Sunscreens are really misnamed. They should be called UV screens.
UV or ultra-violet light is the portion of sunlight that is most damaging to the skin. It causes skin cancer and all signs of aging that appear on the skin, including wrinkles.
It is present during the day, if there is sunlight, if it’s a rainy day, cloudy day or a hazy day. Your skin can be damaged anytime you are outdoors, even when it’s raining.
For complete protection, sunscreens need to be applied 20 minutes before you go outdoors, and then every 2 to 3 hours while you are exposed to UV light. UV light even penetrates window glass, so you are even exposed while driving in a car.
No sunscreen lasts more than 2 to 3 hours, and NONE are waterproof, sweat proof, water resistant or sweat resistant, even if the label says so. Sunscreen labels are very misleading and even give false information. Because non-sunscreens are waterproof, they can come off when swimming or perspiring. They need to be re-applied once you come out of the water.
Sunscreens work by keeping the UV light from penetrating your skin. The damage from UV light accumulates every time you are exposed. The damage starts the moment you are born and continues until you prevent it by wearing proper clothing or using sun screens or sun blocks properly.
Constant exposure does not give your skin a chance to repair itself. Proper use of sunscreens allows the normal repair mechanism in your skin to activate and reverse any damage the UV exposure has caused. To be effective, a sunscreen should have a SPF of at least 15. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends at least an SPF of 30. It should cover both UVA and UVB, and this should be listed on the label.
Sunblocks have traditionally been composed of zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. These compounds are opaque and basically cover the skin to prevent any light from penetrating. This is the guy at the beach with the white nose. Newer chemical sunblocks are available and are probably the best type of protection one can get from something that is transparent. These products, like sunscreens, only last for 2 to 3 hours and are not waterproof or water resistant, although some claim to be. Some come in a spray, which makes application convenient and easy.
Some recommended products:
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