Who doesn’t like to have that healthy, suntanned look that symbolizes living the good life? With skin cancer on the rise, that look could be lethal. Sunscreen is on top when it comes to preventive care. Tomball stores have a wide selection of sunscreen ointments and lotions to choose from and they all come with numbers. So what number do you choose when looking for an effective sunscreen product?
What the Numbers Mean
Have you ever wondered what those SPF numbers are all about? They were developed in 1962 when sunscreen was measured for its effects against rays of the sun which cause sunburn. There are two categories of ultraviolet light that are used when considering sunscreen. Sunburn is caused by UVB light. UVA light is that which causes the skin to age prematurely and has more damaging effects on the skin in the long run.
The sunscreen number is the sun protection factor (SPF) that measures how long your skin will be protected from a certain amount of the sun’s UVB rays. Generally, people tend to believe that the higher the number, the longer they can stay in the sun, as long as they are covered with sunscreen lotion. In a way, they would be correct.
The number does relate to exposure time in the sun. In fact you can figure out how long you can sunbathe by multiplying how many minutes it takes you to get sunburned by the SPF number you are using and that will reveal the maximum amount of time you can stay in the sun.
There’s More to Protective Care
Tomball sun worshipers should be aware of UVB absorption rates as well. Using the above formula, if you can stay in the sun for 10 minutes before you get sunburned, then a lotion with SPF 50 means you could be in the sun for 500 minutes before getting baked. If, however, you are like most people, you will burn before that time.
Generally people use less sunscreen than they should. Sweat and water also deplete the effectiveness of a sunscreen’s protective care. Tomball sunbathers could be doing damage to their skin without being aware of it until they get sunburned. A higher SPF number does mean more time in the sun when the sunscreen is applied correctly and when the proper amount is used. With that being said, UVB ray absorption doesn’t increase much after SPF 30.
An SPF of 2 absorbs 50% of UV rays while one of 15 absorbs 93.3%, one with 30 absorbs 96.7% and one with SPF of 50 absorbs 98%, a mere .3% over SPF 30. The bottom line is that the SPF number has its limits. You can use SPF 30 and it will be an effective method for preventive care. Tomball sun can be pretty intense, so be sure to reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours and don’t miss the tops of your feet, your temples, ears or the back of your neck. These places are easy to overlook.
Skin cancer is a very real and very serious illness. It is also avoidable when proper precautions are taken. Contact PCP for Life to get a screening or to get more information about skin cancer and its prevention. For excellent preventive care, Tomball residents turn to PCP for Life.