Why Do I Still Need Sun Protection Even On A Cloudy Day?
A few weeks ago, I posted a question on Facebook, asking what you thought the number one causes of wrinkles are.
I was surprised with the huge response I got! And also with some of the answers…. some said smoking, others said pollution, stress, smiling, getting older, having teenagers (LOL)… but MOST of the answers were right on!
Yep…. SUN EXPOSURE!
In this Article, I’m going to talk about 2 questions pertaining to What Is SPF and why should you be protecting yourself even on cloudy days.
Q: I know that it’s a good idea to wear sunscreen if it’s a sunny day or I’m on the beach. But what if the sun is not out? Should I still use sunscreen?
A: If your aim is to prevent skin aging, yes.
The sun, not time, is our skin’s greatest adversary. While time causes chronological aging, the sun causes “photo-aging.”
The sun’s rays lead to more than 80 percent of the changes that result in wrinkles, age spots, dilated blood vessels, spider veins, red bumps, growths and raised dark spots.
And it doesn’t take much sun to do it. A 1997 article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that only minutes of exposure here and there accumulate over the years and lead to premature skin aging. This is far less than the exposure required to produce a visible sunburn or even a tan.
In addition, even when the sun doesn’t appear to be shining brightly, its rays are there, working their damage.
You don’t need to be a physicist to understand how rays cause aging. We’re chiefly concerned with two types of rays.
The first type:
Ultraviolet B rays (UVB), causes superficial and immediate skin damage by irritating the melanocytes in the bottom layer of the outer skin. Depending on the degree of irritation, we either get a tan or a burn.
A sunburn not only creates a cooked-lobster look but damages the skin’s immune system and increases the likelihood of potentially fatal malignant melanoma, which now occurs in 1 out of 90 Americans.
The second type:
Ultraviolet A rays (UVA), penetrates more deeply into the skin. These rays are a product not just of direct sun but of all natural light, capable of reaching the skin through glass, clouds and smog.
In other words, there is no such thing as a sunless day.
(By the way, those damaging UVA rays are used in tanning salons, so don’t think that’s a no-risk way to get a tan.)
Q: What is SPF & What Number Should I Be Wearing?
A: The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) displayed on the sunscreen label ranges from 2 to as high as 50 and refers to the product’s ability to screen or block out the sun’s harmful rays.
A few years ago the levels on sunscreen labels started to creep into alarmingly and never-before-seen territory, some even maxing out at around SPF100+. (The New Yorker summed it up pretty neatly, deftly pointing out the ridiculous of the small and large ends of the spectrum.) While the numbers were spinning wildly out of control, most of us were still confused about what SPF we should be wearing. Higher is better, right?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a very legit source on the subject, the required level is SPF30.
So does that make these crazy-high sunscreens around 3x more effective? Not necessarily. Luckily, those exorbitant SPF levels are not long for this world; regulators are cracking down.
Here to explain what level SPF we should actually be wearing is New York dermatologist Anne Chapas:
For regular, everyday use, what level sunscreen should we be wearing?
“The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone apply a sunscreen with an SPF30 every day.
SPF30 seems low compared to all the other SPF levels on the market. Why is this number so low?
“The number means that it would take 30 times longer to burn than not wearing any sunscreen. That means if it would take a minute to burn without sunscreen, it would take 30 minutes to burn after applying the recommended amount of SPF30. This is usually adequate for low levels of sun exposure.”
There are so many sunscreens that are topping SPF100. Does a super-high SPF become ineffective at a certain number?
“The FDA has recently recommended changing the sunscreen labeling to avoid this confusion. Soon the highest level available will be 50+.”
Should different skin tones wear different levels of SPF?
“Everyone should wear sunscreen since the sun causes skin cancer and aging in all skin types. The Academy does not recommend different levels depending on skin tone.”
Here’s an interesting fact:
- Most people under-apply sunscreens, using ¼ to ½ the amount required. Using half the required amount of sunscreen only provides the square root of the SPF. So, a half application of an SPF 30 sunscreen only provides an effective SPF of 5.5!
So don’t be stingy with your SPF 30!
I hope that you now know a little more about SPF and how important it is….
If I Could Turn Back Time
Now that I’m 47, if I could turn back the clock, one thing I would have changed is I wouldn’t have worshipped the sun and especially not use those tanning beds.
And since I’m back in time, another thing I would have done differently is I would have been more diligent in wearing my bottom retainer after braces…. (ha ha).
What If I Told You
That you could not only achieve the SPF 30 protection you need … but also use a moisturizer that contains a POWERFUL anti-wrinkle complex?
What does that mean? Basically it means that you can dramatically improve your complexion because you are rehydrating, protecting, renewing and revitalizing your skin at a Cellular Level.
Let me show you this 2 minute video that explains the science behind Human Growth Factors:
It’s kinda mind-blowing:
If you want more information, here’s a fact sheet (PDF)… Click Here.
So how about you? Are You diligent in using your SPF daily? Please, share your thoughts with me in the comments section.
Stay happy, healthy and positive!
“Just a Regular Girl, Going After Her Dreams”
Phone: (816) 726-6905
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