Sunscreen 101: Everything You Need To Know

Woman using sun cream on the beachChoosing a sunscreen can be confusing. There’s so much to know. Spray, lotion, waterproof, sweat proof, the list goes on and on. Today we are going to go over everything you need to know when it comes to sunscreen.

Let’s start with the basics. What is SPF and what does it stand for? SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, measures the amount of protection from UVB rays. There are several types of rays, two of which are UVA and UVB. UVB are the types of rays that cause sunburn and contribute to skin cancer. However, that is not to say that UVA rays are not dangerous.

When should you apply sunscreen? Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes prior to any outdoor activity. It should also be reapplied after swimming or physical activity that causes you to sweat. How much sunscreen do I need? About half of a shot glass, per application, is sufficient.

There are several things you should keep in mind when choosing a sunscreen.

First, you need broad spectrum protection. The label should say that it blocks UVA and UVB rays.

Second, choose a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15. Keep in mind that SPF 15 filters out about 93 percent of the sun’s rays, SPF 30 filters out about 97 percent. The protection factor does have its limits, however. Most studies show that it is unnecessary to go above SPF 50 as it does not block any more of the sun’s rays.

Third, sunscreen isn’t waterproof or sweat proof. The FDA ruled that these statements couldn’t be backed up.

Fourth, skip the sprays. With sprays, it’s easy to miss an area of your skin, and you may end up with stripes. It’s best to use a lotion because it’s easier to ensure you don’t miss a spot.

What about natural alternatives? We’ve all read the reports that sunscreen is loaded with harmful chemicals. If you’re looking for an alternative you’re in luck. Many different seeds and oils contain SPF.

  • Almond oil – SPF 5
  • Coconut oil – SPF 10
  • Wheat germ oil – SPF 20
  • Carrot seed oil – SPF 40

Now that you’re a sunscreen expert, lather some on and go hit the beach!

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