S.S.S! Are You Screening Your Skin from Sun?

August 11, 2015

1 comment

Or better known as, "sunscreen." 

It's the first beauty product that everyone needs in their cosmetic arsenal. Whether you wear makeup or not, a good sunscreen will protect your skin from the powers of the sun that shoot ultraviolet rays, or more well known as ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. I am a sunscreen advocate so this post will talk about the reasons why. It's a little heavy on the terminology, but I hope this will help you if you are someone who isn't using sunscreen on a daily basis or someone who does but doesn't know why. 

UV Who?

So, what's the difference between UVA and UVB? UVA are long-waves which account for 95% of the Earth's UV radiation. They are less intense than UVB rays, but due to the fact that they are 30 to 50 times more prevalent, most of us are exposed to large amounts of UVA during our lifetime. UVA rays can penetrate clouds and glass, so when you're driving and think you don't need sunscreen - think again! UVA rays can penetrate deep into the dermis, which is the skin's thickest layer, and is known to affect skin aging and wrinkling. 

UVB are shortwaves and causes skin reddening and sunburn, and tends to damage the skin's more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer.

The most significant amount of UVB hits the U.S. between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October. However, UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice, which bounce back up to 80 percent of the rays so that they hit the skin twice. UVB rays do not significantly penetrate glass. (source: skinorg.com)

Unprotected exposure and overexposure to either can lead to premature skin aging and suppression of the immune system. And when your skin’s defenses are down, you’re at risk for skin cancer.

Traditional vs Physical

If you have heard of people referring to "physical" and "traditional" sunscreen, the different is in the ingredients. Traditional sunscreens use chemical active ingredients to absorb and dissipate UVA and UVB rays. Mineral or "physical" sunblocks use Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide sit on top of the skin to deflect UVA and UVB rays. 

Classic and Mineral Sunscreens are differentiated by their active sun protection ingredients. Classic sunscreens use chemical (also commonly referred as “non-mineral” or “traditional”) active ingredients designed to absorb and dissipate UVA/UVB rays, while Mineral sunscreens use mineral (also commonly referred to as “physical”) active ingredients such as Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to scatter and reflect UVA/UVB rays. Classic sunscreens need to be applied 20 or 30 minutes before exposure to sun, and mineral sunblocks work immediately.

Find the sunscreen that fits your skin type, because there are so many around. Just make sure you apply it everyday and reapply throughout the day. So stay young, stay fresh and don't forget that sunscreen!


Lisa Eldridge, makeup maven, has an excellent video that explains the importance of sunscreen. 

1 Response

Block Island Organics
Block Island Organics

August 12, 2015

Nice overview! Love that you discuss both UVB and UVA rays. One thing to add, to get protection from both look for “broad spectrum” on the sunscreen label. SPF only measures UVB protection so it’s important to look for “Broad Spectrum” too. Our natural mineral sunscreen is an example of a broad spectrum sunscreen.

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