This one’s been in the making for a very long time, but I really wanted to make sure I understood what I was talking about before I shared it with you. I’m talking about sun protection, for both face and body, and there is way more to it than just SPF. You can find sun protection in creams, sprays, oils, and even cosmetics these days, but not all sunscreens are created equal. I’ve spent so much time researching this topic and I’m finally ready to let you guys know what’s good (and what’s not) to help protect your body’s largest organ.
Skin cancer now affects one in five people, including my grandfather, my neighbor, and probably someone you know too. Anyone can get it, no matter how fair or deep your skin may be. That’s not to say certain people aren’t particularly susceptible, and I’ll talk more about who needs to be especially careful further on in the post. It’s painful, it’s deadly, and it looks pretty nasty too. Just take the two minutes/day and protect yourself – especially if you live in an area where the sun’s always out or it’s extra strong (Oregon and New Zealand come to mind).
Let’s start with some basic terminology, so you can identify what’s happening in your products and if they’re the right choice for you. I’m not a science teacher, so I’ll keep the explanations to a minimum, but I’ve linked all my sources below if you want to read further.
There are two types of radiation from the sun – UVA and UVB. UVA rays are less intense than UVB, but they actually penetrate the skin more deeply which leads to aging, wrinkles, and sun spots. From skincancer.org: “UVA is the dominant tanning ray, and we now know that tanning, whether outdoors or in a salon, causes cumulative damage over time. A tan results from injury to the skin’s DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can lead to skin cancer.” UVB is less prevalent than UVA, but much stronger, and this is what leads to redness and sunburn as it damages the skin’s outermost layer (epidermis). Too much exposure to UVA or UVB can contribute to the growth and development of skin cancer. Ideally you’d use a product that protects against both – these are usually labeled as broad spectrum. You can also refer to the UV Index to help you make the best decisions for your daily sun protection.