Some people are under the mistaken assumption that the only time to use sunscreen is on especially hot and sunny days. The truth is that anytime that we're out in the sun, the sun's rays are having a negative impact on our skin. There is a constant barrage of ultraviolet light that can cause our skin to age before it's time, and it can lead to more serious skin problems in the long term. Even on days when it's not all that hot outside, it is a good idea to use sunscreen.
With that said, sunscreen is still most needed when a person is spending a day out in the sun, especially if they're trying to tan. This is when there is the biggest risk of sunburn, which is a direct result of intense sun exposure. It's important to understand how to choose the right sunscreen for the job. SPF, or sun protection factor, is the rating system that is used to determine the strength of a sunscreen. Usually, a minimum sun protection factor of 15 is recommended for tanning or prolonged sun exposure. However, much more powerful levels of protection are available -- up to a 60 SPF rating or more.
There is another factor to consider, as well. There are multiple types of ultraviolet light rays that are harmful to the skin -- UVA and UVB. Many sunscreens are designed to effectively block only one UVB rays, while UVA are actually the more dangerous type. It is a good idea to look for a sunscreen that is designed to block both types of rays. Sunscreens that contain the ingredients zinc oxide, ecamsule, or avobenzone are the best choices for full-spectrum protection.
When it comes to just routine daily sun exposure, a full application of sunscreen isn't really necessary. If you're just eating lunch outdoors or walking for a little while outside, then you should be okay just using other skin-care products that contain minor sunscreens. For example, there are many facial moisturizers that include enough sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun's rays on a day-to-day basis.
One of the negative effects associated with sun exposure to the skin is wrinkling. The sun is one of the primary factors when it comes to skin starting to look aged before it's time. For people who are concerned about aging and wrinkled skin, there are special sunscreen treatments that are design both to reduce and prevent wrinkles. Many of these have high SPF ratings for maximum protection from the sun's light.
Aside from wrinkles, the other major impact of the sun on human skin is skin cancer. Heavy exposure to the sun without the proper protection can lead to a person developing deadly skin cancers. This is one reason why it's especially important to get sunscreen that protects against UVA rays. Despite the fact that UVA doesn't cause any burning sensation or redness, it is actually the primary cause of skin cancer. So when you're looking to buy sunscreen, make sure that you make an educated choice that will truly protect you from skin problems.
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