Sunscreen Season: What is SPF & Why Do I Need It?
SPF is short for sun protection factor. In sunscreen, SPF helps to block your skin from the sun’s radiation.
So let me break it down for you, the sun emits two types of radiation, UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays contribute to the signs of aging in the skin, like wrinkles and sagging, while UVB rays are more carcinogenic and often responsible for sunburns. What a lot of people don't know is that UVA rays make UVB rays more reactive, so combined, the two can actually be quite deadly.
Now, you’re exposed to harmful radiation from the sun virtually anytime you step outside or are near a window that has sunshine, and that radiation has an effect on your skin even if you aren’t prone to sunburns.
What SPF does, is it extends your skin’s natural defenses against the sun’s rays. For example, an SPF of 15 provides about 15 times more protection than just your normal skin without sunscreen, while an SPF of 50, provides 50 times more protection.
Personally, when I purchase sunscreen, I prefer to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen, like an SPF 50+ because it blocks out both UVA and UVB rays.
Sunscreen lasts an average of two hours, meaning you should plan to reapply every two hours, and If you sweat a lot, notice your skin burning, or spend time in the water, you’ll probably want to reapply more frequently.
Using sunscreen is an important way to reduce the negative side effects from harmful UVA and UVB radiation from the sun. People of all ages and all skin color should use at least an SPF of 30 when spending time outdoors, and especially during this season.
Children under 6 month's don't need sunscreen, but children over 6 months old should wear a cream-based sunscreen of at least SPF 30.