Sun care products are manufactured in a range of strengths. The strength of a sunscreen is known as its sun protection factor (SPF). This is referred to on the packaging as SPF followed by a number. The SPF of a sunscreen is a measure of how effectively the cream or lotion blocks out ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which cause the skin to become red and sunburned. In general, the higher the number, the longer you can remain in the sun without your skin burning.
For daily use, when you will only be outdoors for a short period, you may wish to use a moisturizing cream or lotion that is rated SPF 15 and below. This could be appropriate if you work in an office or retail outlet and are only outdoors during your daily commute.
On occasions when you know that your skin will be exposed to stronger sunlight or if you will be outdoors for a prolonged period, skin care experts generally recommend that you use a sunscreen rated SPF 20-55. If you will be participating in sports, experts recommend that you use a waterproof sunscreen that will remain in place even if you perspire due to exertion.
In addition to blocking UVB rays, some sun protection products also shield the skin from ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. According to skin care experts, UVA rays have a role to play in the skin damage that contributes to premature aging and wrinkles. If you are concerned about photo-aging, you can browse drugstore.com to find sunscreens that offer both UVA and UVB protection.
No matter which SPF you choose, it is important to reapply your sun protection if you are out in the sun for any length of time. All sunscreens lose their efficacy as time goes by. By reapplying your sunscreen every two hours, you can ensure that your skin remains fully protected. If you know that you will be out in the sun all day, either enjoying a lazy day at the beach, hiking in the hills or playing a sport, you could help shield your skin from the sun's rays with UV protective clothing. These garments are impregnated with chemicals that prevent UVB rays from reaching your skin.
Certain areas of the skin require a higher level of sun protection on an ongoing basis. For example, the lips are often exposed to the sun's rays on a day by day basis. Using a lip balm that contains a high factor sunscreen can help prevent drying, chapping and flaking of the lips.back to top »