Enjoying the sun is one of the best ways to absorb vitamin D, but it can also increase the risk of skin cancers if not appropriately protected. While wearing any sunscreen is better than not wearing any, finding the right sunscreen can make a huge difference in protection from the sun. Other protection includes physical protection, such as clothes, accessories or staying in the shade.
The purpose of sunscreen is to protect the skin from harmful ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) and ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) rays emitted by the sun. UVA rays contribute to reduced skin elasticity, like wrinkles and sagging. At the same time, UVB rays are more carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and often responsible for sunburns. However, UVA rays also enhance UVB rays; therefore, regardless, protection against both is essential.
SPF is the sun protection factor and measures the amount of UVB protection. The numerical value indicates how much longer skin covered with sun cream takes to redden in response to UV, compared with unprotected skin. Therefore, SPF30 lasts 30 times longer in the sun to redden than unprotected skin.
Both the NHS and Cancer Research UK recommend using a product with an SPF of at least 15, whereas the British Association of Dermatologists suggests using at least SPF30. This is independent of the weather conditions and whether you burn easier. When choosing a sunscreen, it is recommended to select one with a UVA seal which means it has approved UVA protection. Secondly, when selecting, you will need to consider the actual temperature and conditions. The hotter and stronger the sun's rays, the higher the SPF required. Finally, the third thing to consider is how easily you burn; if you burn more quickly, you will need a higher SPF, whereas if it requires a lot to burn, you may require a lower SPF. Ensure to apply often as necessary as it differs from person to person.
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