SPF 50. According to experts, using a product with an SPF higher than 15 or 30 does not necessarily increase your skin’s level of protection. There have been questions raised as to the safety of using a very high Sun Protection Factor due to a potential false sense of security leading to overexposure. One might think they are protected from the sun’s rays with a higher SPF and ultimately overexpose themselves increasing their risk of skin cancer and premature aging. Its best to stick with products that have an SPF 15 to SPF 30 as anything over a 30 SPF provides about the same amount of protection from UVA and UVB rays and you may be less likely to risk overexposure.
Remember: The SPF number on your sunscreen indicates the length of time it protects your skin provided the sunscreen has not been washed or wiped off. Once that time is up, you must re-apply or wear a hat or protective clothing.
Who Needs Sunscreen?
Everyone needs and benefits from sunscreen regardless of skin type or skin tone. Making sunscreen a part of your daily skincare regimen can help guard against the development of skin cancers and help prevent premature aging.
Do I need sunscreen if I'm indoors?
The answer is yes! The sun's harmful rays can penetrate through your windows in your home. While you're not likely to suffer a sunburn while in your home, the sun's harmful rays can still contribute to the premature aging of your skin. Since applying your sunscreen is a part of your daily regimen anyway, its best to apply it even if you don't plan to leave home.
If I have brown skin, do I still need sunscreen?
There is no question that melanin, the natural skin pigment, plays a role in protecting the skin from the sun’s harmful rays. After all, a “suntan” or the darkening of the skin is the skin’s natural way of protecting itself during sun exposure by producing more melanin when needed. So of course, people with naturally darker skin tones tend to have more of a “head start” as it pertains to protection. That is not to give all you melanin beauties a false sense of security when it comes to sun exposure and the potential for skin cancer! While you naturally have some added protection, it is still possible to develop skin cancer from overexposure to the sun’s UVB rays! Not to mention the skin damaging effects and wrinkle causing UVA rays! Better to err on the side of caution and use sunscreen daily!
What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
There are two different types of ultraviolet rays UVA and UVB. UVA rays are said to play a significant role in premature aging and wrinkles. UVB rays are not only responsible for producing sunburn but also play a significant role in the development of skin cancer. It is imperative for the best protection to choose a sunscreen that offers a BROAD SPECTRUM SPF to insure you are protected from both UVA and UVB rays.
Can I layer my sunscreen for added protection?
It is common to be using multiple products that all contain some form of sunscreen. While its important to note, for example, if you are using a moisturizer with an SPF of 15 and your foundation has an SPF of 15, that does not collectively equal an SPF of 30. In fact, you will be most protected by the SPF 15 in the top layer of product which in this case is the foundation with SPF 15. Applying an antioxidant serum like Vitamin C under your sunscreen can provide skin additional protection against environmental damage that can lead to premature aging and wrinkles. So, yes to layering but choose a potent antioxidant like a 10% Vitamin C Serum to apply after cleansing and before your sunscreen.
Sydoni Products with SPF and Antioxidant Protection
*Visit your Dermatologist annually for a complete skin exam.