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How to Decode Your Sunscreen Bottle: a Guide

May 31, 2017

 

The sun is one of the most dangerous things for your skin, and can cause multiple different problems for your health. While a sun burn may only be painful temporarily, every time your skin is burned the change of developing skin cancer and sun poisoning dramatically increases.

But now that the bright days of summer are now on the horizon, it is time to really take care of yourself and prevent sun damaged skin. While we all may know that wearing sunscreen is important, many people either don't apply enough sunscreen for adequate protection or don't re-apply after it wears off.

Unfortunately, sunscreen can be quite complex and have some confusing labels and ingredients. So, to prevent any confusion, here is a guide on how to decode that sun screen bottle.
 

Broad Spectrum

Chances are you'll see this everywhere you look when picking out sunscreens, but it can be hard to know exactly what it stands for. According to the American Cancer Society, sunscreen that has broad spectrum protection protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Simply put, UVA rays contribute to sun cancer while UVB rays are what cause sunburn, so it is crucial you are protect from both!
 

Sun Protection Factor

The SPF number on your bottle is the level of protection the sunscreen has against UVB rays. While the higher the number means more protection, the difference once the numbers get past 30, the smaller the difference becomes. For example, a sunscreen with SPF 15 filters 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 filters 97%, SPF 50 filters 98%, and SPF 100 filters 99%. So, with this in mind, no sunscreen offers complete coverage so it is crucial to also wear additional layers to ward off sunburn.
 

Water resistance

Remember, even when you are in the water the sun can reach you! This is where water resistant sunscreen comes to play, but these sunscreens do eventually wear off. If it says on the label that the protection is water resistant, it must state clearly if it is for 40 or 80 minutes. Make sure to always, always double check!

The sun doesn't discriminate whether or not you have oily skin, sensitive skin, or skin that tans in the sun. Sun damaged skin is something you should stay away from completely, and with the help of this guide, you should be burn free all summer long!

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