The latest survey has shown that out of 60 sunscreen products, labeled as SPF 30 or higher, over 40 percent of them are not efficient enough.
Susan Sweeter, professor of dermatology and director of the Pigmented Lesion and Melanoma Program at the Stanford Cancer Institute, explained why the SPF is important, what are the most effective ingredients used in sunscreen and how much sunscreen should someone apply before going outside.
SPF literally means sun protection factor and is used to measure sun protection from UV A and B rays, the main cause of skin cancer and sunburn. Plus, UVA radiation is known to penetrate the skin even deeper than UVB rays. In addition to this, UVA rays cause sagging of the skin, wrinkling and discoloration. UVA rays are also more abundant than UVB rays because they are not only strong during the day but also throughout the year.
Nevertheless, it is concerning that 28 sunscreen products out of 60 failed to meet the UVB protection label claims. Worse, most people do not apply enough sunscreen, so they are oblivious to the fact that they are not entirely protected from the UV rays.
According to Sweeter, adults need around one teaspoon of sunscreen for the face and two to three tablespoons for the body. But if you use a sunscreen spray, make sure that you cover your entire body with the same layer. Plus, avoid spraying your face. Instead, spray your hands first and then rub the lotion on your face.
The recommended SPF is 50+ which should be reapplied if you sweat or after swimming. In addition to this, it should be reapplied every two hours as well. Sweeter also advises people not to rely only on sunscreen. The whole sun protection package includes avoiding exposure during the hottest hours, wearing sunglasses, hats, and protective clothing.
The statistics have shown that physical sunscreens, such as organic, mineral or natural, were the ones that mostly failed the SPF accuracy test. Even if they contain zinc oxide and micronized titanium to tackle the UVB, these chemicals have a low SPF. To make the sunscreen’s filtration of UVA and UVB better and to increase the SPF, octinoxate must be added.
All in all, if everyone becomes more aware of the fact that UVA and UVB rays are not a joke, then we will be healthier and more protected by using not only sunscreen but the entire sun protection package.