What Is SPF?

What Is SPF?

The summer sunshine has finally arrived! For many of us, that means spending a lot more time outdoors, maybe at the pool or at the beach. Even if your summer sun exposure is limited to mowing the lawn or washing the car, however, skin protection is critical.

Today there are more skin protection products available than ever before.  More choices can mean more confusion. What is SPF? What do the SPF numbers mean and how important are they? What is the difference between UVA rays and UVB rays? Are spray products better than lotions? How often should I apply sunscreen anyway?

Why We Need Sunscreen

Understanding sunscreen products starts with understanding why we need them. Sunshine that makes it through the ozone layer contains two types of radiation we need to be concerned about. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays can age the skin. These rays penetrate deep into the skin’s layers causing damage that may show up years later as wrinkles, age spots, and leathered skin. UVA rays can damage skin all year round, even in cloudy weather. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are most responsible for skin burns. While even winter skiers can get sunburns, most sunburns occur in the summer months. Both UVA and UVB rays have been implicated as causes of skin cancer.

What kind of sunscreen should I look for?

To prevent damage from both UVA and UVB rays, look for a sunscreen that is marked “Broad Spectrum” on the label. The SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, on the label is a measure of UVB protection, or the degree of protection against sunburn. For instance, according to WebMD, an SPF of 15 blocks about 94 percent of UVB rays, an SPF of 30 blocks 97 percent, and an SPF of 45 blocks 98 percent. Higher SPF numbers are better, but after 50 the degree of extra protection is negligible.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) no longer allows sunscreens to advertise that they are “waterproof” or “sweat proof”.  Water dilutes the power of all sunscreens. Instead, new labeling rules require manufacturers to specify how long the sunscreen will remain “water resistant”. This information can be used to help consumers know how often the sunscreen should be reapplied.

Lotion or spray?

Whether you use a lotion or a spray, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s directions about how and when to apply the sunscreen. Many dermatologists recommend that sunscreen should be used during the winter, on cloudy days, and even while driving as UVA rays can penetrate the glass of a car’s windshield. Sunscreen should be reapplied according the manufacturer’s recommendations, more often if a person is swimming or sweating profusely.

Sunscreen generally should be applied about 30 minutes before going out into the sun. The average adult should apply about one ounce, or a shot-glass full, of sunscreen from head to toe for proper protection.  Bald heads, or heads with sparse hair need sunscreen. Don’t forget the feet. Sunburn and skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body and feet are often missed when sunscreen is applied.

If you have questions about what sunscreen to use, ask your dermatologist or skin care specialist what they recommend and what SPF is. Careful protection now can have a great bearing on your skin’s health in the future. You can also request your free skin consultation at Vivia Center where our skincare specialists will match you with products that are right for your skin.

Vivia Center offers skin care treatments covering a wide range of needs utilizing the latest technologies, giving patients a superior service from a medical team they know and trust.

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How To Get Rid of Sunburn…Once and For All!

If you’re a sun lover, you may be paying a high price for good times in the sun. Excessive wrinkles and bagging skin may be making you look older than your true age. At the very least, you don’t look as healthy and young as you could. The good news is you can reverse some of the sun’s aging process. Here’s how to get rid of sunburn.

How To Get Rid of Sunburn: Essential Skincare Tips For Sun Damage

Pay attention to what you eat. The right foods can actually help nurture skin and repair the damage caused from too much exposure. Fruits and vegetables, seafood, and nuts are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Use a facial mask. By exfoliating the damaged layer of skin, the younger and healthier skin underneath is revealed. Make sure the mask you use contains safe cleansing agents, moisturizers and soothing ingredients.

Rejuvenate. Today there are many products on the market that help and enhance skin cell re-growth. This is a great way to repair your sun-damaged skin so that it looks smoother, healthier and younger. You can also find products that stimulate collagen production. Collagen is responsible for the firm skin tone like the one you had when you were years younger.

Of course it’s always easier to avoid damage than try to fix it. To keep sun damage and wrinkles at bay you should also:

Avoid direct sunlight during peak hours between 10 AM and 3 PM. Descendents make a sunscreen and everyday part of your skin care routine. An SPF of 30 or more gives the most protections. If you’re on the beach, take advantage of shade and beach umbrellas. Be sure you protect your eyes with sunglasses and your hair and scalp with a hat. In addition to sunscreen, a lip balm containing SPF should be in your arsenal of sun care protection accessories.

Use a body lotion or gel that contain natural emollients after time in the sun. This can help protect you from the ray’s drying effects. Natural plant oils sooth, heal, nurture, and moisturize without leaving an oily residue. A high quality night cream should also be a part of your skincare routine. Skin cells renew at a greater rate during the nighttime hours.

Vivia Center For Cosmetic Therapy offers the latest in effective skin care products that help defend your skin from the sun’s damaging effects. The Obagi-C Rx System is a prescription-strength system containing professional strength Vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant) and 4% Hydroquinone for a more even, toned appearance. Contact Vivia Center to order your Obagi System today.

Vivia Center offers skin care treatments covering a wide range of needs utilizing the latest technologies, giving patients a superior service from a medical team they know and trust.

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