The Mystery behind SPF
Here at World Swimsuit, we spend a huge amount of time at the beach on set, so we know a thing or two about the sun and sunscreen. Whether you’re lounging next to the pool or enjoying the heat of the sun on the beach, when you’re outside, your skin is under attack by invisible rays that can cause sunburn and cancer.
UVB is the main bad guy when it comes to sunburn, however UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply, and are responsible for wrinkling, leathering, sagging, and other signs of aging; they are also hugely exacerbated by the carcinogenic (roasting and toasting) effects of UVB rays, and increasingly are being seen as a cause of skin cancer on their own.
Sunscreens come in many forms, including sprays, lotions, gels and waxes, and they are usually made up of a mix of chemicals. Inorganic chemicals in sunscreen reflect and scatter harmful light away from the skin, and organic (carbon-based) ones can absorb UV rays so that your skin doesn’t.
Just because a sunscreen has a high SPF doesn’t mean that you are being protected from damaging UVA rays. SPF is only a time based measure of how well a sunscreen could protect you from sunburn (which you get only from UVB rays). UVA is a longer wavelength of sunlight that makes up 90% of light reaching the Earth’s surface. It passes right through clouds and glass, and it is pretty much the same strength throughout all seasons, so even if it’s a rainy day, you should be slapping on the sunscreen if you are going to be outside.
Things to remember:
- Try to avoid direct sunlight between 11 am and 3 pm
- Always wear protective clothing and sunscreen
- Read the label on your sunscreen and make sure that it cracks the nod from Colipa
- Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before hitting the rays, giving it time to settle on your skin like armour