We all know we are supposed to apply sunscreen when we are outside, but what is it really protecting us from? UVA, UVB, UVC, and IR rays are all damaging to our skin. When you're not wearing sunscreen on a daily basis to help protect your skin's health, UVA and UVB rays can cause skin reddening, brown spots, accelerated skin aging, and increase your risk of skin cancer. UVA - stands for Ultraviolet A or " UV Aging Rays". These rays cause long term skin damage and photo-aging. UVB - stands for Ultraviolet B or "UV Burning Rays". These rays are the cause of a sunburn. UVB rays are the common cause of most skin cancers. UVC - stands for Ultraviolet C. It is the strongest and most deadly of solar rays, however the ozone layer stops these from reaching the Earth. IR or Infrared Rays- these rays penetrate the deepest into the skin causing the skin to lose elasticity. Here are a few things to remember when protecting yourself.
- Look at your sunscreen ingredients and make sure you see titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 2 tbs of sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside; reapply every 80 minutes or after swimming or sweating.
- Sun Protection Factor (SPF) measures a sunscreen's effectiveness in preventing a sunburn in relation to the length if time spent in the sun.
- Schedule a yearly visit with your dermatologist for a complete skin exam.