Wearing a broad spectrum SPF indoors makes a huge difference in how your skin ages and we recommend doing it on days that end in -y. Seriously. Even on the cloudy days spent lounging in bed for hours on end binge watching Bridgerton (we’re not judging!). You’ve probably come across the terms spf, broad spectrum, chemical sunscreen, mineral sunblock, UVA and UVB rays countless times in your life, but do you know what they all actually mean? Let’s break it down once and for all and get spf savvy just in time for summer.
Spf stands for sun protection factor. An spf 15 allows you to stay in the sun 15 times longer than you are normally able to before burning. If you can be in the afternoon sun for 10 minutes before burning, an SPF would allow you to stay 150 minutes before you begin to burn.
There’s two classes of sunblocks, mineral and chemical. Mineral sunblocks sit on top of the skin and provide a physical barrier to UV rays. Look for ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are immediately effective and tolerated better by sensitive skin.
Chemical sunblocks absorb into the skin and convert UV rays into heat. The heat is then released by the skin. Chemical sunblocks take 20 minutes to be effective. Look for ingredients like oxybenzone, avonbenzone, octocrylene, and octinoxate.
UVB rays penetrate the epidermis of the skin. These can cause sunburns and can lead to skin cancer. These rays are stronger during the summer months and are the most direct cause of skin cancer.
UVA rays reach deep into the dermis of the skin. They silently damage skin, breaking down collagen and elastin and cause skin to become tanned, wrinkled, lined, and saggy. They also can create sun spots, hyperpigmentation, and weathered looking skin. These rays are consistently damaging throughout the year and can easily pass through clouds, grey skies, and windows. Yes, windows. This is why it’s essential to wear spf indoors.
Broad spectrum mineral and chemical spfs protects from both UVA and UVB rays. If you see PA++++ on the packaging of your sunblock product, it means that the sunblock offers very high UVA protection.