Understanding Sunscreens – Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer and Premature Aging

Understanding Sunscreens – Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer and Premature Aging

The average adult skin weighs 6 pounds and measures 20 square feet when stretched out. This, our largest organ, is often the most neglected when it comes to protecting it from its worst enemy – the sun. It is vital that you routinely use a form of sun protection as part of your basic skin care routine to prevent skin cancer and retard skin aging. UVA and UVB are the types of sun’s rays that are known to cause skin damage. Consequently, when choosing sunscreens, it is important that it be “broad spectrum”, meaning that it protects you from both UVA and UVB radiation. Active ingredients in sun protection products can be divided into chemical versus physical agents.

Chemical “sunscreens” work by absorbing the energy of UV radiation before it affects your skin. Most are composed of several active ingredients because no single chemical ingredient absorbs the entire UV spectrum. Only a few chemicals protect against the UVA spectrum, one of which is avobenzone. Since these sunscreens are chemical in nature, they carry the potential of causing adverse skin reactions when used on a daily basis, particularly if you have sensitive skin. They must also be applied at least 30 minutes before sun exposure, allowing them adequate time for absorption, so that they may function effectively.

Physical “sunblocks” reflect or scatter UV radiation before it reaches the skin. The two types of physical sunblocks currently available are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Both provide broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection and are gentle enough for everyday use because they are physical agents and not chemicals. As a result, they rarely cause skin irritation.

Although incidental sun exposure, that which we obtain by simply being out and about, accounts for 80% of the total exposure we experience in a lifetime, only 40% of adults use some form of sun protection regularly. An astonishing 25% of individuals never use it at all. Issues of time and product consistency are often reasons for foregoing their use.

One of the easiest ways to incorporate sun protection into you daily skin care regimen is to use mineral makeup. Mineral makeup is made from naturally occurring pigments from the earth and is free from synthetic chemicals that can harm the skin. It contains titanium dioxide, which provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB, SPF 15, protection. It is quick and easy to use. Since it is a physical sunblock rather than a chemical sunscreen, it can be applied immediately before sun exposure. The 30 minute wait period that is associated with using chemical sunscreens does not apply. Mineral makeup is available as foundations, blushers, and bronzers making it more aesthetically appealing than the heavy and greasy sunscreens of the past. It is virtually undetectable in look and feel on the skin, making it ideal for use by men and women, alike.

If you are not using some form of sun protection regularly because you simply don’t have the time, there is now a facial cleanser available that literally allows you to “wash on” your sunscreen when you cleanse your face in the morning. So if time is an issue for you, you might want to consider this option.

Understanding Sunscreens – Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer and Premature Aging

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