Summer is just around the corner and with it comes swimming, BBQs and other outdoor activities. It’s a time when the days get longer and the sun shines on a regular basis. However, along with the good times and nice weather comes the threat for sun burn. UVA and UVB damage to the skin can cause long term complications such as skin cancer, as well as be extremely painful to your skin. Thankfully, there is sun screen which can help shield your skin from these harmful rays. However, what should you look for in a sun screen? Believe it or not, there are several aspects that you should look for when selecting a sun screen/sun block and many of these aspects may vary from person to person. Here are some of the several factors that go into sun screen to determine which brand is right for you.
First off, there is a difference between sun screen and sun block beyond the name. Sun screen lets some of the UVA, UVB rays go through, but filters them to a non harmful substance. Sun block, on the other hand, keeps rays from reaching the skin by either deflecting them or absorbing them. The term is now generally used as a marketing tool among companies.
Another aspect that goes into sun screen/ sun block is the SPF factor. Everyone who has ever picked up a bottle of sun screen has seen on the front of the bottle SPF 50 or SPF 100, but what does this mean? SPF, or sun protection factor is in essence how resistant the sun block is against UVA and UVB rays. The higher the number of SPF, the more active ingredients in the sun screen, which provides better protection. The kind you should use greatly rests on the tone of your skin to ensure the protection. SPF 50 is the most commonly used,but no matter how much protection your choice sun block provides, it is recommended that you reapply every 2 hours. In the case of protection against UVA rays, pay attention to what ingredients are found in the product. Sun screen that contains either; ecamsule,avobenzone, oxybenzone,titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide, should provide the best coverage and protection against UVA rays.
For swimming and running, find a sun screen that is water resistant. Not only does it burn when water or sweat causes sun screen to get into your eyes, but washing the sun screen away renders your efforts of putting sun screen on useless. In addition, if you are intending to use sun screen on infants, make sure that the product is safe to use around children. Certain chemicals such as para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA),benzephenones, dioxybenzone, oxybenzone, and sulisobenzone can be irritating on a child’s skin. Choose sun screen that is sensitive to infant and young children’sskin as prescribed on the label. There are several aspects that go into taking care of your skin, but by applying sun block/ sun screen it reduces, if not eliminates, sun poisoning and greatly reduces your chances of getting skin cancer.
Information regarding medication safety can be found at (http://www.hap.org/prescriptions/safety.php)