We’re at the mid point of summer and by now I’m sure you’ve had your share of fun in the sun!
One thing people may not think about while soaking up those rays is the long-term effects extended sun exposure has on our skin such as wrinkles, sun spots and worse, melanoma :(.
Although most people wear SPFs these days, and many are familiar with the terms UVA / UVB, not everyone knows the meaning behind the acronyms.
SPF ~ Stands for Sun Protection Factor
• The higher the SPF the better. Since the number represents the theoretical amount of time you can stay out in the sun without getting sunburned. E.g. SPF 20 would allow you to stay in the sun 20 times longer than you could without protection ~ meaning if your skin reddens within 15mins of sun exposure without sun block, you can stay in the sun for about 300 mins with an SPF 20 given that it hasn’t washed of.
UV ~ Stands for Ultra Violet Rays
• A good way to remember UVB is to associate the B with Burn. These rays affect the upper layers of the skin, activates melanin production and causes the skin to burn when exposed to the sun for too long. Note: SPF only applies to sun protection factor for UVB rays.
• I associate the A in UVA to Aging. These are the longer rays that affect the deeper layers of our skin ~ the damage shows up on the surface many years later. E.g. wrinkles & age spots.
That being said, it’s important to get a really good sunscreen with a high SPF that shields you from both UVB and UVA rays. Although the SPF number won’t determine the protective factor for UVA rays, many natural based sunscreens contain ingredients like Zinc & Titanium dioxide that create a physical block which prevents UVA rays from penetrating. And of course opt for waterproof if you’ll be engaging in water related sports and activities ;)
If you want to avoid the sun altogether but still long for a glowing golden skin tone, then go with Sunless Tanners as an alternative. There are so many new ones on the market in various intensities that either work gradually over a few days, instantly within an hour or washes off when you want.
If your skin is already showing signs of cumulative sun exposure, such as wrinkling or dark spots, there are also products that help minimize the damage.
I have to confess that even though I’ve learned a lot of this info working in the beauty industry, I’ve been guilty of not wearing sunscreen religiously :/ but when I do, these are some of my faves in the sun care category:
• Before Sun:
1. Coola Cucumber Mineral Sunscreen / 2. Coola Mimosa Spray Sunscreen Sport / 3. Elizabeth Arden Lip Balm with SPF 15
• After Sun:
4. Hampton Sun Aloe Mist / 5. St. Tropez After Sun Lotion / 6. Hampton Sun After Sun Moisturizer
• Sunless Tanners:
7. St. Tropez Bronzing Lotion / 8. St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse / 9. St. Tropez Gradual Face Tan
• Post Sun Damage:
10. Clinique Dark Spot Corrector / 11. Kora Luxurious Rosehip Oil / 12. Mela-D Pigment Control