WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SUNSCREEN
A blog by Out of Office NY
We all know that protecting your skin from the sun keeps you looking younger, longer (heck yes!). Even more importantly, sunscreen protects against skin cancer. So basically, sunscreen is a MUST.
In the midst of May (also Melanoma Awareness Month) our tank tops, shorts and swimwear emerge from their dusty storage spot under the bed, and we start to show some skin. Very exciting, but also time to bring out the sunscreen because who wants to get fried laying out in Central Park? We worked with Bare Republic to get the real scoop on sun science to empower us to #GoBareOutside safely. Here’s what you need to know to make the best decision on how to protect your skin!
What’s a UV ray, anyway?
The sunlight that reaches us is made up of two types of harmful rays (greeeeat): long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and short wave ultraviolet B (UVB). Spoiler alert, you need to protect your skin from both!
UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer. Unprotected exposure can lead to premature skin aging and wrinkling (photoaging), and suppression of the immune system. UVB rays will usually burn the superficial layers of your skin. They play a key role in the development of skin cancer.
So that’s what SPF stands for…
SPF stands for sun protection factor (mind blown!). Sunscreens are classified by an SPF number which refers to their ability to deflect UVB rays. Now that’s some serious science!
Use a broad spectrum SPF of 15 or higher to protect not only against sunburn, but reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging caused by the sun.
Classic vs. Mineral Sunscreen
Classic and Mineral Sunscreens are differentiated by their active sun protection ingredients. Classic sunscreens use chemical (also commonly referred as “non-mineral” or “traditional”) active ingredients designed to absorb and dissipate UVA/UVB rays, while Mineral sunscreens use mineral (also commonly referred to as “physical”) active ingredients such as Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to scatter and reflect UVA/UVB rays.
In short, go for the mineral sunscreens to avoid chemicals!
What does it mean when my sunscreen says “Broad Spectrum?”
The FDA has established a standard test for over-the-counter (sold without a prescription) sunscreen products that determines which products are allowed to be labeled as “Broad Spectrum.” Products that pass the broad spectrum test provide protection against both ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) and ultraviolet A radiation (UVA). A certain percentage of a broad spectrum product’s total protection is against UVA. The Critical Wavelength of the adjacent test for our Bare Republic Mineral Face SPF 30 product is 374.00 nm, and satisfies the criteria for “Broad Spectrum” labeling (minimum of 370 nm required).
What does water resistant mean?
Water resistance refers to how long your sunscreen’s SPF holds up after being in the water or sweating. If a sunscreen is determined “Water Resistant”, you’re fine for 40 minutes or 80 minutes after getting wet before you need to re-apply.