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Using Sunscreens For Proper Skin Care

Aug 21, 2008
The sun can have a hypnotic effect. It lures millions of people to the beach to bask in the warm sunlight. It tempts them to slather on a sunscreen and "lay out" in pursuit of that rich, chestnut skin tone. While most people intuitively know that the sun can damage your skin, they often fail to understand how susceptible their skin is to the sun's ravaging UV rays. Because most of the damage from sun exposure happens beneath the dermis, it's easy to neglect the severity. In this article, you'll discover how the sun can damage your skin, a common myth about sunscreens and why broad UV protection is essential to long-term skin care.

How The Sun Damages Your Skin

When your skin changes tone and begins to tan, it's the first sign of sun damage. The change in color is actually your body's first line of defense against the sun's UV radiation. To protect itself from the penetrating UV rays, your skin increases melanin production. With prolonged exposure, UVA rays can actually begin causing cellular damage beneath your dermis.

The Misconception Of The SPF

Most people are unaware of what an SPF actually measures. Often, consumers mistakenly believe that a high SPF sunscreen implies that their skin will be protected from the sun's UV rays. Unfortunately, that's only half true. The SPF is only a barometer of UVB absorption. It's not an indicator of the overall efficacy of the sunscreen. UVA rays are generally considered far more damaging. They can lead to DNA damage and the development of skin cancer. That's why a sunscreen's SPF can be misleading.

The Need For Broad UV Coverage

Effective skin care requires using a sunscreen that offers broad UV protection. It must shield your skin from both UVB and UVA rays. Traditional sunscreens offer adequate protection from UVB rays, but a negligible defense against the damaging UVA rays. In recent years, sunscreens have been using titainium dioxide, avobenzone, zinc oxide and ecamsule as active ingredients to block UVA rays. These newer sunscreens can provide your skin with a wide range of protection from UV radiation.

Applying Sunscreen Correctly

You need to apply your sunscreen liberally throughout the day. This is especially true when you're exposed to the sun for long periods of time. Many sunscreens are advertised as "all day" solutions, implying that they don't need to be reapplied. But, neglecting to do so is a mistake. First, your body requires up to 30 minutes to absorb a sunscreen. Second, sunscreens wear off quickly due to perspiration (despite being "water proof"). Ideally, you should apply it every 30 minutes to ensure your skin has uninterrupted protection from UV rays.

Skin Care And UV Protection

UV radiation can have a profound impact on your skin's appearance and overall health. The manner in which sunscreens are advertised exacerbates the problem. First, be aware of how UV rays can damage your skin. Second, understand the true meaning of SPF and what it implies. Use a sunscreen that offers broad level protection across a wide band of UV rays. Finally, apply and reapply the sunscreen generously and often.

Skin care begins with having adequate protection from the sun's damaging effects. Not only does a powerful sunscreen preserve your skin's health, but it helps ensure it will look young and vibrant. And that's a worthwhile investment.
About the Author
Bieux Skin is a leading innovator in natural skincare products, check out our website for more great skincare ideas.
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