How real sunscreen protects your skin

May 18, 2019
Skin - lotion

MOST people believe a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) guarantees high protection. That’s true. While higher SPFs do block marginally more sunlight, the key is that SPF rating relates to timing and how long it takes to burn.

Do not just simply believe the product label. Some sunscreens with SPF50+   fail   to deliver the claimed UV protection.

In a study in France, researchers found that certain ingredients added for their anti-inflammatory effects to reduce redness could skew SPF readings. This is because the chemicals delay the rate at which the skin turns red under UV light.

There is a huge variety of products, with different formulations for faces, say, or younger skin - but an SPF50 product with a four/five star UVA rating will be more than adequate for your entire family’s face and body.

The skin of the face and different parts of the body may have different needs, but essentially the active ingredients in sunscreens are the same and it is possible if needed to use the same product on the face and body.

Sometimes more expensive products will contain certain plant extracts or minerals shown to protect skin cells from UV damage, but in practice the dose is too low to be effective.

People with sensitive skin or children tend to tolerate physical sunscreens (which tend to come out white, and contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that sit on the skin) slightly better than chemical ones, as these are less likely to cause skin reactions such as dermatitis.

An SPF50 sunscreen with chemical and physical filters like antioxidants to mitigate the effect free radical damage may be enough protection.

However, a recent laboratory research suggests that infrared combined with UVB or short wave ultraviolet B, may play a role in skin cancer.

Conventional sunscreens block out UV rays, but research is now pointing towards a new harmful sunray - infrared, which are the rays that we feel as heat. One type in particular, infrared A, can penetrate the deepest layers of the skin, deeper than UV.

Recent lab research suggests that infrared (combined with UVB) may play a role in skin cancer.

Scientists are now working to see if infrared is a real risk and how much exposure on a person to get skin cancer.