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Sunlight that gets through the atmosphere to ground level is known as UV rays - UV standing for Ultra Violet, meaning the beams have a shorter wavelength than our eyes can see (we can see the colors of the rainbow, but not outside that range). But merely because we can't see them does not mean they are not real - and possibly very dangerous.
This UV radiation is split into two kinds, which scientists creatively have called A and B - so we have UVA and UVB rays.
UVB rays vary according to the time of day and amount of sunlight, and are the key reasons for classic sunburn and skin cancers. They are at their strongest when the sun is high in the sky during the center of the day, on clear days, and will reflect off things like water and snow to magnify their effect.
UVA rays on the other hand are present all of the time during daylight, and are just as much a danger, especially because a lot of individuals do not realize these UVA rays penetrate clouds, glass (including car windows as well as office windows), and often even light clothing. While UVA rays may not give you sunburn like a day at the shore, these beams are the main cause of skin aging - so unless you intend to look like a prune by age 40, it's equally as important to protect against UVA.
SPF evaluations, yet apply merely to the UVB protection level. The evaluation or "SPF Factor" indicates the portion of UVB being blocked out by a particular sunscreen. But it's a logarithmic scale and not a linear one, so be conscious of this!
Here's how to work it out. A sunscreen marked as SPF 30, will only block 97 per cent of UVB light.
Unfortunately for UVA protection - the predominant cause of skin aging - there is not any universally recognized rating system. The best way to learn whether a product will block UVA light is by inspecting the ingredients contained within it. The most frequently used and most effective components to block UVA currently in use are avobenzone, titanium dioxide and/ or zinc oxide.
Another essential factor that is as critical as the SPF itself is how, and how often the sunscreen is used. Unless the product is a premium cream designed to be used sparingly, sunscreens should be applied generously; they should be reapplied after swimming even if they promise to be "water resistant", and - most importantly - do not reserve the use of sunscreen for special occasions. Remember UVA can cause your own skin to age as rapidly while you are gardening, walking the dog, driving or sitting in your office during the day - even supposing it's cloudy or a summer day beside the pool or at the beach.
While most sunscreens are designed especially for this objective, considering the need for ordinary protection we're seeing the increasing popularity of premium day moisturizing treatments - especially natural moisturizing products with UV protection built in as a manner of having one product undertake two roles, without compromising on either.
Three Shields - All Should be Used
Sun screens shouldn't be regarded as the sole defense against the damage brought on by UV rays - they should, in reality, form one part of a three line defense - none of which you should bypass. Defense number two is always to avoid UVB rays by not heading out into the sun in the hottest portion of the day (around 11am - 3pm) and in case you do, stick to the shade, use a sun umbrella and so on where you can. Thirdly, cover up! Wear a broad brimmed hat, cover as much skin as you can with clothes, and pay special attention to making certain kids have and wear the crucial hats and clothes too.
This is not something to be taken lightly, as anyone who has seen firsthand the effects of melanoma, or skin cancers. Everyone should embrace a regular attention routine that entails the usage of products with satisfactorily high SPFs with the other defenses of avoidance and adequate clothes, and it's also absolutely crucial this should never be taken lightly.
And let us address a number of the myths surrounding sunscreens. To begin with, merely because a product is marked as being water resistant does not mean it won't have to be reapplied after having a dip. Many products experience just 80 minute tests, and it's essential to reapply them every two hours to keep optimal protection. Even after exercise or sweating a lot, the possibility are most of the protection will have disappeared - so reapply the sunscreen.
Another myth is the "healthy tan". You tan because the skin creates more of a dark pigment called melanin, as a method of shielding itself from further damage. Getting a suntan means damaging your skin enough that it tries to shield itself from further damage - that could hardly be termed "healthy"!
Another dangerous practice is to try to get a so-called "base tan" to shield them while on vacation. The fact is, all tanning is possibly dangerous and this practice only exposes the person to greater danger. This is the reason sunscreens should be used daily and throughout the year, both inside and outdoors.
And do not believe that if you already have darker colored skin that you are immune - or even better protected - from UV damage, as this is simply not the situation. As a result of the myth individuals with darker skins are often diagnosed too late for straightforward treatment of skin cancers, as the early warning signs have been disregarded. And it's those with naturally darker skin who are most likely to own difficulties with hyperpigmentation or melasma.
Another common error is dig out the previous years' sun screens for use. This is a bad practice because the molecules within the products break down and lose their efficiency over time. Even in the event the sun screen is still within a stated expiration date, it should be analyzed for separation or other observable changes in appearance before use. If such signs are obvious, it should be lost as environmental conditions may have affected it and rendered it worthless before the expiration date. Extreme heat or exposure of the container to the sun, for instance, may cause these effects.
You will likely be obstructed at the expiration dates on some of it. Sunscreen tubes and bottles aren't cherished family heirlooms to be hoarded and passed to the following generation. Set them all into a trash bag, and dump them unless they are less when compared to a year old and in perfect condition.
For women and men with thinning hair, or those naturally hairless or with protected or very short hair, you shouldn't overlook the use of a sunscreen to protect the scalp.