We often talk to our clients about skin care and sun protection – it is, after all, the best way to prevent wrinkles and early signs of aging (along with staying hydrated).
But there’s some confusion around the SPF number and what is effective and safe to protect your largest organ.
Let’s get technical
The gorgeous sunshine we see so much of here in Bend not only has visible light, it also contains Ultraviolet light (as well as electromagnetic, microwaves, infrared… you get the idea). Ultraviolet or UV light is not visible to our naked human eyes, and within UV light there are two types that we need to protect ourselves from:
These types of rays cause skin damage and wrinkles – both of which are no fun at all! They also contribute to sunburn, but UVB plays the bigger hand in that (see below).
These are the rays that give you that stinging sunburn and peel effect. They are also the rays cause skin cancer. When looking at a sun protection product, the SPF number on the bottle is referring to protecting your skin from UVB rays. SPF is the number of skin protection it provides from UVB light.
Bottom line: Look for the words “broad spectrum” on a bottle of sunblock or a moisturizer that claims to also protect you from the sun’s harmful rays.
But what about SPF? What does that number even mean?
SPF numbers can be the source of a lot of confusion, so think of it in terms of the level of protection you get from the sun as compared to if you went outside with nothing on your skin at all.
SPF is describing the amount of time it would take the sun’s radiation to burn your skin when you use the product exactly as directed (i.e. applying the correct number of times, and the correct amount, and being mindful to reapply when in and out of the water).
For example, by wearing a product that has SPF 30, it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you were wearing nothing at all.
That doesn’t mean your skin is 100% impenetrable to the sun’s rays while you are splashing away in the pool. There’s still an amount of UVA and UVB rays that hit you. At an SPF of 30, that level of radiation is still at about 3%. SPF of 50 brings that down to 2% – but that’s also 50% less radiation overall.
Of course, all this is under ideal conditions (read: applying liberally, 15-30 minutes before going outside, and applying according to the products specifications). But is this real life? It’s all too often that applying sunscreen gets put on the list of “things we can do real quick when we get there”. Applying sunscreen can also be a bit like eating low-fat chips – we eat more – and stay outside longer – because we think we are covered. Reapply? Not exactly on our minds when there’s a trail to blaze or river to float.
And remember, while SPF does help your skin a tremendous amount, to truly avoid the greatest damage you still need physical sun blockers (think shade, a hat, or even some light clothing).
- The sun’s rays are strongest during the hours of 10 am and 4 pm
- The amount of time it takes to get a burn depends entirely on the person’s complexion, diet, age, location, and the environment
- You need sun protection year-round – not just in the summer months
- While you likely won’t get burned, you can get sun damage through windows, so if your desk or job requires you to drive or sit by a sun-filled window for most of the day, apply sunscreen.
- Anjou Spa carries several sunscreens and moisturizers that contain SPF. Come in today to see what’s in our shop and get assistance picking out the best products for your lifestyle
Anjou Spa: your source for mineral sunscreen!
Not sure what to start sporting on your skin this summer? Consider trying a mineral SPF this season. If you are new to the world of mineral sun protection, it’s basically the best thing you can do for your skin this summer. We carry stand-out sun protective brands in our shop, like Eminence Organics and Suntegrity.
Try the *new product* Everly After’s Sunny Days All-Natural Sunscreen. Rich shea butter keeps your skin nourished while zinc oxide provides protection from harmful UVA & UVB rays. The essential oil content is diluted to .5% so it’s safe to use on children!
You can even select a self-tanner or a tinted moisturizer that will keep you protected and give you that sun-kissed look. Slather it on all day and let your skin recover at night with the Eminence Apricot body oil.
Use Anjou Spa as your summer escape and skin care center! Call us at (541) 241-8454 or book online to schedule your next self-care treatment. Read more about Anjou Bend Spa Membership and sign up to receive exclusive member specials and samples.