Sunscreen is not only necessary for days at the beach. Did you know that UVA rays, which cause premature aging, are able to penetrate through clouds, rain, snow and glass? To preserve skin health, protecting it from the sun’s damaging UV radiation is an essential part of any daily skin care routine. More importantly, finding a high-quality broad spectrum SPF requires some knowledge about the subject.
We help break it down for you.
What is SPF and how does it protect your skin?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. SPF products are often referred to as sunscreen or sunblock and come in many different forms. Skin care products such as lotions, creams, moisturizers, foundations containing an SPF will help protect you from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet radiation (UV rays). There are two forms of sun protection: physical and chemical.
Physical SPF ingredients, such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide create a physical barrier on the surface of the skin, which deflect the sun’s rays from your skin. They are the least irritating form of sun protection and begin working instantly once applied.
Chemical SPF ingredients, such as Avobenzone and Oxybenzone absorb the UV rays in the skin before they penetrate deeper layers. Chemical ingredients tend to be less stable and need to be applied at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. They can also cause sensitivity or irritation in the skin.
What is the difference between UVA and UVB Rays?
There are two types of UV radiation: UVB and UVA.
UVB rays are the primary cause of skin reddening / sunburn. This is because they have a shorter wavelength which only reaches the outer layers of the skin where we can see the damage in the form of a tan or sunburn. These rays play a major role in skin cancer, skin damage and contribute to photo-aging. In the U.S.A and Canada, the worse times of the day to be exposed to the sun are between 10am and 4pm from April until October, as this is when we receive the most amount of UVB rays.
Nevertheless, UVB rays can still damage and burn skin throughout the year, especially if you are in higher altitudes – and even more so when you’re on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice, as these reflect up to 80 percent of the rays (so they hit the skin twice).
UVA rays are the primary cause of aging in the skin. They are present from the moment the sun rises, until the moment the sun sets, and have a much longer wavelength than UVB rays. The longer wavelength is able to penetrate into the dermis which causes pigmentation (brown spots) and loss of elasticity over time. Also, because of their longer wavelength, they are able to penetrate through clouds, rain, snow and glass – which means if you are not wearing something to block UVA rays on a daily basis, your skin is being damaged. In your lifetime, UVA rays attribute to 95% of your skin’s aging.
What is the best sunscreen to use?
Knowing about the harmful effects of UV rays, the picture becomes a little clearer – protecting skin from damaging UV radiation is a daily operation. With so many options for sunscreens, it is challenging to know which product to use. For instance, is there a difference between SPF15 and SPF50 or will any SPF effectively protect skin from both UVB and UVA rays?
The SPF number on the bottle only refers to the amount of protection from UVB Rays – it is in reference to how long it takes for your skin to burn with sun exposure. If your skin would normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, applying an SPF15 sunscreen would allow you to stay in the sun without burning for approximately 150 minutes (a factor of 15 times longer). This is a rough estimate that depends on skin type, intensity of sunlight and amount of sunscreen used.
As an example let’s look at wearing no sunscreen (as in 0% UVB protection) versus wearing SPFs 15, 30, and 50:
• SPF15: blocks approximately 93% of UVB radiation
• SPF30: blocks approximately 97% of UVB radiation
• SPF50: blocks approximately 99% of UVB radiation
Currently in North America, there is no rating to measure the amount of protection you are getting against UVA rays, so using a higher SPF does not mean better UVA protection.
What can you do to ensure you are protected by both UVA and UVB rays? Wear a broad spectrum SPF. Broad spectrum protection means that the product’s UVA protection accounts for at least one third of the UVB protection.
Are there any other ‘factors’ to consider?
Yes! There are several factors which can affect your level of sun protection when applying an SPF product. Sweating, swimming/bathing and/or skin rubbing up against clothing or hands removes some, if not all, of the product. Regardless of what you’re doing it is good practice to reapply product every two hours to maintain effectiveness. In addition, often people do not apply the right amount of product which ultimately lowers the SPF.
No matter what sunscreen product you use, none can filter 100% of the UV radiation hitting your skin. Di Morelli addressed these issues when developing our SPF to ensure optimal protection.
What makes Di Morelli SPF35 unique?
The ingredients used to either block or absorb UV radiation vary from product to product. Let’s look at the ingredients in our SPF35 and discuss why we chose to include each one.
Micronized Zinc Oxide
• Provides a physical barrier on the surface of the skin to provide protection against both UVA and UVB Rays.
• A natural anti-irritant, this ingredient is easily tolerated by most skin types.
• Safe for use on children.
• As micronized zinc does not absorb into the skin, it does not clog pores.
• Applies completely sheer; can be used by all skin tones without leaving residue behind.
• A known antioxidant; neutralizes free radicals which can cause damage to/ aging of the skin.
• Natural moisturizing properties helps prevent moisture loss in the skin.
• Helps calm inflammation in the skin.
Panthenol (Vitamin B5)
• Acts as a humectant (helps the skin retain moisture).
• Helps calm inflammation and irritation in the skin.
Since UVA rays are responsible for aging, wearing a broad spectrum SPF emulsion every day will dramatically improve skin health by preventing premature aging of the skin: loss of collagen and elasticity, wrinkles and brown spots.*
Lastly, ensure your broad spectrum SPF contains only high-quality, powerful ingredients. These ingredients should block both types of UV rays, target any remaining free radicals, and improve the overall health of your skin.
*Please note individual results may vary.