What is Sunscreen?
Sunscreen is a topical form of medication used in skincare to protect the skin from overexposure to the sun. Sunscreen can applied to the skin in numerous ways. This includes but is not limited to; lotions, serums, sprays, gels, foams, and sticks.
Sunscreen is used to do the following:
- Protect the skin from Sunburn reducing the exterior impact of UVB rays.
- Reduce chances of developing skin cancer by reducing the penetration of UV rays into the skin minimizing damage.
- Help prevent skin Discoloration from sun spots, melasma and other skin conditions caused by excessive sun exposure.
- Prevent premature skin damage and wrinkles caused by the aging effects of UVA ray damage.
- Help improve skin health. Sunscreen acts as a protectant to proteins in the skin like collagen.
The amount of sun protection effective in a sunscreen is measured in SPF. The term SPF(sun protection factor) is a relative measure for what percent you will be protected from UVB rays for a period of time. The calculation method of SPF was discovered in 1974 by Swiss-Austrian Chemist Franz Greiter. He also is credited as the founder of modern sunscreen. In 1946 nearly 30 years prior to the concept of SPF Franz developed “Gletscher Crème (Glacier Cream)” with a measures SPF of approximately 2.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends purchasing a sunscreen that is broad spectrum, SPF 30 or higher, and waterproof.
What is the difference between UVA and UVB Rays
One of the types of radiation emitted from the Sun is UV rays (Ultra violet rays). There are 3 types of UV rays, UVA rays, UVB rays, and UVC rays.
UVA – Makes up 95% of the UV rays that reach the earth’s surface. UVA rays penetrate more deeply into the skin than other UV rays because it is not filtered by the ozone layer. These rays can damage the dermis and epidermis layers of the skin. Overexposure to this form of UV ray can cause, premature aging, wrinkles, and potentially certain skin cancers.
UVB – Being filtered heavily by the ozone layer, UVB rays make up only 5% of the UV rays that reach the earth’s surface. Despite it not being the dominant UV ray, UVB rays have a higher energy level than UVA rays and can cause similar types of damage.
UVC rays are the highest energy level UV ray emitted by the sun. UVC rays do not penetrate the ozone layer and are only present in man-made substances such as, arc welding torches, mercury lamps, and UV sanitizing bulbs and can be dangerous if exposed to it directly.
What are main active ingredients in Sunscreen?
There are 2 types of sunscreen Chemical Sunscreen and Topical (Mineral) Sunscreen
Chemical Sunscreens typically contain a combination of the following ingredients; oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, or octinoxate.
Mineral Sunscreens typically contain the following ingredients; titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
The FDA is currently reviewing a number of ingredients found in sunscreen for GRASE (generally recognized as safe and effective).
“Avobenzone and zinc oxide are the two best UVA filters in American sunscreens, providing the desired protection from free radical formation and titanium dioxide is moderately effective at protecting against UVA rays.”“Do Sunscreens Prevent Skin Damage?” – The Environmental Working Group(EWP)
How often do you put on sunscreen?
Categories: Skin Care