One in five people in the US develops skin cancer at some point in life. Any delay in treating sunburn can turn dreadful as it can result in skin cancer. Seeking shade helps to protect skin from the harmful UV rays (UVA and UNB) which are responsible for causing skin cancer. But this does not mean that you should avoid sunlight because it has some positive effects on the body too. Sunlight helps the body to produce vitamin D that helps to maintain your mood and circadian rhythm. According to the doctors at Orange County dermatology clinics, you must control sun exposure without overindulging. Too much exposure damages the skin, creates sunburn, aggravates the signs of aging, and lead to skin cancer.
Sunscreens for the Most Effective Protection from UV Radiation
What are UVA and UVB?
The ultraviolet rays of the sun consist of 95% ultraviolet A (UVA), and the remaining 5% is ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA causes wrinkles on skin and age spots besides photoaging. Although UVB constitutes a smaller percentage, its ability to harm skin is much more because it is the primary cause of sunburns. Combined effects of UVA and UVB lead to cancer. Summer months are most risky because people spend more time on the seaside, but even at other times, long term exposure to sunlight can be equally harmful. Learn about sun safety precautions.
Skin protection with sunscreen
Sun exposure with due sun protection can help to reduce the risks of skin cancer. Sunscreens work best in protecting the skin from harmful UV exposure, and many different types of sunscreens are available. Sunscreens contain filters that scatter, reflect, or absorb UV radiation and [prevents it from affecting your skin. Sunscreen uses organic filters (chemical sunscreen) and inorganic filters (physical sunscreen) to protect from UV light.
Chemical sunscreens use organic filters that absorb UV radiation while generating some small amount of heat. Usually, such sunscreen contains chemicals like Oxybenzone, Octocrylene, and Avobenzone. Oxybenzone and Avobenzone are effective in filtering UVA radiation, while other chemicals like Octocrylene, Octisalate, and Homosalate act like stabilizers that offer UVB protection.
Mineral compounds like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are popular physical filters to cut off the UV rays by reflecting and scattering UV light, thereby protecting your skin. While this is the theory behind the use of the mineral compounds, studies have shown that these compounds absorb UV radiation and generate heat like chemical filters. However, the physical sunscreens provide more broad-spectrum protection against UV light of both types. They are popular formulations for sunscreen for children because it is more tolerable on sensitive skin.
Choose the right sunscreen
Sunscreens come with a different sun protection factor (SPF), and doctors recommend the use of sunscreens with SPF 30 and higher when going outdoors. SPF 30 offers 97% protection from UVB radiation and sunscreens with SPF more than 50 tend to increase the protection marginally.
Lighter skin shades are more susceptible to UV radiation, but people of darker shades too must use sunscreens. Thus, sunscreens are great levelers when it comes to UV protection.