I hate the sun, the heat, the beaches—anything that has to do with my skin frying while freckles pop all over my body like corn in a stove I run away from; really fast and hard! All my life I’ve used sunblock, and since I had a car and drove everywhere, didn’t live in a roofless house, only walked from parking lots to buildings, avoided the beach like the plague (though I’m from a tropical island in the Caribbean!) and pretty much refused to go to pool parties, picnics, BBQ’s or anything at all that involved standing in the sun and mingling—I think I’ve done pretty good so far with my really fair skin. But living in Spain has been another story altogether.
I needed answers to my woes so I decided to ask my trustworthy and unfailing friend, Google, and this is what I found:
Sunblock is different than sunscreen. A sunblock physically blocks the sun’s UV radiation of the skin, both UVA and UVB. Chemical sunblocks scatter, reflect, and physically block UV radiation. Sunscreens absorb ultraviolet light so that it doesn’t reach your skin. On the other hand, sunblock physically blocks the sun’s UV rays. Unfortunately, many products are labeled as being sunblock, but are actually just sunscreen. If you really want a sunblock, look for sunblock ingredients, including titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
Mmmm... Maybe what I have is sunscreen? My face block has both titanium and zinc but the body one has neither! No wonder the freckles in my feet and arms have multiplied. Lying thieves!
SPF stands for the Sun Protection Factor provided by a sunscreen. It refers to a product’s ability to stop your skin from burning. The higher the number of the SPF, the longer you can stay in the sun before burning.
For example, if it normally takes 10 minutes of sun exposure for skin to get a sunburn, an SPF of 15 would ideally provide 150 minutes of protection. (In actual use, protection is less because sunscreen gets washed off by sweat and water.) An SPF of 15 blocks more than 92% of the UVB rays. Skin may still tan even if a sunscreen is used, since all chemical sunscreens allow some UVA rays to penetrate.
Huh? Say what? What the hell does that mean?!? All these years I thought SPF meant the percentage of the sun that your sunscreen/sunblock protected you from. Say a 45 SPF protected your skin by 45%. *confused* Anyone else believed this or am I the stupidest person in the world? (No smart-ass comments, Harlot!) And what do they mean, some rays may still penetrate? NO WONDER MY SKIN IS HORRIBLE THESE DAYS!
*Sob* Anywho, *hiccup* here are some tips that might help you guys when out in the sun. *sniff*
Sun Safety 101 - The Forgotten Areas
Your arms, legs and face are usually well-protected with sunscreen or sunblock, but it’s easy to forget to apply it to areas such as your ears, behind the knees and the tops of the feet. Skin cancer can turn up anywhere, like the hairline and scalp, so massage sunscreen into your roots and apply a lip balm with SPF 15 on your lips. Try going for a color gloss rather than clear, which will protect your lips even more. And, pick out a pair of sunglasses that blocks all UVA and UVB rays. Exposing your peepers to the sun may result in eye damage such as vision loss!
Sun Safety 101 - Play It Safe
- The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. That doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors during these hours, but try playing in the shade instead of out in the direct sunlight.
- Learn the Shadow Rule. If your shadow is shorter than you are, then the sun is high in the sky and UV rays are intense.
- When you’re out in the scorching sun and sweating like mad, you lose a lot of body fluid. So drink plenty of water (at least eight glasses a day) to avoid heat-related illnesses.
- Suffering a sunburn before the age of 21 greatly increases the risk of skin cancer, so slather on sunscreen, even on cloudy days!
Here are some links of recommended sunblocks that might work for you:
- Prevention.com: Beauty editor’s picks for summer 2007
- How to be the best consumer you can be: Which sunscreens work best?
- Dr. Shen’s best 2007 sunscreen
- What is the best sunscreen for kids?
- Best sunscreen products on the market
**Many people incorrectly assume dry skin leads to wrinkles and that moisturizers can prevent them. Not true. Research shows 90% of wrinkles are caused by the sun’s UVA light and sun damage is the #1 cause of premature aging in women and men. Even at low-level exposures, UVA light breaks down collagen, which causes wrinkles. Even worse, scientists have found that UVA is the main culprit for many melanomas because it reaches deep into the underlying support structure of the skin.
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