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What is SPF?  How to Choose a Good Sunscreen

With millions of people suffering with skin cancer or sun related skin damage every year, the use of sunscreen is more important than ever before. The good news is more people are becoming aware of the risks associated with sun overexposure and are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves in the future. The even better news is there are a multitude of products on the market which make it very easy to take care of your skin and protect it from the sun’s damaging rays. However, many people are quite confused over which sunscreen they should purchase and use. There are many confusing terms often used on sunscreen packaging which make it difficult to know what can protect in the most effective way.

What Is SPF?

SPF is an acronym which stands for Sun Protection Factor. Bottles with higher SPF numbers will protect better against harmful UVB rays from the sun. Basically, the SPF number is an indicator of how long you can stay in the sun without burning. For instance, if a person usually gets burned in 15 minutes, a lotion with SPF 15 protection would allow them to stay in the sun 15 times longer (or for 225 minutes) without burning.  It’s recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology that everyone wear a product with at least SPF 15. Of course, some people wonder if this means an SPF of 50 will protect loads more than lotions with SPF of 30. However, this is not necessarily the case. A lotion with SPF 50 only protects about 2% more than a lotion with SPF 30.


When you’re looking at lotions and sunblock products, be sure to check out the protection they offer from UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are those which result in the aging of the skin and they may cause skin cancer. UVB rays are those which can also give sunburn and are related to the cause of skin cancer.

Double Duty Sun Protection Beauty Products

There is no need to add extra products to your beauty regimen to get adequate sun protection for your skin. There are many skin care products that do "double duty," by adding sunscreen to moisturizers and foundations. Using these face products on a daily basis, even on cloudy days, is important for preventing wrinkles due to sun exposure. Thus, one factor to think about when choosing your daily makeup or moisturizer is whether or not it offers included UVA protection. Neutrogena offers high SPF rated products to help you combine both moisturizer and/or makeup coverage and skin protection in one product, simplifying your skin care routine. Many body lotions, like Eucerin's Everyday Protection SPF 15 Body Lotion, can add moisture to your skin while protecting it from daily sun damage.

Waterproof (Actually Means Water-Resistant) Sunscreen

While years ago white zinc oxide was required for beach goers, today there are many options when it comes to skin protection. You no longer are forced to look like a clown to get ultraviolet protection. Instead, you can now find water resistant sunscreen to help you be able to frolic in the ocean or at the pool without worrying about sun damage. However, waterproof and water resistant sunscreen is still somewhat degraded when it comes into contact with mositure. Reapply often. Be sure to look for a type that is both noncomodegenic and hypoallergenic. Also be sure to remember most “water resistant” lotion still need to be reapplyed at least every two hours to be effective.

With so many great products on the market for every day skin protection, there is no excuse to not protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Skin damage from the sun not only causes cancer but it can also cause things like early aging of the skin and wrinkles. While cancer is much more terrifying to consider, most women aren’t motivated to protect themselves due to it because they think it will never happen to them. However, all women are concerned about wrinkles so take action today and protect yourself from both!

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