A Brief Overview on SPF

Good morning, beautiful friends!

Here at Profile Medical Cosmetics, we are all about SKIN. We want your skin to look as good as possible and we want you to be happy.

We are always ready to discuss the treatment options that will get your skin into the best possible condition.

That being said, if there is ONE thing that you’re going to do to maintain your treatment outcomes AND protect your skin from future sun damage it is… (you guessed it), applying SPF!

What Is An Ultraviolet Ray?

The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) rays that travel down and penetrate our skin. These rays are classified as UVB and UVA rays. 

UVB rays are primarily responsible for burns while UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin causing photoaging, wrinkles, sagging skin, texture change.

The longer your exposure to these rays, the higher your risk is of developing skin cancer.

The “SPF” of your sunscreen only indicates how well your skin is protected from burning (UVB). It does NOT indicate how well your skin is protected from other types of damage (UVA).

What Do SPF Numbers Mean?

It is important to know that having a higher number of SPF doesn’t necessarily mean that your protection level is better.

Some groups are advocating to put a ban on SPF’s labelled higher than 60. The general concern is that people will get a false sense of security by wearing a higher number.

What Are The Types of Sunscreens?

Sunscreens fall into two major categories: Chemical and Physical Blocks.

Sunscreens that provide ‘Chemical’ protection typically include a combination of two to six of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.

Mineral sunscreens or ‘Physical’ blocks include zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.

The Sunscreen Industry

The sunscreen industry is like many other industries. Unfortunately, its focus isn’t always on the consumers’ best interest.

Despite agencies such as the EWG and the USFDA pressing for safer sunscreen ingredients, big chemical companies, and the sunscreen manufacturers that buy from them are lobbying against these changes.

Essentially, this leaves it up to the consumer to ensure that the product they are buying is a) doing what they want it to do and b) safe to use on themselves and their families. This is easier said than done. 

What Ingredients Should I Look For In A Sunscreen?

There are only two sunscreen ingredients that have been proven safe and effective to block both UVB and UVA ingredients: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are physical blocks.

Sunscreens containing only chemical ingredients do not adequately protect you against UVA rays – the rays that cause ageing, wrinkles, and sagging!!!

Chemical sunscreens contain many ingredients that are questionable with regards to how they may adversely affect your health and further testing needs to be done. 

Make Informed Sunscreen Choices

I encourage you to read the EWG executive summary on sunscreens and to use their handy tool that will give you a score of your sunscreen of choice and empower you with the information to make the best personal choice.

Image of Lion's Head
Lion’s Head and Georgian Bay

Top 6 Tips To Staying Safe In The Sun

In the meantime, I leave you with the following tips:

  • Check your sunscreen ingredients. Ensure they contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  • Reapply every two hours or after sweating profusely or swimming.
  • Wear a hat and protective clothing.
  • Avoid the outdoors between 10 am until 4 pm.
  • Enjoy the rest of the summer 😀
  • Continue to wear sunscreen all year round!

Since I’m constantly in the sun, I use sunscreen daily.

Maria Sharapova

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