Work or Play: Which SPF Is Right for Your Skin?

Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: June 24, 2015

The largest organ in the human body is the one you see most often: your skin! It serves to cover all of your internal organs and protect them from injury. It is a barrier to germs, helps prevent fluid loss and keeps your body at the right temperature. Given the important role it plans, it stands to reason that we should take special care of our skin, especially against the sun’s powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Selecting a Sunscreen
There are two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, both of which play a role in conditions such as premature skin aging, eye damage and skin cancer. Sunscreen is an important tool in the fight to prevent damage caused by the sun. The American Academy of Dermatology offers these recommendations when selecting a sunscreen:

  • Choose a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
  • Look for broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection which is effective against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Water resistance claims on the sunscreen label should indicate whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating. Sunscreens can no longer claim to be waterproof or sweatproof.

View a brief, informative video from the AAD to learn about the proper way to apply sunscreen.

Myths vs. Facts
Even though these basic facts are widely known, there are still many myths that persist when it comes to sun exposure, tanning and Vitamin D.

Myth: 80 percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18, so if I’m older it doesn’t matter how much sun I get. Fact: Only 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18. You can—and should—help prevent sun damage at every age. (Skin Cancer Foundation)

Myth: Getting a base tan will prevent me from getting sunburn. Fact: Any change in skin color is a sign of damage from UV radiation. Repeated exposure, whether from the sun or a tanning bed, increases your risk of premature skin aging and skin cancer. (Mayo Clinic)

Myth: Tanning at a salon is better for you than tanning outdoors because you’re controlling the UV radiation exposure. Fact: Indoor tanning exposes users to both UVA and UVB rays, which damage skin and can lead to cancer. Using tanning beds increases the risk of wrinkles and eye damage. And, tanning beds are particularly dangerous for younger users; statistics show that people who begin tanning younger than age 35 have a 59% higher risk of developing melanoma. (Centers for Disease Control)

Myth: The sun is the best way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Fact: Vitamin D is important for bone health, but its effect on other health conditions is less clear. Although it is important to get enough Vitamin D, the safest way to do this is through diet or supplements. (Centers for Disease Control)

For more information on taking care of your skin, please contact us.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for your general knowledge and does not replace the advice of a physician. All medical inquiries regarding your health should be addressed by a physician.